Time Stranger Kyoko

Time Stranger Kyoko by Arina Tanemura (amazon)

Time Stranger Kyoko has a somewhat crowded array of plot elements:

The heroine Kyoko is a princess living in the future who goes to school undercover, pretending to be a normal girl.
Her father the King wants her to take up her royal responsibilities, but she wants to preserve her present life as long as possible.
Kyoko has a twin sister named Ui who has been cursed to be asleep her entire life
In the future, humans have spliced their DNA with various things, like flowers, dragons, or fish, resulting in different types of people clustered together in tribes.
Kyoko has two bodyguards who are the last representatives of the Dragon Tribe. Younger brother Sakataki seems like the typical slightly brooding Tanemura hero. Older brother Hizuki’s open and lighthearted manner may be hiding something suspicious.
Kyoto is tasked with the quest of finding 12 mystical stones and 12 telepaths. If she rounds up all these items and people, she will be able to move the arms of the enchanted clock that affects her twin sister. Kyoko might be motivated by the thought of turning over her princess duties to her twin.
A strange womanizing thief pops up at random moments to plague Kyoko.
Kyoko receives the first mystical stone and gains the power to stop and travel through time, hence the title “Time Stranger”. She also receives a magical girl accessory in the form of a mystical cane who talks to her telepathically.

Time Stranger Kyoko would have been a bit stronger with fewer plot elements and a little more focus on the characters, but maybe things settle down a little bit in the later volumes. Kyoko seems to be following a somewhat typical character arc of gaining power and understanding as she learns to act unselfishly. There were still plenty of elements you’d expect from a Tanemura manga like the incredibly detailed costumes and bits of comic relief in the way the characters interact with each other. Kyoto’s cane getting all hyper about the prospect of locating a magical stone was particularly funny. I think this series is worth checking out if you’re a magical girl junkie like me. It probably isn’t the strongest introduction to Tanemura’s work, but fans of her other series will likely enjoy it.

Review copy provided by Viz