Tag Archives: magical girl

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

Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne

Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne Volumes 1-7 by by Arina Tanemura (amazon)

There’s something about magical girl series that appeal deeply to my inner 12 year old girl. And since there are only so many times one can reread Sailor Moon, I seek out additional manga to read. Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne packs the triple whammy of being about a magical girl phantom thief who happens to be the reincarnation of Jeanne d’Arc. I’m going to write about all seven volumes, so there are spoilers ahead.

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two magical girls and their dreams

I’m a sucker for magical girl shoujo manga, recently I’ve read the first volumes of From Far Away (Kanata Kara) and Queen’s Knight (Amazon), both of which feature heroines who dream of other worlds.

From Far Away tells the story of Noriko, a girl who has been having haunting dreams of a strange land. One day she gets blasted into an alternate reality and wakes up in a strange world. She’s menaced by a giant insect, but is rescued by a man who seems to be almost superhumanly fast, strong, and is very handy with a sword. His name is Izark, and he seems to be a classic reluctant hero — he doesn’t seem to like the idea of helping out a strange Japanese girl who doesn’t speak his language who may be the fulfillment of a horrible prophecy, but somehow he can’t stop himself from helping out.

This manga was written in the early 1990s, and it shows in the art which has a retro look to my eyes (very round eyes, not very defined noses and tiny mouths). Noriko at first seems very tentative about being transported to a world with deadly giant insects, but she starts to fight her initial fears and decides to start learning Izark’s language. This might end up helping her out in the long run, because his motivations for watching over her seem a little ambiguous.

I knew I’d probably like Queen’s Knight, because the other work I’ve read by Kim Kang Won (I.N.V.U.) was totally hilarious. There seems to be a theme of maternal abandonment in Kim Kang Won’s works — in I.N.V.U. the heroine’s mother suddenly decided to go to Italy, leaving her daughter with a credit card and sending her to live with a strange family.

Queen’s Knight focuses on Yuna, the youngest child in a family with three older brothers. Her mother is studying music in Germany, leaving the family behind. Yuna is haunted by dreams of a mysterious knight on her first day back from school after her winter break. Yuna had a somewhat traumatic vacation as she went to Germany to visit her Mother, went for a walk, and and fell into a gorge and broke her leg. Back home, her brothers refuse to take her to school even though she’s still wearing a cast, so she gets a ride from a classmate, Kahyun. The storyline switches back and forth between the current troubles Yuna has in school with backstabbing girls, her crush on Kahyun, the knight that invades her dreams, and her trip to Germany. Strange things happened back in Bavaria, because after Yuna’s accident, she was rescued by the strange knight she continues to dream about.

Although Queen’s Knight certainly has the elements of the fantastic that you’d expect to find in a manwha of this genre, the real strength of this title is the humor and the interactions between the characters. Yuna bickers with her brothers, tries to deal with their strange interpertations of how to cook a family meal, and struggles with school. There are so many storylines being juggled in this book, it ends up being very entertaining.