Friday, February 8, 2008

Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time vol. 1 Impression

Sweet Akane, just your average teenager with boys on her mind and Dragon Jewels in her body. Akane faces all the normal issues a teenager faces when housing Dragon Jewels; time travel, infatuation with evil guy, boy toys as protectors, you know the usual. This is the usual right? Isn’t this what they teach girls about in high school when they separate the classes to talk about body changes? No? Well, I bet it is on Viz Media’s new Shojo manga Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time. Akane is indeed a normal teenager, but she is also the possessor of the Dragon Jewel, an ancient jewel that transports her to the past, to the Heian period in Japan where she is immediately recognized as the Priestess of the Dragon God by Princess Fuji. Ancient Japan is protected by Sacred Gods, Black Beast of the North, Azure Dragon of the East, Scarlet Phoenix of the South, White Tiger of West. Due to the ever increasing presence of demons, Oni, in the land Akane ends up in the past with her friends Tenma and Shimon and all three are enlisted into the protection of the capital … with a few twists and turns of course.

Akane posses eight jewels, each of which will be passed to one of her protectors, the Hachiyo, who will serve to protect her in her quest to defeat the Oni Clan led by Akram. Twist time. Akram meets Akane, informs her he brought her to the past, and with mysterious mask in tow captures Akane’s heart, well as well as a teenage heart can be corralled. In addition to Akram, you’ve got the roguish Tenma, blonde haired, blue eyed Shimon (did I mention demons have these traits?), Major General Tachibana, Yorihisa the silent sword guy and Yasuaki the magic wielder. All these gents have various Shojo boy traits from beautiful looks to mystery to chivalries acts. There are still three more protectors to be introduced which will only add to this reverse harem story.

There were times while reading Tohko Mizuno’s manga that I was a wee-bit confused. The story, time travel, happens pretty quick, but if you stick with the story you’ll be caught up in the end, and ready for volume 2 as you will want to see how the relationships play out, not to mention the very Inu-Yasha’ish time travel, demon battling action that’s to come. Not bad for a manga based on a PlayStation game, Harukanaru Toki no Naka De, ‘media mix.’ I was impressed as the story is good, though not groundbreaking. The character types are what you’d expect in a series of this ilk and the art style satisfies the optical desires without breaking any molds or setting any new standards. Readers looking for a girl meets boy, and another boy and another and so on storyline this is the way to go. Pick up a copy and scan the art. The story and characters won’t surprise or disappoint you, so it’s your preference on art that will have you forking over your dollars or borrowing this from your friends. Preview Haruka online now.

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