Thursday, August 7, 2008

Time Stranger Kyoko, Vol. 1 Impression

Shojo Beat strikes gold again with Time Stranger Kyoko volume 1. Kyoko is just your average high-school student getting ready for her 16th birthday, with one hitch, she is actually the lands princess who must reveal herself and assume her roles and responsibilities as she turns 16, thus losing the average life and friends she has come to love. There is a way out and that is to wake her twin sister who’s been in a coma for years, using the 12 holy stones and 12 telepaths scattered throughout time. The clock is slowly counting down on her sister Ui, whose life is slowly fading unless Kyoko can gather the stone and telepaths to save her. Unfortunately as her birthday approaches Kyoko does reveal who she is to her classmates, and in place of their hate she is met with their support, support which helps her on the journey to save her sister. With her dragon tribe bodyguards, Sakataki and Hizuki, at her side she learns to use her powers to gather what is needed to save Ui, all the while learning about herself and having a good old immature time along the way.

Every once in a while I really get into a shojo manga, and being a very shonen guy I’ve gotta say I dig Time Stranger Kyoko. Crafted by Arina Tanemura the artwork is very pretty, very shojo with fine detail and funny humor mixed in all tied around a grand adventure put off by its tween awkwardness. Nothing in this story feels forced from the princess desire to stay ‘normal’ to saving her sister, encountering the thief Witzig as well as learning to travel through time, stop time, learn about the decimation of the dragon tribe and of course herself. Heck, even the talking Time Scorpion Cane has its moments. It’s a fine author who can take such odd pieces and craft a story that is fun, sad, touching all while keeping a sense of adventure and action any guy or gal can enjoy. I found myself remembering anime such as Escaflowne and Utena due to this mixture. Like Wild Ones (which I just reposted here on Anime Sentinel) this is a shojo that breaks the mold and can convert folks, like me, to pick up more ‘girl’ manga. Worth the purchase, worth the read, just plain worth it, you manga fans owe it to yourself to check out Time Stranger Kyoko from Viz.

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