Manga Review: Time Stranger Kyoko vol. 1

Time Stranger Kyoko vol. 1
Story and Art: Arina Tanemura
Published by VIZ Media
ISBN-10: 1-4215-1797-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-4215-1797-1

Review by Kris

In the 30th century Earth has become one harmonious place to live. Kyoko Suomi is the princess of Earth, but she craves anonymity. She attends a normal high school and has normal friends who all think that she’s a normal high school student. Kyoko is supposed to be presented to the people of Earth as the princess on her 16th birthday. Of course Kyoko has no desire to be princess. She has a twin sister who is just as capable but there is one slight problem holding back Ui (Kyoko’s twin). It seems that Ui is trapped in time and the only way she can be saved is with the help of Kyoko. The king offers Kyoko her freedom if she can find twelve sacred stones and twelve telepaths. Once the task is done Ui can wake and take her place on the throne.

It sounds easy enough right? Wrong! Due to unforeseen circumstances Kyoko is outed as the princess. It also turns out that she possesses one of the stones that are needed to free Ui. With the help of Cane-chon (the cane and stone that control time) Kyoko can travel through time to locate the other eleven telepaths and stones. Through Kyoko’s travels she meets interesting people and is able to help out her two bodyguards that are the only surviving members of the Dragon Tribe. Will Kyoko be able to find the rest of the telepaths and stones to free Ui from her slumber? You’ll have to check out Time Stranger Kyoko.

Time Stranger Kyoko is a three volume shojo manga series released through VIZ Media. It’s a wild ride from the beginning. As a first volume it does a great job of introducing us to the many characters that Kyoko meets and interacts with. Kyoko has a strong sense of justice and will do what she can to help those in need. Her two bodyguards, Sakataki and Hizuki, are the surviving princes from the Dragon Tribe that was wiped out by the Demon Tribe. The King takes in these two young men and the two men vow to protect Kyoko with their whole being. Sakataki is kind of a stiff young man whereas his older brother Hizuki is much more laid back. Kyoko has many friends at school and as soon as her classmates find out her secret they vow to continue treating her the way they did before they found out that she was a princess. But for me the best character out of the whole series is Witzig. He’s a member of the Snake Tribe but spends his time looting, pillaging, and kidnapping Kyoko at every turn. He’s always in the middle of things and even travels along with Kyoko into the past. He rides around on a snake with the name of Snake-chama and has a second-in-command named Ginga. He travels with a gang called the Destroyers and these men will follow Witzig anywhere. There is a plethora of characters that I haven’t even introduced but play a part in the story.

Arina Tanemura-sensei’s art fall into the typical shojo style, you know big eyes, slight figures, small mouths, etc. The panels are filled with flowery screen tones and you have a ribbon and lacy explosion on just about every page. Yet it is tastefully done and doesn’t seem to be as gaudy as other shojo manga I’ve read. The manga is around the same size as a typical paperback. The paper seems to be a higher quality and I didn’t notice too many problems with ink rubbing off onto my fingers. The story is intriguing, cute, funny, and is pretty interesting. One thing I’ve found is I enjoy titles that keep me on my toes and Time Stranger Kyoko is one of those titles. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

If you like fantasy, magical type stories this is a fun title to pick up and read. It will keep you riveted to your seat and you can’t move until you’ve reached the end.