Time Stranger Kyoko 3 by Arina Tanemura: C

From the back cover:
Kyoko Suomi is the princess of Earth in the 30th century. She lives among the commoners, unwilling to reveal her true identity and ascend the throne. The king will allow Kyoko to live as she pleases if she can revive her twin sister Ui, who has been trapped in time since birth.

Kyoko has found all but one telepath and is near awakening her sister. However, Hizuki can no longer hide his feelings for Kyoko and kisses her—a crime punishable by death. Now the only way to save his life is for Kyoko to accept him as her betrothed!

I only read this final volume for the sake of completeness, since the second volume got a C-, a rating equivalent to “Blech!” on my grading scale. Volume three is a little bit better, owing to some plot twists, but not much.

So, as she tells it in her sidebar columns, Arina Tanemura couldn’t decide where this story was actually supposed to go, so she asked her editors to be allowed to end it. And so, whereas it took the first two volumes to gather four Strangers, all of a sudden six of the remaining ones (bringing the total to eleven, counting Kyoko) are introduced on a single page, and then promptly neglected. There are actually a few translation errors on this page, as the Bird, Wind, and Snow Stranger guys are all mixed up.

The plot with Hizuki and his feelings for Kyoko is pretty stupid. First, he tricks her into saving his life by agreeing to marry him. Then he confesses to Sakataki that he was responsible for the destruction of their village and tries to get Sakataki to kill him. And then a few pages later everything’s fine and he’s all, “By the way, I’m the last Stranger.” And nobody is pissed about any of it.

The gathered Strangers then proceed to awaken Ui and plot twists occur. The secret of Kyoko’s identity is revealed, and I was kind of interested in the possibility that this manga would have a sad ending. But no, of course not. Mushy love must triumph. A completely stupid and kind of gross side story featuring the King’s pet cat android follows. It has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

One problem I have with this series is that every time there’s a revelation, someone goes, “I always knew.” For example, Kyoko evidently knew all along that she wasn’t really Ui’s sister, Sakataki knew all along that Hizuki was responsible for the village’s destruction, and the King knew all along what the consequences of awakening Ui would be. It’s really annoying that no one’s ever, like, shocked by these developments!

Anyway, it’s over now. Hooray. Reading this series has made me kind of worried that I won’t like the manga of Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, which I own but have yet to read. I liked the anime, but maybe I just didn’t know any better at the time.

Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. I liked Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne. It has some goofy moments towards the end, but it seems like it is much more cohesive than Time Stranger Kyoko.

  2. I know I watched the KKJ anime, but I can’t remember my feelings toward it. I think I saw that the library has the manga so I was contemplating reading it since I could read it for free.

    It sounds like this manga was a complete mess, though, which is just not encouraging for her plotting skills. At least Kyoko was before KKJ so… improvement is possible.

  3. Actually, KKJ comes before this one. And Full Moon, a series that I enjoyed, came directly after. So maybe there was just a pocket of spaz in the middle? She did say in one of her sidebars that as she was working on this series, she was experiencing “psychological problems” which affected her ability to plot coherently.

    I’ve also heard bad things about her latest series, Gentlemen’s Alliance, so maybe she has her own pattern like the Star Trek movies…

  4. Heh, maybe. Apparently a new one has started in the latest issue of Ribon, so if the pattern holds, it’ll be good?

  5. We shall see! I’m positive Viz’ll license it, since her stuff seems to sell well.

  6. danielle leigh says

    I can’t stand Tanemura’s comics. Which is very rare since I have a soft spot for almost all shojo but her stuff makes my teeth itch.

  7. KKJ is better than Kyoko, but it’s good because it follows all the rules of a magical girl series to a T. You have a love interest, best friend, betrayals in the right spots, personal growth in the right spots, etc. The ending to Time Stranger Kyoko wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be (it made sense, which was more than I was expecting, even with the God of Time stuff crammed in at the end)… I liked it better than the end to Full Moon. But KKJ is probably her best series, at least of the ones I’ve read.

  8. @Danielle: I liked Full Moon, but that’s been it so far.

    @Connie: Yeah, I thought it’d be much more of a trainwreck ending than it actually was. I also wasn’t sure it’d have a proper ending, since I knew it ended serialization prematurely. That’s good to know KKJ is the best. I don’t intend to read Gentlemen’s Alliance, so perhaps I’ll be saving the best for last.


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