Time Stranger Kyoko Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Sakura Eries
Review Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Having discovered that her friend Karen, the Head of the Flower Tribe, holds one of the God Stones, Kyoko approaches other tribe heads in her search for the remaining Strangers.

Creative Talent:
Writer/Artist: Arina Tanemura
Translation: Mary Kennard
Adaptation: Holly Vivio

What They Say:
After discovering that Sakataki is the Crystal Stranger, Kyoko continues her search for the other telepaths who can awaken her sister. Kyoko suspects that her longtime friend Karen might be one of the telepaths, but Karen is unwilling to help?

What We Say:
Princess Ui's condition is worsening, and Kyoko has to gather the other Strangers quickly to revive her twin. When she discovers that her longtime friend Karen holds the Flower Stone, Kyoko suspects the rest of the stones might be in the hands of other chiefs. Accompanied by Sakataki and Hizuki, Kyoko sets off to see if her hunch is correct. However, as they travel together, Kyoko wonders if Sakataki's feelings for her might be more than just duty towards his princess.

Time Stranger Kyoko serves up lots of magical shojo silliness in this volume. It's difficult to take anything in this story seriously, especially because Tanemura's characters are so dim. The way Karen and Mizuno allow themselves to be deceived, it's laughable to think that they’re in charge of anything, let alone the head of the tribe. On top of that, we have Kyoko's costume changes (which would probably be a lot more effective if they were animated) and the ridiculous arguments between Kyoko's allies and the bad guys that pop up even during their “desperate” battles. Probably the funniest scene for me was when the evil Ralzone declares that she'll devour Fish Tribe Head Mizuno and starts chewing on Mizuno's shoulder.

Airheaded characters aside, Tanemura's plot feels as crammed as her panels.  Between the introductions/explanations of the different tribes, the situation with Ui, the growing interest between Kyoko and Sakataki, other auxiliary romances flying about, and the secret reason behind Kyoko's desire to relinquish her princess status, the story is way too packed. However, the three Strangers that Kyoko discovers in Volume 2 do have ties to existing characters, which make them a little bit easier to keep track of in the rapidly growing cast of characters and also conveniently allows for additional background on the existing cast.

Extras consist of a story thus far summary and character lineup, embedded mangaka remarks, embedded character profiles, one page of translation/cultural notes, mangaka profile, and ads for other Tanemura titles.

Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 8.99
Pages: 210
ISBN: 978-1421517988
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left