The action and magic start to give up real estate to the romantic angle. Can the love story stand on its own two legs?
Writer/Artist: Natsumi Matsumoto
Translation: Andria Cheng
Adaptation: Heidi Vivolo
What They Say
Momoka Sendou (nicknamed "Dragon Girl") and Ryuga Kou are childhood friends. Momoka is a martial artist, and Ryuga is a Chinese magic master who banishes demons. In order to increase his power, Ryuga calls on the spirit of a dragon to possess him, but the spirit enters Momoka instead. Now the two must unite forces and fight demons together!
While trying to banish a demon trapped beneath Momoka's favorite peach tree, Ryuga falls under the demon's control. Can Momoka fight the demon on her own and save Ryuga?
St. Dragon Girl started off with a fair first volume of magic, martial arts, and pandas. There's more to the series than those things, but those were the ones I liked best about it. There were also the expected romantic angles: the beginnings of relationship polygons and a teasing will-they-or-won't-they approach to the feelings of the two leads. The second volume is more of the same for the romantic stuff, which I don't like, and less of the action and mystical arts that are the selling points of the series for me. Another trend I don't like is the mysterious shortage of pandas. When pandas figure more prominently in the bonus story than any of the main chapters, then you know you have a problem.
Let me see if you can figure out why I like the second volume of St. Dragon Girl less than the first without any further help from me. Here's a brief abstract of what happens in this set of stories. Momoka and Ryuga go to a martial arts training camp together. Momoka hopes to spend some time alone with Ryuga, but a malevolent spirit disrupts everyone's plans and the dragon duo has to find a way to destroy it. Momoka wants to tell Ryuga how she feels about him, but doesn't. A fortune teller warns Momoka to avoid Ryuga lest she bring ill-fortune upon him. Momoka wants to tell Ryuga how she feels about him, but doesn't. A busy school festival keeps Momoka too busy to spend time with Ryuga - especially when she has to recover his family's sword after it falls into the hands of thieves. Momoka wants to tell Ryuga how she feels about him, but doesn't. Ryuga's childhood fiancee suddenly appears. Momoka tries to be nice to her, but what about her own feelings for Ryuga? Momoka wants to tell Ryuga how she feels about him, but doesn't.
I think you can see what I'm getting at. I don't mind seeing characters who aren't able to express their love, really I don't. But not in every chapter, please.
St. Dragon Girl has some things going for it but this volume underuses them. I still like the pandas, the martial arts, and the Chinese trappings; however, the only thing consistently given me on this front is the inevitable dragon. The series is now in its romantic mode. That isn't bad per se. The problem is that it's not especially romantic. Almost any series of its kind can play that card as well. Still, the series was popular enough to get a sequel, so I can only suppose that it gets better at some point. When it does - if it does - it'll do it by returning to its strengths, and by emphasizing what St. Dragon Girl, not every other middling shojo title, is all about.