Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Time Guardian, v. 1

By Daimuro Kishi and Tamao Ichinose
Released in the U.S. by CMX

Slugline: There is no manga that could not improved by a monkey. A monkey’s paw, that is.

Miu, a girl who always seems to be late, by fiddling her watch while trying to get ahead of things manages to finds a curious little shop. The proprietor Kusaka calls it a pawnshop for time: by placing a precious memory as collateral, you can borrow time from your future in order to accomplish what needs to be done now. Though Miu has no need for it (despite appearances to the contrary) apparently one of the clocks of the pawnshop has selected her as the Go-Between, and her role is to guide the people who are borrowing time in a direction that is ‘just.’ Miu is one of those typical spunky girls, and has a mild infatuation with Kusaka, so she takes to the role, helping a sick girl have the perfect date, a pop idol reconcile with her father, and helping a fellow student confront his parents and tell them of his true love.

At first I was thinking that there was going to be a monkey’s paw aspect to this story, as in the gift that will turnaround and bite you. While Kusaka is very mercenary in his choices, he seems to be following both the letter and spirit of his agreements. At first I was little down on this story, for while it is okay it doesn’t exactly sizzle, and none of the characters exactly leap off the page and are immediately interesting.But then I saw that this is rated for E for Everyone, and got it.There is nothing here that is offensive, and the story is not too challenging but still has goals -- just not for Miu, at least not yet.It also explains the use of the talking frog Ginzo, whose purpose I didn’t immediately get but who serves as a foil to Kusaka to fully bring out his thinking.So I think this is a good intro-level or early reader manga title, while someone who has read a few, or is just more sardonic, may find it a little slow.

Time Guardian, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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