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Review: Time Guardian (Vol. 02)

Reviewer: Lissa Pattillo

Author: Daimuro Kishi
Manga-ka: Tamao Ichinose
Publisher: CMX Manga
Rating: All Ages
Release Date: June 2007

Synopsis: “Is the Time Shop closing for good?! In this eries finale, Miu tries to stop two former sweethearts from trading in their memories in order to forget their past relationship. Then Mr. Kusaka announces he’s selling all the Time Shop’s assets and closing up for good. Can Miu and Ginzo change his mind?”

A romantic entanglement becomes Time Guardian Miu’s first big job of volume two, taking her on an emotional journey as go between for two struggling lovers. But their waffling relationship proves only the tip of the book’s real iceberg as Miu is thrown for a loop when she learns what all the memories the shops’ been collecting are really for, then finds herself traveling to another world to see that the Time Shop isn’t closed for good.

Volume two of Time Guardian and already the finale? It feels unsatisfying having such a dramatic climax serve as the finale to a seroes that never had enough time to even build itself up. The relationship between Miu and Mr. Kusaka in particular is construed as one that had a lot more time to evolve (or even exist) than it really did. It sullied the reading experience when I kept feeling like I was missing something that hadn’t actually happened. Mr. Kusaka especially had so little time to establish a personality with readers that his sudden defection-of-sorts in this second book wasn’t nearly as effective as was intended.

Still, taking out my disappointment at the lack of substantial story before hand, it was still a strong volume as far as a climax goes. There’s quite a bit of information to take in as readers are introduced to an entire other world of time: a steam-punked style world where time is protected, shared, collected and sold. We are introduced to an individual who has spent years collecting people’s memories with Mr. Kusaka as one of his top vendors, and Miu learns what true importance stands behind her obtaining the position of Time Guardian.

There are new good guys, bad guys, random background police-type guys, old love interests and a bunch of other little facts and tidbits of info varying in relevance. When tossed at readers as they are, they do a pretty successful job at making you feel like you’re reading a story that had a lot more invested time (no pun intended) than it actually did. And it’s a shame really, because I would’ve liked to see this same content handled with a bit more patience and length. Also sad that the series went from having one of the most fun and colourful covers on volume one, to one of the most dull and uninteresting covers on volume two.

The very end of the story also left me feeling a bit perturbed. It’s hard going into why without spoiling how things actually end up but I will say it involves Miu in a new position within the shop, one that leaves me to wonder… what about her life? School? Family? Does she balance both? It was a quick and fairly tidy ending but I would’ve liked some more explored consequence over the rushed ‘accept it the way it is now’ approach.

This book proved a good finale to the series but unfortunately at the cost of the series itself. As a whole the story of Time Guardian went by too quickly. It could’ve easily gone at least a couple of volumes worth of storytelling because of its episodic nature and would’ve benefited from just such an execution before tackling this finale. But I suppose I shouldn’t knock what doesn’t exist, and though the ending didn’t prove very satisfying in the whole scheme of things, I still enjoyed reading it thanks to the great artwork and a nice job juggling the different elements, abruptly introduced as they were. It ensures I’ll be keeping an eye out for more work by this artist with hopes that we get a little more of it next time.

Review written September 8, 2009 by Lissa Pattillo
Book purchased from Strange Adventures

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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