It's time for another theme month. These tend to work out great for me,so this will turn out awesome too. This month I'm looking at Arina Tanemura,whose books keep ending up in my collection by complete accident. So might as well clear out a good chunk of them,before more show up,and the best place to start is the beginning with I.O.N.
I.O.N is Tanemura's first published book and while the story and art are rather strong the romance is lacking. It wouldn't be too bad if the story wasn't solely about the romance. The world is fleshed out rather well for the one volume length and the story is fine till it is derailed by the romance. Enough with broad strokes and romance potshots, lets go more in depth with these potshots.
The story follows Ion Tsuburagi, a girl with minor physic abilities when the story starts. As events progress her powers increase and she gains the attentions of a boy, Mikado. with an interest in physic powers. We've somehow stumbled into the shojo counterpart to Sussano,with less craziness. The central conflict stems less from we can fly/lift objects and those ramifications and more from does Mikado view Ion as a girl or a experiment. I could forgive what seems to be a glorified romance subplot taking over the plot if the main players had any chemistry.
Ion and Mikado really don't play well off each other and seem to be in love because the plot demands it. She claims to love him because he says his mind,no matter how cheesy. He loves her because I guess they worked together for a while and to spite his ex. Once he starts returning her affections,it derails the more interesting physic powers plot,for romance drama. Ion herself is a bit all over the place in terms of her affections,being aggressive but chickening out,then going back to being aggressive in time for Mikado to be stupid.
The other characters fare no better in they all tend to blend into one big forgettable ball. Both main characters have a rival for their partners affections. Kouki is the eternally rejected suitor of Ion and him and his lackey can be funny but add little to the plot outside of drama with club formation that goes away quickly. Mikado's ex,Ai, is nicely realistic for a love rival in that she doesn't try to do anything really crazy to Ion and when she accidentally hurts her feels genuinely remorseful. Her presence does bring up something that infuriates me. She has physic powers as well,weaker ones but still powers. The story brings up the fact that there is research on physic powers and people clearly have them but that is never really addressed in terms of how this could affect the world. I know this is a shojo manga and romance tends to reign supreme but come on don't leave me hanging on the better plot or at least don't let it all crash down.
The final chapter train wreaks due to having to follow the boneheaded rejection that is there to create drama rather than actual add to the story. at the end of chapter five. The plot sets up that a weird substance is amplifying Ion's powers but the final chapter throws in the fact that it is breaking apart and her powers will diminish. I get that it's aiming for a bit of a symbolic loss of her connection to Mikado but the guy just rejected her and she's genuinely heartbroken,so why does she care. Mind you I think the other characters are just as perplexed at her bounce back but the whole chapter seems to be here because we can't have a sad ending.
For her first full book that,going by the author notes, was wrote with very little knowledge of how many chapters she would have;the world is well fleshed out barring that final plot point. The romance could have worked if the leads weren't together solely because of a red noose or the cast wasn't for the most part shojo stock chracters. Arina Tanemura month is off to a poor start but I'm not one to stop after a bad start,I'm kind of stupid that way. So see you next time for the first volume of Phantom Thief Jeanne.