I.O.N.

I.O.N.

ionI.O.N. is a one-tankobon volume manga, and was the debut creation of manga-ka Arina Takemura. Essentially a high school romance with a paranormal twist, it tells the story of Ion Tsuburagi as she comes to learn that she has psychic powers.

After stumbling upon the research of fellow schoolmate and supernatural enthusiast, Mikado Hourai, she discovers that her childhood jinx for good fortune (chanting the letters of her name as if counting to three) is more than just superstition. It is actually the key to harnessing her new psychic powers – levitation and telekinesis. Ion has wanted Mikado to notice her for some time and, thanks to her psychic powers, now she has his full attention; but is he seeing Ion as a girl, or as a psychic experiment?

ion2This story starts off well – the characters are likeable, the pace is good, and the juggling of plot progression as well as explaining back story is very impressive. However, it all starts to lose its sure-footing in the second half. Yet more characters are introduced, and their development and role in the plot appears both stunted and staged. For example, the introduction of Mikado’s ex-girlfriend, Ai Minase (suddenly transferring schools and deciding that she wants Mikado back), was a little hard to swallow. Her main role was to be Ion’s love rival and to highlight Mikado’s obsession with the supernatural (turns out Ai can bend spoons with her mind, and Mikado was more interested in her talents than her as a person). However, after challenging Ion in a test of their psychic ability, and losing, her personality does a complete 180 and she decides she no longer has any feelings for Mikado and goes from manipulative schemer to ditzy sub-character in a matter of pages. Plot purpose achieved – no longer interested.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that the second part of this story is awful, but it could have been so much better with a little more attention to context and sub-plot. This would have made a great two volume story if it included a few more important elements.

ion6

Another reason to read this: Takemura’s artwork is stunning. There is an intimate detail and intricacy within single panels that just makes you want to slow down and really appreciate them. Her technique only improves throughout her works (Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne, Full Moon, Sakura-hime Kaden), and you will be captivated by the gorgeous shoujo design. Even though I mentioned earlier about the shortness of this story, it is refreshing to read a one volume, succinct manga after the never-ending slew of volumes from series’ such as Bleach, Naruto and One Piece. Every part of this story is within your grasp, with no waiting.

I.O.N. is a lighthearted, short-and-sweet, and ultimately delivers everything it promises. I would recommend giving it a glance just to see what it was that launched Takemura’s successful career.