Fourteen-year-old Kisaki Tachikawa has psychic powers. She works for PSI, a secret government agency that fights aliens. She’s in love with her partner Giniro, but PSI won’t allow operatives to get involved. Just when Kisaki thinks she may be getting closer to Giniro, she finds out she is to be transferred to California!
I found this stand-alone tankobon volume in a car boot sale. I was already familiar with Arina Tanemura’s works from reading I.O.N and Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne. I’ve mentioned before that I am absolutely in love with her artwork style, so naturally I had to pick this one up and give it a whirl.
Mistress Fortune is a combination of fantasy, romance, magical girl/boy and comedy. There are two main characters: Kisaki Tachikawa and Giniro Hashiba. They’re both 14-year-olds who work for PSI, a secret government agency that employs people with psychic powers to fight aliens. Kisaki and Giniro work together as a team known as “Mistress Fortune;” Kisaki’s code name is “Fortune Tiara” and Giniro’s code name is “Fortune Quartz.”
The budding romance between Kisaki and Giniro was sweet and relatively innocent. Kisaki has fallen in love with Giniro, but it seems all he’s interested in is Kisaki’s breast size and playing around with her, having fun. Not only does Kisaki lack the courage to confess her feelings to Giniro, but PSI strongly discourages its operatives from sharing personal information and getting involved with each other outside of training and missions. Between battling aliens and wrestling with her feelings for Giniro, Kisaki has it tougher than the average 14-year-old.
The characters, development-wise, are fairly average. The main cast is very small (only four real characters of importance), but my personal favourite has to be Giniro. He teases Kisaki relentlessly, but is also very kind and funny. Kisaki, the main character, is basically just your typical shoujo girl, but has large breasts to add a comedic effect and gives Giniro something to poke fun at her with. She isn’t really anything too special or compelling though, in the grand scheme of Tanemura’s heroines. Then their’s Ebo-Ko, one of the Aliens that is now the duo’s pet of sorts. She is the character that adds the most comedy to the story, a mild type of humour, but it’s enough to put a smile on my face. The last major character is Gunjo (basically Girino and Kisaki’s boss). He’s lighthearted and feminine, but can also be a bit of an inconvenience to our young Psychics in love.
The artwork shows the early development of Tanemura’s art style. Long legs, beautifully detailed hair, outfits and backgrounds and eyes that are mere millimetres from looking too large for the heads. There’s always been something quintessentially shoujo and romantic about the way she draws and the sheer attention to detail within each panel. At times, she even goes as far to create a texture to the backgrounds that I’ve truly never seen in any other manga. In some respects, the art in this manga is an interesting mixture of styles. While it is primarily made up of the typical styles and tropes one would expect from a shoujo manga for girls, Tanemura has also integrated a number of ‘busy’ action panels that are usually associated with shounen manga series for boys. Another thing that really strikes me about the art is simply how bright it looks. Even though all the panels may be in black and white, there’s just something about how Tanemura drew many of them that makes them seem colourful. You can almost imagine the colour of Kisaki’s hair or the share of Giniro’s eyes. It’s truly impressive.
For a one volume story, you can believe that the plot isn’t going to be the most complicated one you’ve ever read, but I think that sometimes drawing for a shorter story is just as challenging since you can’t make it seem rushed or, at the other end of the scale, can’t be seen to be making too many ‘filler’ panels in order to pad it out. Tanemura succeeds in walking this line well.
Arina Tanemura’s manga are best known for it’s beautiful artwork, interesting plots, quirky characters and tragic romances. Each of her stories always have something good to offer, and Mistress Fortune is no exception… even if it’s shortness and younger characters mean that this is more “relaxed and fun” side.