Title: Fairy Navigator Runa Vol 1
Story: Miyoko Ikeda
Illustrations: Michiyo Kikuta
Publisher: Del Rey
May Contain Spoilers
From the back of the book:
THE LEGENDARY CHILD
As a baby, Runa Rindô was left in front of a school for foster children, wearing a mysterious pendant. Now she’s in fourth grade and strange things are starting to happen around her. It’s only a matter of time before she discovers her secret powers—and her quest as the Legendary Fairy Child begins!
It’s been a long week at work, and all I wanted to do when I got home was chill out, pick up a book that required no brain power, and forget that I have to start the torture all over again on Monday. Fairy Navigator Runa certainly delivered on the brainless part, and the book was about what I expected. It is standard magical girl fare, with few surprises or shocking story revelations. It ran in Nakayoshi, so it’s geared toward elementary school girls, and it does skew young on a read through. There are some titles that are intended for a younger audience, but I enjoy them anyway, and consider them all ages. Happy Happy Clover, The Big Adventures of Majoko, and Chi’s Sweet Home are good examples. Runa never pulled me in, and it left me unmoved at the end of the volume. I didn’t hate it, but it’s not something I will be waiting for future volumes with a great deal of anticipation.
Runa is an orphan, and she was left at the Children of the Stars, a school for foster kids, when she was an infant. It’s not fair to say that she is clumsy; it’s more that she lives on another plane of existence from everyone else. That’s a nice way of saying that she is a complete air head; she has taken the advice of one of her teachers much too closely to heart, and she is kind and considerate to everyone, even when she’s getting picked on. Which only makes them pick on her more! Her best friend is ignoring her because she lets everyone walk all over her, and Runa is trying to hide her hurt and confusion over Sae’s rejection.
When two mysterious beings appear and ask her if she’s the Legendary Girl, she’s taken aback. She’s not a legendary anything, let alone the long lost fairy princess! When an evil fairy abducts Sae, Runa gathers up her courage and sets out to save her friend. The resulting storyline is very generic and predictable, but it fulfilled my number one reading requirement for this evening; only a few brain cells were necessary to process the action taking place on the pages.
Fairy Navigator Runa delivers a quick read, with plenty of magical girl action and a surprising amount of blood. Runa and her new companions, Mokke and Suneri, her new fairy protectors, set off to rescue Sae from the dastardly Kamachi. I was fairly certain of the outcome before Runa ever confronted the evil fairy, which killed any sense of suspense. About the only plot point I have any questions about is Tai, the mysterious (and oh so cute boy) who claims to hold the key to Runa’s destiny. Is he good? Is he bad? What cute animal can he change into?
The art is extremely busy, with lots and lots of sparkles and flowers and stars in the background. I actually liked the illustrations, I just wish the background noise hadn’t been so intense. Save some of that screen tone for the next volume, was what I kept thinking. A brilliant flash of white background every now and again isn’t a bad thing, but so many of the artists for Ribon, Nakayoshi, and Chao seem to forget that. Sometimes less is so much more.
If you are looking for something cutting edge, keep on looking. However, if you enjoy magical girls in their full sparkly, screen toned glory, Fairy Navigator Runa might be for you. If you are tired and overworked, and don’t have the energy to think while reading, this title is right up your alley.
Review copy provided by publisher