Ion by Arina Tanemura

Ion is Tanemura first series – and it shows. Dating from around 1996, even the author apologizes for the inconsistent story and unrefined artwork. Yes, it has a spark of the charm that would appear in her later works. But the story is clearly one that started as a one-shot and just kept going for the sake of popularity rather than integrity. It’s cute – but it’s also all over the place and clearly wasn’t plotted out in advance. This volume completes the story.

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Story: Ion has a gift – if she chants her name, she can make good luck happen. When she’s recruited by the cute boy who heads the psychic club, she’s ecstatic. He helps her grow her power and become even stronger. But she feels he only wants her for her gift and not to be his girlfriend. Can Ion change his mind?

Nearly all the cliches are here: rival appearing suddenly from another school, another ‘eligible’ boy also wanting her, misunderstandings/miscommunication, and the love interest turning her down for fear of ‘hurting’ her feelings. It’s almost shoujo by the numbers – probably not even original back in 1996.

Speaking of 1996 – this has, perhaps, not aged very well. The slouchy socks and endless hair ornaments are, admittedly, kind of wince worthy. Perhaps best suited as as a nostalgia piece as a result. It’s not egregiously bad – but it is very much a manga of its time.

Tanemura fans will likely enjoy it, even with its admitted flaws. But those looking for a fresher and more sophisticated read might be disappointed by Ion.

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