My Take on Arina Tanemura’s Works (revised)

Original Post found here


I always had this love hate kind of relationship with Arina Tanemura. My first shoujo series I ever read and loved was her famous Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne manga. And My favourite complete works by her is Time Stranger Kyoko. And yet, I found myself disliking Full Moon wo Sagashite, Shinshi Doumei Cross, and Mistress Fortune. I at first thought this just might be because I simply like her old works better and there’s something about her new style that just turns me off, but then Sakurahime Kaden happened which I absolutely adore, so I figured it must be something else that’s in FMwS, SDC, and MF that I don’t like, but other things in KKJ, TSK, and SHK that I love. 

And then I came upon my realization.

Personally, I think the main reason why I prefer SHK, TSK, and KKJ is because of the fact that they, unlike MT, SDC, and FMwS, have a protagonist that ISN’T all about The Great Romance. (Obviously there are more reasons on why I love these 3 series, but perhaps I’ll discuss this in another post, if anyone actually WANTS to hear my squee-age over them) Observe the following —

Mistress Fortune – The story is basically Kisaki all over her ESP job only because it allows her to be closer to Giniro, object of her affections and spends her days constantly chasing around Giniro in an attempt to get to know him better, get his number, get a date, etc, etc, etc.
Shinshi Doumei Cross – Haine goes to prestigious school for the SOLE purpose of being close to Shizumasa, the Love of Her Life.
Full Moon wo Sagashite – Mitsuki wants to become a singer so she could reunite with the love of her life before she dies. 

… See a pattern here? The Heroine’s focus and motivations behind her actions at the starting point of the story is to be with Her One True Love.

Now, let me point out the difference with SHK, TSK and KKJ

Sakura Hime Kaden – Sakura takes on her powers the night she runs away in an attempt to not get married off when demon attacks her and the basis of the story is, IMO, her attempt to find out what is her fate.
Time Stranger Kyoko – Kyoko wants to be rid of her princess duties and takes up her role as Time Stranger in order to achieve this goal.
Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne – Marron steals paintings by night, to seal away the demons within the paintings as chess pieces.

See how these heroines’ lives and their actions are not all influenced by the Great Romance? Not to say that there isn’t any romance in these series, (Which would be impossible, since this is Arina Tanemura we’re talking about here) but my point is that the premise is NOT about being-with-the-one-they-love-forever-and-ever-and-ever, and there are things important to them beyond the One True Love.

That is not to say that I want Arina Tanemura to get rid of romance in her series (because I lovethe couples in SHK, TSK, and KKJ) nor do I have anything against stories centered on Love and the actions the characters take because of this. I actually like quite a few series like this (ex. Akaku Saku Koe by Midorikawa Yuki, creator of Hotarubi no Mori E and Natsume Yuujinchou and therefore my goddess of everything) I just find that I prefer series by Arina Tanemura that don’t have romance as the centre and focus of the heroine’s lives. When they are, the plot would feel too weak and paper thin (think Shinshi), the romance feels too overblown and in my face (’cause her romances are nothing if not in Epic Proportions, which is fine as long as the PREMISE isn’t based around this love of theirs), and overall, everything just feels too exaggerated and over-the-top and ridiculous and makes me want to choke on the fluff. 

However, I have nothing wrong with her one-shots, which, as far as I remember, are ALL based on love. They’re short so that the angst isn’t dragged out, and you can just enjoy the cute fluff romance that is short and sweet and given in just the perfect amount without making you want to scream in agony. Anything longer than a one-shot that’s romance-centric in her stories make me want to dash my brain against a wall. But when you hold her one-shots next to my great loves by her that’s TSK and KKJ (And hopefully, HOPEFULLY, SHK), they just don’t compare or are even half as memorable.

So yes the TL;DR — Arina Tanemura should stop making her series based on the character chasing after the Love of Their Lives. End of story.


3 Responses to “My Take on Arina Tanemura’s Works (revised)”

  1. 1 Sapphire Pyro May 29, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    on the works of the mangaka that you have mentioned, I’m only familiar with four. I liked kamikaze kaitou jeanne and mistress fortune. I only liked fullmoon because I like the leading guy . . . and there’s the singing thing xD I didn’t like shinsei doumei cross . . . though it’s supposedly my kind of thing o_O

    have you read i.o.n.? I can’t recall the story, but I think I liked it.

    haha, I just realized I also read many of the mangaka’s works xD perhaps I should try sakurahime kaden already xD hehe

    • 2 wingstodust May 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm

      I read I.O.N. too, and thought it was rather boring… ^^;;; But it’s been ages since I read that, so I don’t have a clear memory of why exactly did I think it was boring sooo. =/

      lol try sakurahime kaden!! =D Read it w/ me~

  2. 3 silver July 30, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Yeah. Hell yeah, I agree. I have a love hate relationship with Tanemura’s style of storytelling too. Not just b/c of the great romance stuff, but I dunno, everything seems so…sugary and cheesy, almost childish. But I do appreciate the detail and technique of her art and some of the fantasy aspects of her series. As for the romance, I agree 100% that a series needs a binding plot where the characters can interact. I find characters much more respectable when they have something else besides romance that is important to them. More often than not, having something else there will allow for better romantic development later on without it being forced. I just wish Arina would make her heroines less mary-sue, tear-prone and…sugary.

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