Time Guardian

Review covers the full series

Nowadays it's difficult to label something as completely original, but Time Guardian is probably as close as you can get, and it's an interesting concept.

Miu, the protagonist of the series, is a girl who accidentally wanders into a fantasy realm which is attached to the real world via an alley in Japan. There she finds a shop which deals in buying and selling time, and time-based magical powers. Miu then manages to get a part-time job at the store, putting her in a position in which she can bare witness to everything that goes on.

If you've ever read the Petshop of Horrors Manga, then I'd say that each chapter in Time Guardian plays out a bit like that; only of course without the horror. During each story, we get to meet a new customer to the shop. Miu, the newcomer to the shop, gets an explanation of what they've just bought. Miu then takes it upon herself to be a snoop and go look into what the customer is doing.

Despite having the word "Time" in the title, the series usually avoids using time-travel as a plot element, and instead each customer visiting the shop is given some kind of ability to stop or replay time to a limited extend.

Given that not every buyer has to state the reason for their wanting the time when they buy it, I'm amazed that it never turns out that anyone uses their given powers to rob a bank or suchlike. But this Manga is one of those "relationship" Comics where the only thing of interest in each plot is the relationship between people; so each chapter when Miu does find out how people are using their powers, it always involves problems in their relationship with their boyfriend/girlfriend/parents.

After she has found out her client's motivations, being the stereotypical busy-body that is usually the star of this type of Comic, Miu will naturally spend the rest of the chapter trying to interfere and resolve their conflict.

Finally, rinse and repeat for two volumes.

There were a couple of chapters that I felt strung on for a little while; it seemed as if the characters were waiting for their budget of pages to be filled up before they decided to make up with each other. But that's the only flaw I'd raise at the series; aside from the ending.

Ah yes, I mentioned the ending. As Time Guardian is only 2 volumes long I really feel that I have to mention the ending. Judging by how quickly the ending is sprung upon the reader, I'd be prepared to say that this is another series that was planned to be much longer but had to be cut shorter than planned. This is quite visible, as half-way through volume 2 the reader still knows very little about the world in Time Guardian. Then, in just under a hundred pages, they are hurriedly introduced to most of the fantasy realm in Time Guardian, just to quickly set up the ending. It feels rushed and out of place with the rest of the series.

While I've complained about the ending, I still must say that I enjoyed reading the series overall. To sum it up as best I can, it's a tried and tested "good Samaritan" formula spiced up with just a little bit of time-manipulation to make things interesting. Go check it out if that sounds good.