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Synopsis | Review

Ion is a story by Tanemura Arina. It contains all the vital Tanemura elements: a magical girl, lots of bishounen, childlike parents, a long-forgotten girlfriend, and girls that all look alike ^_~ Well, okay, the girls in Ion really don't look alike because they have different hairstyles. It's actually easy to tell them apart ^_~

If you're used to Tanemura's more famous works such as Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne and Full Moon wo Sagashite, Ion may seem very short. At six chapters, it only spans one volume. There's not enough chapters to build a storyline about saving the world or becoming famous; Ion is pretty much a slice-of-life story, if having magical powers can be considered slice-of-life. Consequently, the characters in this story do not have full-blown crises. There's some angst, some romance, some comic relief, some cuteness, and some more angst ^_~

Despite being short, Ion is still a favorite among Tanemura fans. Consider it a Tanemura deluxe ^_~

When Tsuburagi Ion was a little girl, she learned an effective little jinx. In place of 1-2-3, she chants her own name, and then something good happens. So she chants I-O-N whenever the situation calls for it. It's not something that she uses all the time; it just served as a good luck charm for her over the years.

Fast-forward to high school. The student council president, Shirashi Kouki, took one look at Ion and decided she's the girl for him. So he's been harassing her ever since, with the help of his trusty vice president, Tagosaku. He affectionately calls her Ion-kun ^_^ Unfortunately for him, Ion doesn't feel the same way. She already decided that she's attracted to guys who are more into going after their own dreams. It appears Shirashi goes only after her ^_~

One day, Ion was hanging out with her friends Kyo and Minami. Shirashi burst into the room and as usual, declared his love for Ion. In order to escape his grimy paws (okay, his paws aren't really grimy. Shirashi's actually very cute, like Widoshiku in Time Stranger Kyoko), Ion bounded out of the window. She landed on a guy who was sitting outside on the grass, mending a curtain (yeah, that was random ^_~). It was Hourai Mikado, a boy genius with an IQ of 170.

Mikado didn't miss a beat. He immediately covered Ion with the curtain. In the next second, Shirashi appeared at the window. The two guys started exchanging barbed remarks when Ion invoked her jinx and the fifth period bell rang ^_^ When it was safe to come out, Ion asked Mikado what was up with the curtain. He explained that he tried to form a psychic powers research club (he blushed at this point) but Shirashi tore the curtain as a sign that he doesn't approve. It turns out that Mikado's been fascinated with psychic powers ever since he watched Psycho Man as a kid :D He dreamt of also having psychic powers so he can help people, like his favorite hero ^_~ Ridiculous as it sounded, Ion found herself drawn to Mikado. Here's a guy who's going after his dreams. Even though it's a weird one ^_~

Shortly afterwards, Ion found Mikado by a school shed. He forbade her to go in because he had some experiment going on inside. When he walked away, Ion took a peek and found a pretty blue stone in a beaker. When she picked it up, there was an explosion. The next thing she knew, she was in the air and the shed's on fire. When Mikado saw what was going on, he had Ion use her newly demonstrated psychic powers to extinguish the fire in the shed by making the pool water float.

Mikado thought the blue stone burned in the fire, but he was excited with the whole thing and asked Ion to help him with his research. Ion, who already had a full-blown crush on him by this time, didn't have the courage to tell him that the whole shed fire was her fault and that she has the stone. So she went along with his research and even taught him her I-O-N trick ^_^

Naturally, Shirashi's pissed because Mikado and Ion spend a lot of time together :D Things get messier when Mikado's ex-girlfriend, Minase Ai, transferred to their school. It doesn't help that Ai also has psychic powers and combined forces with Shirashi to keep Mikado and Ion apart. Because of Ai, Ion started wondering more and more whether Mikado's genuinely interested in her as a girl or as a research subject. And pretty soon, Mikado's wondering the same thing too ^_~ Whee.

I certainly miss Tanemura's irreverently funny heroes. Mikado's so serious ^_~ He's kind of similar to Sakataki in Time Stranger Kyoko. All the irreverence went to Shirashi; the way he confesses his love to Ion two hundred times reminds me of Meroko in Full Moon wo Sagashite.

Like I mentioned before, this is a must-read if you're a Tanemura fan. Or if you like mahou shoujo manga. The storyline's pretty simple, but it'll leave a smile on your face. It doesn't hurt that there's this funny love triangle between Ion, Shirashi, and Mikado. Shirashi never fails to step in and mess things up just when the going's getting good for Mikado and Ion ^_~

As expected from Tanemura-sensei, the graphics in Ion are great. They're simple where they have to be, but they can be intricate and detailed and pretty in other places. And the outfits are adorable. It's worth reading Tanemura-sensei's work just for the eye candy alone :D At one volume with six chapters, you really got nothing to lose. Actually, it would've been nice if the story's a little longer, but it's great the way it is ^_~

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