What would you do if you could buy some time? With twelve more hours you could visit friends while still getting your homework done. An extra two hours and you could watch your favorite movie and still pick your mom up at the airport. Twenty more minutes and you could finish that really, really hard math test that ended just a little too soon. When Miu accidentally finds herself in front of the Kusaka Time Shop she learns that shoppers can do just that — buy time. A supposed urban legend, the Time Shop will trade you some extra time in exchange for one of your precious memories. But if you don’t return in time to buy your memory back, they just might sell it to someone else.
Miu seems to have an affinity for the shop and she is hired to be the Go-Between, the person who acts as time’s conscience, guiding the buyer in a direction that is both honest and fair. As each new customer leaves the store, Miu follows behind, watching what happens and helping the customer “experience a lovely stream of time.” Miu is a spunky heroine who dives into each new adventure with enthusiasm. Her cheerful character contrasts well with shop owner Kusaka’s businesslike demeanor and froggy sidekick Ginzo’s comic quips. The three provide a solid base for each customer’s story to revolve around and Kusaka’s ruthless business dealings lend just a hint of malice, keeping Time Guardians from being too sweet.
The art is simple and clearly drawn and the characters are easy to recognize. With only the tiniest bit of bad language, this story is perfect for middle schoolers as well as teens. Time Guardians is like the best After School Special: a fun story, cute characters, and a bit of adventure, all wrapped up with a tidy little moral. Chicken Soup for the Manga Lovers Soul, perhaps?