Once upon a time, I wanted to be a spy…or one of the X-Men. So it is pretty much inevitable that if the book uses the words “secret government agency” in the description that I am going to want to read it. Such was the case with the shojo manga Mistress Fortune by Arina Tanemura. Tanemura is the creator of the series Full Moon o Sagashite, which is one of my favorite shojo titles. I wanted to love Mistress Fortune; I really did.
Mistress Fortune is about a 14 year old psychic, Kisaki Tachikawa, who works for a secret government agency called PSI. With her partner, Giniro, she helps fight and capture aliens causing mayhem around the world. This only a small part of the story. The true conflict is that she is in love with her partner, something that is very much against the rules. A relationship is impossible; doing so could mean PSI breaking up the partnership. That doesn’t stop Tachikawa from trying to find out more about her partner.
When I started reading, I was confused. The book started right in the middle of a battle scene that would make Sailor Moon proud and an introduction that heavily reminded me of Team Rocket. I was really hoping for some more background information and build up. What was very appealing about Mistress Fortune was that all the previously published serialized stories had been gathered together into a single tankobon. This included three main chapters and two smaller side stories. Yes, you read that right…three chapters. The main problem for me was that this story was too short which caused it to seem a bit forced to find a conclusion. I don’t want to give the ending away, but as this is the only volume in the series, it really did seem like the series ended before planned.
Tanemura is not only the author, but also the illustrator. It was cool that Tanemura incorporated her editor at VIZ into the story by using her name for the American PSI rep as well as turning the San Diego Comic Con location into the American PSI headquarters. The artwork is beautiful and very light-hearted. It is really representative of similar shojo titles with the sparkly flower backgrounds, elaborate costumes, and gorgeous hair.
School Library Journal listed Mistress Fortune as part of the 39 Graphic Novels Kids Can’t Resist with a suggestion of it being appropriate for the middle grades of 6-8. I agree that the story might find more appeal with a younger audience, however, VIZ media has given this book a teen rating most likely because of Giniro’s obsession with large breasts. My take on this is that it is a cute story and would appeal to readers of Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura, but hold off on adding it to your collection unless you receive it as a donation. For the money there are much better titles out there that follow similar themes.