Runa Rindo is an orphan. She was left on the steps of the Children of the Stars school, where she has grown up, never knowing her parents or why she was abandoned. The only memento she has of her parents is a pendent. Now in the fourth grade, she is found by a boy and a girl, Mokke and Suneri who seem to know her, and call her the Legendary Child. They are fairies, and they tell Runa she is a fairy too. Before Runa can really understand what is going on, another fairy kidnaps her friend Chae to force her to give up her power. Runa must learn who she really is in order to save her best friend and stop the evil fairy Kamachi.
Fairy Navigator Runa is based on a light novel series of the same name. It features Runa as a magical girl, someone who is normally human, but can call on a power to transform herself and fight the forces of darkness. And Runa is definitely up to the challenge. She is a bit clumsy and absent-minded, but she cares a lot for her friends, and has the strength and will to do whatever it takes to help them. Assisting her are two fairies, Mokke, who can turn into an owl and Suneri, who can turn into a cat. They were sent to protect Runa, but also act as mentors to her, teaching her about her past and powers. There is also a mysterious boy named Tai, who also seems to know about Runa and her powers. He leaves Runa with a cryptic message, taking her heart with him.
This first volume is an origin story, introducing the plot, the characters and showing how Runa got her powers. While Runa is young, only a fourth grader as the story starts, the age rating is deserved. The story starts to get dark toward the end, and there is some bloodshed as Mokke and Suneri fight Kamachi, whose weapon of choice are scythes that come out of his hands. Runa as well, nearly crosses the line to the dark side when her friends are hurt by Kamachi, but she is stopped before she can do any real harm. Teens and older tweens should have no problem with these elements.
The art is typical of titles written for tweens, with the characters having the big, expressive eyes. It is well done, with the characters having distinctive looks and styles, so telling them apart isn’t a chore. Mokke and Suneri also have addition transformations into super-cute forms, giving them the appearance of mascots, as seen on the cover.
Fairy Navigator Runa is a well written story, with strong characters and an interesting plot. While a message can be found in the story, it isn’t the focus and doesn’t stand out. Teens will enjoy reading this title, with its fantasy theme, elements of danger and touch of romance. Girls will probably be drawn to it more, though boys might find the action appealing as well.