Saint Tail was one of the first magical girl series released by Tokyopop before they started unflipping manga, it came out along side titles such as Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura in the U.S. Even though the translations were less than desirable, one was just happy to see titles being released. The magical girl genre hasn’t really flourished in the states since then and sadly has left a number of titles out-of-print including the irresistible Saint Tail.
Saint Tail is a perfect, little magical girl series with humor, sweet romance, and actual magic tricks are brought to life with whimsical and flowing artwork that captures the cuteness of the series. Meimi, alter ego Saint Tail, and her friend Seira, a nun-in-training, attend Saint Paulia junior high as normal best friends. But they spend much of their time righting the wrongs done to the church’s patrons. As Seira hears the stories, she passes the information along to Saint Tail who steals back that which has been stolen from the practitioners. However, any good thief must have a rival desperate to catch them. Most of the city, and especially honorary police detective Asuka Jr., think Saint is a menacing phantom thief on the loose. Of course Asuka Jr. has no idea that his classmate, who maybe he is getting a crush on, and the famous thief, who he is also falling for, are the very same girl.
Meimi is head-strong and stubborn, but she mostly uses it for the positive. And her bits of illusion, learned from her magician dad are great fun. Seira is almost like the complete opposite of Meimi with her quiet poise, but don’t let that fool you too much, she is very much willing to take risks. Asuka Jr. displays much of the same traits as Meimi, and a valiant determination but also the wavering realization that he might not want to really catch Saint Tail. The very innocent romance playing out between these two (or three since Asuka isn’t aware of Saint Tail’s identity) couldn’t be more appealing. Though you’ll see the series has the ability to have moments of suspense and tenderness in more than just the cases at hand. Add in some great characters like charming Sawatari the school’s newspaper man, Asuka’s detective father that is continually thwarted, and Meimi’s off-beat parents and the recipe is complete.
At 7 delightful volumes, Saint Tail is easily one of the best magical girls! And seriously people, children need more phantom thieves in their lives. Saint Tail deserves a new translation and rerelease indeed.