Because Saint Tail holds such a special place in my heart this may be one of my most biased reviews.
This is one of my most favorite mangas. Period. This is the manga that started my love for collecting manga, the manga that I searched high and low for as a young child because it was out of print, and the of the anime, the first anime that I really wanted to see.
Kaitou Saint Tail may not be anything extraordinary by today’s standards but back in the day this WAS how manga was written, and not to mention this was the first manga I have read that I found pulls off the "monster of the day" format very well. (in this case it is not monsters, but different thefts)
The story follows young Meimi Haneoka, A fourteen year old girl in the eighth grade at St. Paula's Catholic school. By day she is an ordinary girl who may struggle with homework and grades but by night she becomes the fantastic and magical girl Saint Tail. Saint Tail is a thief working under God to take back items taken from the innocent. Each chapter she strikes a different place for a different item.
Art: Perhaps the only weakness of the whole manga. This is one of the first mangas creator Tachikawa had written and during that time her art really showed for it. Tachikawa, however, does start to show major improvement as the series progresses. The first volume of this series may be the weakest I have ever seen Tachikawa's art. It was almost as if she had not found a style for herself during this time. The last volume really starts to show what we expect of Tachikawa today, cute bubbly eyes, dramatic faces, and much improved backgrounds and scenery. It is interesting to see how an artist progresses however through this time period, so it is not a major factor to affect the quality of the whole.
Story: Saint Tail follows a Monster of the day format, however towards the end this starts to get dropped entirely. For those of you wanting a big battle with a happy ending I couldn't start to think of anything better to recommend. Tachikawa's writing in series is solid and several times throughout the story we may even get a couple tear jerkers.
Characters: Loved Loved Loved them all. They were all scripted perfectly and never felt like they were there just to fill in space. Asuka Jr may be one of Tachikawa's best male protagonists because unlike the others he wasn't entirely nice and had flaws. He didn't know how to be honest with his feelings which made the romantic tension between him and Memei all the more enjoyable. Meimi was a bit naive and also struggled with honesty to herself. No Mary Sues to speak of in this story.
Overall: This manga started my love for Tachikawa Sensei and even today is still fantastic. Really a recommended read for those who enjoy the Magical Girl genre.