Much like a rainbow: Pretty, but follows a standard arc.
Writer/Artist: Atsushi Suzumi
Translation: Elina Ishikawa
Adaptation: Elina Ishikawa
What They Say
Gimmy has never met a girl like Sora. She's a gorgeous and glamorous teen diva who also happens to be an amefurashi, a rain goddess who brings life-giving water to Gimmy's desert village. But as Gimmy is about to discover, Sora is also a regular girl at heart, one who can laugh, cry, and maybe even fall in love!
The first volume of Amefurashi was flawed, but introduced some good ideas that I thought could be better developed in later volumes. Unfortunately, volume two ends the series, so much of that potential is never realized. The hurried pace of the first volume continues, as Suzumi introduces more characters and locations that we're never given the time to explore. It's a shame, because I could almost see this working as a four-volume series, as the additional time spent on character motivation and world building might have been able to steer the story away from its cliched ending.
The volume begins with some momentum, as Gimmy and Sora head to the giant desert town of Kur, where an Amefurashi Advent Festival is to be held. There, they hope to be able to meet the town's amefurashi and find out more information about Ciel, the evil goddess who stole the power core from Sora's tree, stripping Sora of all of her powers. Unfortunately, our heroes are immediately arrested by the reigning amefurashi, Kia, who suspects Sora is actually the one who has been stealing power cores. Through her earnest pleas to save her nimbus tree, Sora is able to convince Kia that she is innocent, and Kia directs them to Porres, where the head amefurashi lives. Gimmy and Sora board a giant ship that glides across the sand, and head north to Porres.
On the boat, Gimmy and Sora run into a young, cute girl named Fay who claims to be the captain's daughter. Gimmy acts friendly towards her, which makes Sora jealous, and she storms off. While exploring the ship, Gimmy is surprised to find Fay is being pursued by royal guards. This is because, Fay claims, she is a princess who is being given away to an evil king as ransom. Further antics ensure as they attempt to evade capture. We are then surprised to find out Fay isn't just some young, cute girl, but the head amefurashi herself! She merely snuck away onto the sand liner because all amefurashi feel lonely and distant as gods, and only really want to be loved. Perhaps even Ciel herself is merely misunderstood.
At Porres, Fay dresses up as Gonzales, Prince of Darkness, and kidnaps Gimmy. Under duress, Sora finds out that with the power of love and friendship, she can manipulate Fay's nimbus tree, and manages to rescue Gimmy. Once Sora is again able to believe in herself, the heroes prepare for the confrontation with Ciel. As Fay, Gimmy, and Sora approach Ciel's tree, with its dark foreboding clouds spinning in a funnel around the trunk, we're given about four pages of backstory for Gimmy and two for Sora in an attempt to show how they were made for each other. Sora's love for Gimmy has proven adequate to restore some of her power; however, just to be safe, Gimmy sends a message back to his town, so that Mel and Mil and his friends and family can all pray for Sora and give her extra love and justice power. Will love and friendship triumph over the power of loneliness and jealousy? Is there ever any doubt?
It's very difficult to say anything about Amefurashi. There's never anything genuinely bad to rip apart or attack, as the story is told competently. There are glimmers of inspiration, however, that make you think it could have been so much better. They come mostly as throwaway details, such as the fact that the Amefurashi Advent Festival is occurring, or that bandits want to kidnap Sora to control the supply of water for an impoverished kingdom, or the fact that the giant sand liner is described as using the power of nimbus bubbles in order to glide among the dunes. Sadly, the influences the amefurashi might have had on other forms of technology and culture are never explored. In the Afterword, Suzumi mentions there were parts of the plot and character development that didn't turn out as she had liked. It leaves me to wonder if the project was rushed, or if building a compelling fantasy world is just too difficult of an undertaking to accomplish in two volumes. We may have ideas about the Amefurashi that could have been, but we are left with the Amefurashi that is: A pleasant diversion, but nothing more.