Sugar Sugar Rune Vol. #04 (

By:Ben Leary
Review Date: Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Release Date: Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Moyoco Anno
Translated by:Kaya Laterman
Adapted by:Kaya Laterman

What They Say
Sociable Chocolat and shy Vanilla were best friends until a cutthroat contest to determine who would be the next Queen of the Magical World ended it all.

Since Vanilla has come out of her shell and embraced the Dark Magic of the Ogres, she's now the enemy of all witches, especially Chocolat. And the Ogres are making their move, crashing a magic festival and casting a dark spell on Chocolat's school. Even though Vanilla has teamed up with the evil Ogre Pierre, Chocolat can't seem to get the boy out of her mind. How can Chocolat win the competition when she has a crush on an Ogre and still hopes to save her rival, Vanilla?

The Review
One of the really convenient things about bad books is that you can usually tell they're bad pretty quickly and put them aside. But there's a certain kind of book that often seems like it's just about to get good, but never does. This volume of Sugar Sugar Rune is like that. It has all the things I dislike but have come to expect. It's got the crazy magic: at a party where a fight is about to erupt between the witches and ogres, a mysterious woman casts a spell that makes a vision of the cosmos appear. "The hostility is being sucked in by the stars," says the narration. Real hostility is absorbed by the stars in a vision? At least there are no bubble bath attacks this time.

There's also the creepy-cute art that I'm tired of talking about, so the only thing I'll mention on that score is that some of the costumes are really awful this time around. The characters have managed to look bad in a lot of different outfits so far, but Chocolat's four-sizes-too-big cowboy boots (yes, cowboy boots) have got to be the nadir of fashion for the whole series. And speaking of fashion, at the start of one chapter we get a fashion check on Vanilla page. It's so bad it even has to tell you when something is cute or stylish. Actual sentences follow.

"With the bangs away from her face, Vanilla's hairdo [sic] shows off her forehead and is so cute."

"The lace on her sleeves and the ribbon on her chest are so cute."

"She looks clean with white socks."

And yet, and yet, there are just enough inklings of good moments to keep you coming back for more disappointments. An unexpected romance blossoms...and is dumped after we get a lesson on jealousy. The one real highlight comes toward the end when we get a couple of good scenes of genuine friendship. Unfortunately, those were robbed of their power, since I read it in the knowledge that the next volume drops off a cliff.

Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: D+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Del Rey
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 192
ISBN: 0-3454-8682-X
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Sugar Sugar Rune