Sugar Sugar Rune Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: D+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 0-3454-8681-1
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Sugar Sugar Rune

Sugar Sugar Rune Vol. #03

By Ben Leary     November 27, 2007
Release Date: July 25, 2006

Sugar Sugar Rune Vol.#03
© Del Rey

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

What They Say
The competition to become Queen of the Magical World is heating up - and the rivalry is destroying the friendship between witch girls Chocolat and Vanilla. Tired of living in Chocolat's shadow, Vanilla has fallen under the influence of Pierre, a charming boy who is secretly the leader of a band of evil outcasts from the Magical World. When he gives Vanilla a taste of the power of Noir, collected from hearts filled with anger, she changes - and turns against Chocolat.

Now Chocolat is homeless and without a best friend. She finds help from both the Human and Magical Worlds, but two problems remain: the all-important Spring Exam is coming, and Chocolat has feelings of her own for Pierre!

The Review
As my loyal readers know (both of you), this series was not one that captured my affections at first sight. It hasn't really grown on me either. The art, by all accounts, takes some getting used to. I haven't found a way of getting used to it yet. The more I see it and the more I think about it, the closer I get to understanding exactly why I dislike it the way I do. Most of the time when you dislike a style of art, it's because the art is bad and you have at least a general idea of why it's bad. But I can't do that here, because the art isn't bad, at least not in a technical sense. It's not so much bad as wrong. The vague gothicness and fangs could, I suppose, have an effectiveness on their own. But in a girly-cute world of bubble baths and Frenchified chic where everybody is named after all looks dreadfully, deliberately, wrong.

Before we leave the subject of bubble baths, let me mention those as an example of the other thing that gets in my teeth about this series. I mean the moments of sheer daffiness where you seem to just drop over a cliff. Early on Chocolat and Vanilla have a squabble. Vanilla draws out her wand and - prepare yourself for a devastating exhibibtion of magical power - shoots bubbles at Chocolat. This has got to be the most useless special attack I can remember seeing - the only possible exception being Aquaman's ability to throw water balls at his enemies to get them wet when they were underwater. But somehow it works and on the next page the door slams behind Chocolat and she finds herself on the front porch with her things tossed out after her.

But on the other hand, I disliked this book least of the ones I've read so far. There's some real human feeling in the middle section, where Chocolat takes the time for reflection and begins to realize that other people are actually people, and not just heart carriers. The supporting characters outshine the leads in this volume. In particular, Woo and Soul as Chocolat's guardian knights, and a little boy who takes a fancy to her all get some really quality moments in the spotlight, and managed to engage me: something Sugar Sugar Rune has done precious little of up to now.

But then the final chapter is a contest between Chocolat and Vanilla, and Vanilla pulls out her dumb bubble bath magic again and we're back to square one. Serves me right for getting my hopes up, I guess. Even if I didn't know where this was headed I'd have a hard time staying interested.


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