Sugar Sugar Rune Vol. #07 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: D+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 0-3454-9252-8
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Sugar Sugar Rune

Sugar Sugar Rune Vol. #07

By Ben Leary     January 15, 2008
Release Date: November 27, 2007

Sugar Sugar Rune Vol.#07
© Del Rey

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

What They Say
Duke, Chocolat's familiar, turns out to be her uncle Poivre! Now that he's back in human form, Poivre reveals a frightening secret about Chocolat's past. But Chocolat's friends stand by her - even when she must dare to enter the mysterious Underworld in search of her father.

The Review
After you've reviewed four volumes of a series you don't care for, it's very difficult to approach the next volume without wondering what else there is to say. I've already talked about all the things I don't like, and I've already repeated myself a number of times. It would almost have been a relief to discover in this volume some new development for me to dislike. No one could have been more surprised when I realized I was actually enjoying myself at times.

Not that the things about this series I dislike have disappeared. The art style hasn't changed, and neither have my feelings about it. (If you don't know what those are by now, you won't learn it from me here.) But I suppose I've gotten used to it; the character design no longer bothers me constantly like it used to. And it does help that there are no blatantly idiotic fashion choices this time around. My other annoyance - the seemingly arbitrary use of magic - is still here; yet even that occurs less regularly than usual, which is a big surprise when you consider that this volume has more spells and magic artifacts than any we've seen so far. But when it does come up it comes at a bad time. The girls are flying along on Chocolat's broom when it suddenly "runs out of gas," as Blanca says. Yet they keep flying right along till they find a landing place. (A chapter break might have hidden this in the magazine version, but when you collect the chapters in a book the inconsistency becomes obvious.)

But the things that stick in my mind this time are the things I like, believe it or not. For almost the first time the story has started to matter. Even better, the story opens up and begins to include all the characters. I began to wonder if the problem with the previous volumes was that asking Chocolat to carry the story, almost alone, was too much of a burden for her. But now the series has become almost an ensemble piece, and the benefit is much more than I would have thought. It's strengthened a growing suspicion I had that it was the supporting cast, not the leads, who were making the thing work when it did. That cast is stronger than ever with the new addition of the transfigured Duke - a character who comes out of nowhere with a story of his own that deepens the whole situation, not only for Chocolat, but for the entire magical world. Another appreciated move is that the consequences are now human (or whatever these people are, you know what I mean) - there's no more fiddling about with ecure. All across the board this is the strongest volume yet.

The upshot was that by the time I got to the words "to be continued in volume eight" I really wanted to know what happened next. It may be overstating the case to say I am looking forward to another volume of this strange and unpredictable series: but when and if it arrives in the mail, I will no longer wail to the heavens and utter curses and rend my garments.

Whether it was due to this volume simply being an improvement on its predecessors and looking better because of it; or because the magic of the story is as arbitrary as the magic in the story, and suddenly began to work on me; or because the manga gods had favoured me for sticking it out as long as I had, I actually found some things I could like about Sugar Sugar Rune. But don't let it get around. I have a reputation to keep up.


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