October 29, 2008
Final volume! It’s been so long since I read the last one, it took me a little bit to get re-oriented with things here, especially since this series is so manic. I didn’t recall the connection between Chocolat and Glacier, but I’ll take Sugar Sugar Rune’s word for it. I definitely still like the novelty of the new familiar characters, and I especially love Duke now.
The final battle was vaguely unsatisfying in the way that all magical girl-type final battles are. They fight with magic and feelings, and usually the strength of the heart is what conquers as opposed to any sort of brute force or cunning trickery. Plus, a few characters from earlier in the series come back, along with… well, Cinnamon, who we’ve been waiting all series for. Cinnamon’s role was pretty satisfying. I also kind of liked the little twist given to the heart gem system during the final battle. I’m not sure about the “human” implications of it, but I thought it was a nice final move. Otherwise, the whole final battle, which takes place in two stages and pretty much fills the entire volume, felt a little rushed and messy. Again, though, it follows most of the rules of the magical girl genre. I think KKJ is the closest I’ve come to a satisfying magical girl finale, and even that had some weird stuff. I can’t fault Sugar Sugar Rune for being what it is. Magical girl endings (or at least the ones I’ve read) often feel like they’re made with animated versions in mind, and it seems like the ideas just don’t transfer to manga as well.
I liked the little epilogue. I didn’t like the convenient excuse as to what Chocolat had been doing, and I didn’t like the character boost Vanilla was being given by the other characters… I feel like Chocolat EARNED something, and didn’t get it in the end. But it’s hard to fault a happy ending like that, even one with semi-dark stuff running through it.
While the last volume didn’t really satisfy me, a twentysomething adult, I’m sure little girls would eat it up. I did like the rest of the series a LOT, and I’m still shocked that Moyoco Anno could make such a fantastic magical girl series. Flowers and Bees may be more my thing, but Sugar Sugar Rune is still gold, and it’s hard for me to deny my love for a story about two little witch girls trying to become queen of the magical world by collecting boy’s hearts. There’s just something irresistible about it.
January 12, 2008
I was surprised to find out shortly after I received this volume that volume 8 will be the last. That’s a shame, because I’ve had a steady stream of Moyoco Anno for… six years now. Please! Don’t let it dry up! Someone license Sakuran, stat! Or Hataraki Man, which is more than one volume long, but Sakuran is by far one of the most gorgeous volumes of manga I’ve ever seen or read.
Bits and pieces of the past are revealed in this volume by Duke, who was transformed at the end of last volume. We find out that Cinnamon and Candy may have been up to something in the past, and perhaps their efforts are still worthwhile. Candy isn’t actually in charge of much in the magic world, because apparently there are older wizards who are running things. Or something.
The volume moves pretty fast, but one of the major plot points is that Woo and Pierre get into a fight and are both knocked unconscious. Because both Vanilla and Chocolat want to see them conscious again, the conclusion of the series begins as they descend into the Ogre World when they hear that Glacier, the King of Ogres, should be able to revive the two boys. So yeah, I do want to see how that turns out.
December 17, 2007
I’ve been doing a lot of catch-up this weekend, and this series is yet another I’ve got the newest volume of and have yet to read the previous one. With Sugar Sugar Rune, this is a real shame because I sincerely love Moyoco Anno.
I was happy to see a resolution to the Vanilla situation. Really, that happens, and the rest of the volume seems to just be a good time… though a lot of other stuff happens. The Vanilla situation resolution brings a new ability to Chocolat, which she uses for good, and we get an awesome new character on the very last page.
Another new character is introduced, the Witch of Light, who doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than quizmaster/teacher, much like the Witch of the Plains.
There is also a huge increase in ogre attacks, and it looks like things may be coming to a head as far as ogre discontent goes. There is only one incident where Chocolat has to help out her friends at school, but the magic used was pretty cute.
There’s enough characters bouncing around that I can’t recall who some of the side characters are, but it seems like there may be a couple new people scheming and trying to rock the boat. Let’s read volume 7 and see! There promises to be big things for Chocolat in that volume as well, so I am very excited. It’s really easy to get drawn into the cuteness and manic plot in this series.
March 5, 2007
And if reading all 14 volumes of W Juliet in 5 days wasn’t enough for you, I needed something to do at the laundromat tonight, so here’s the newest volume of Sugar Sugar Rune.
I don’t know how I feel about the development that’s going on between Chocolate and Pierre. I don’t really like Pierre, and it seems like his affection in this volume started really suddenly… there was no hint of it prior to this. Also… he wasn’t always an ogre? Is this a possibility? Huh?
This volume was really slow, for some reason. Not much happens save for Chocolate and Pierre getting lost, then Chocolate getting some training in the desert in the magical world. We gotta have exposition sometime I guess, but it didn’t really felt like it built anything but this sudden artificial possibility that Pierre isn’t a total jerk. Not even the training Chocolate recieved seemed like something that may be important down the road.
I think we’re mostly caught up with Japan now, which is unfortunate because now we’ll get the twice-a-year treatment that Holic gets, and I hate having one of my two volumes for the year being something with as little substance as this. With so much going on in this series, I really feel like a ton of stuff is going to happen VERY SOON, so I desperately hope big things go down next time to get the ball rolling.
December 24, 2006
Wow, apparently I forgot to write an entry for this one. I picked this up immediately after I read Sakuran by Anno. I love Anno deeply, and though I don’t have anything else to read by her in English, Sugar Sugar Rune is still quite good.
As pretty as all the stuff is, and as girly as this series is, this is surprisingly dark for a Nakayoshi title. The fact that Vanilla is still entirely incommunicado with Chocolate is silly, and I still don’t entirely agree with the day-night change in her character. Plenty of cool stuff happens between the two though, including a competiton to see who can take more hearts, a defense of one by the the other, and even a seasonal gift that puts Vanilla in a state of turmoil. I feel bad for the ogres, for Vanilla, and even for Pierre.
The conflict between the Ogres and Witches isn’t quite defined clearly enough for my taste, though perhaps it really is just a matter of them disliking each other deeply. The party was kind of an upsetting scene since it really was supposed to be a happy time, but I thought all the spells that were used were pretty cool.
The mystery character introduced at the party was not so cool, though. I mean, I know this series is for little girls, but PLEASE.
Anyway, also cool was the Ogre tactic of using spice to collect the dark crystals and also trying to sour the heart of the boy who had a crush on Chocolate. I was a bit sad by the outcome of that, actually.
I still really like Chocolate. She was a bit annoying at first, but she’s since turned into a really strong main character who seems to get everything done and takes her role very seriously. I’m very glad for this change, and I love the direction the series seems to be continuing with.
October 22, 2006
More CUTECUTECUTE from Moyoko Anno, except in addition to being cute, this volume took a turn for the decidedly dark, which kind of surprised me since not only was it spewing cute for every pore, it’s also a Nakayoshi series… which I guess can get kind of depressing sometimes, as can Ribon and any other girly magazine series.
So the series turns into a very light contest to be Queen Witch to this very serious struggle between Ogres and Witches, something the Ogres seem to be very bitter about and the Witches seem to be trying to make up for somehow, but can’t because the Ogres are just too bitter. I dunno how much sense that makes, but that was my interpretation.
Anyway, Vanilla’s a bit more of a pansy than I first took her for. I knew she was kind of a lightweight, but she’s also weak-minded, and her change of heart was even a bit unbelievable. I mean, who’s she going to believe, some dude who tells her a shocking lie, or her best friend and various people she knows well? I’m sad to see Chocolate so sad. I don’t even really like Chocolate that much either, but then again I don’t usually like Anno’s main characters that much, I just like what they do a lot, which is also the case here.
The trial that the two get for being far along in the Queen stuff is quite interesting, and I absolutely adored the outcome. Very cute stuff. I’m not sure how I felt about the two new bodyguards that Chocolate has, but they’re adorable little witch-boys and seem to like her, so they can stay. They do well for her.
I love the way that Chocolate’s magic is slowly upgrading too. She has to WORK to be able to do awesome things in the human world. I also like how the scales tip at the very end. It still was a sad wrap-up for the volume, but at least the scales tipped in a very positive direction.
Maybe I do love Chocolate, I dunno.
May 1, 2006
I don’t know… there’s a lot going on in this series, and the serious parts make me squirm (particularly when Chocolate and Vanilla start to fight, and THE ENDING), but I love the lighthearted feel, and there’s a part where Chocolate… er, goes off by herself for awhile that was absolutely amazing. I loved seeing that side of her and what made her a strong girl. I sort of wish this was aimed more at me than at little girls, because then the characters would be older and I wouldn’t feel so bad reading it. There’s a whole bunch more magic gizmos introduced as well as some more background of the magic world, and all that’s welcome stuff. I’m so sad I have to wait so long between volumes, because I absolutely adore the story here.
The art’s quite good too. I love Moyoko Anno, and it’s so hard to believe she drew this. While it is certainly distinctly her, it’s also quite ornate and fancy, much better than fucking Happy Mania and even the tail end of Flowers and Bees. I still have some trouble figuring out how to read some of her panels, but otherwise I adore her. More, please.