Sugar Sugar Rune, vol. 2

1188254.jpgThis volume was a bit more charming and dynamic than the last one, for sure.

This volume mostly starts off the same as the first. Chocolat still pretty much sucks at collecting hearts and is not wise about spending her money. Things don’t change too much, though Vanilla is starting to get angry with Chocolat.

One thing Chocolat uses her money on is a trinket that lets her read a page of her mother’s diary. Her mother doesn’t share a whole lot, but gives her key advice to “never forget your feelings of appreciation after you’ve taken a person’s heart.” It’s not much, but it’s clear Chocolat may be able to build lasting friendships by allowing herself to be a bit warmer to her classmates.

The threat of Pierre is very, very real to Chocolat, as giving her heart over doesn’t just mean losing the race to become queen; it means dying altogether. Chocolat doesn’t quite know why Pierre is so cruel and blackhearted, so she decides to race back to the magical world and meet with Vanilla’s mother, the current queen, to ask her those questions. In doing so, she reunites with a lot of her old friends from the magical world, who help her get to the queen’s castle. They chastise her for “letting” Vanilla take the lead, but Chocolat stands up for her friend, who clearly isn’t as weak-willed and shy as her friends believe.

When Chocolat does finally meet with the queen, she learns that Pierre is descended from a group of magical beings that are affiliated with ogres, who rival the witches in the magical world. The ogres are set to start a war in the magical world, which makes Pierre’s presence even more threatening to Chocolat.

This volume did a great deal to set Chocolat up as a character, which is a welcome development. I think the explanation given about ogres doesn’t go far enough – I didn’t understand why Pierre was threatening to Chocolat as it pertains to being descended from an ogre, just that he is threatening – but it adds some dimension to Chocolat’s strife with him, so I’ll accept it now in hopes that it will develop more over time. Vanilla is still tied to her tropes by contrast, but it’s nice to see that she cares for Chocolat, for all her shortcomings. There’s still something left to be desired by the story, but I do like where it’s going.

Sugar Sugar Rune was written and illustrated by Anno Moyoco. It was serialized in Kodansha’s Nakayoshi magazine from 2004 to 2007, and its chapters were later collected in eight bound volumes. Del Rey Manga released all eight volumes in North America from 2005 to 2008 before they ceased operations in 2010. This review is based on that edition, which is out-of-print. The North American rights were reacquired by Udon Entertainment in 2015, though their release of the series is still forthcoming as of 2018.

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