Sugar Sugar Rune, vol. 4

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More Sugar Sugar Rune is always fun! True to its name, it can be saccharine, with some hints of spice here and there.

This volume opens during Walpurgis Night, the night of a grand ball for the magical world. Chocolat and her bodyguards are in attendance, and we later find that Pierre, Vanilla, and the ogres are, as well. Pierre announces his intent to reclaim the magical world, but a mysterious figure casts a spell to neutralize the collective hostility on display. Chocolat is convinced she’s met this woman before, but alas, we don’t get to see much else from here.

Her spell proves ineffective, so now the witches and wizards must battle the ogres in the midst of Walpurgis Night. The battle proves chaotic, but the ogres lose yet another battle. Chocolat feels for Pierre’s defeat and attempts to comfort him.. but it then occurs to her that by showing affection, she may be falling deeper in love, and so she recoils.

The rest of the book follows Chocolat and Vanilla on their heart-gathering escapades. Chocolat doesn’t see too much growth here, as she’s doing as well as she has been. There are some well-done scenes here that highlight Chocolat’s gradual maturing, where she keeps calm in dangerous situations. In an attempt to collect a heart from a boy, it turns into a noir before her eyes, leaving her in real danger. Soul and Woo freak out, but Chocolat chides them for letting their feelings get in the way of duty. It’s sort of a silly situation for a grade schooler to be in, but it’s enlightening nonetheless.

Vanilla’s got some more screen time in this volume. She’s struggling with collecting noir, too. She’s seemingly loyal to Pierre, but she also goes through a lot of motions with her place in the story. Chocolat gives her some strawberries, and she later comments that there’s a burning sensation in her heart. It’s helpful to see that Vanilla is still feeling like her old self, and heartbreaking in its way that she and Chocolat are apart.

Fate brings them back together when Vanilla invites her classmates to a beach. Chocolat takes her up on the offer to try and get close to a new classmate, but disaster strikes when Vanilla starts to feel faint in the water. The volume ends on a cliffhanger here.

Compared to the builds of the last volume, this one was pretty mellow. Still, though it’s less overt, there are moments of character growth in these chapters. Chocolat is still pretty spunky, but now is more thoughtful and careful with her words. Meanwhile, Vanilla is breaking out of her trope mold, and we’re starting to see more of the real her. It’s much appreciated. I’m definitely excited to see where the series will go from here.

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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