Little witch-girls Chocolat and Vanilla are best friends, but only one of them can be Queen of the Magic World. To determine who deserves the title, they must go to the Human World and enter a strange competition. Whoever attracts the most human boys . . . wins!
Here's how it works: When a boy falls for a witch-girl, she utters a few mystic words and the boy's heart will be hers in jewel-like form. It may sound simple, but winning hearts is tricky business. While Chocolat had no problem enticing witch-boys with her forthright personality, human boys seem to be drawn to shy and modest girls like Vanilla. And to make matters worse, Chocolat is finding herself increasingly drawn to the cool and mysterious Pierre-who feels nothing for her! The girls had planned to be best friends forever, but both of them want to be Queen. Will their rivalry ruin their friendship?
One of the rare mangas that actually hit the market in Croatia, Sugar Sugar Rune wasn't really my top choice for reading, although it was one of the few I could actually have in my hands while reading. But one day, by some circumstances, I actually got the first volume of it for free, and decided, 'Hell I could give it a try'. And it really isn't as bad as it may seem to be.
It begins with two little witches, Chocolat and Vanilla, who are competing for the place of a Queen of Magic World, yet they share a beautiful, deep bond as friends.
The story is not THAT original, it gets rather complicated as the progress is made, new friendships bloom, and old friendships are on verge of shattering. The relationships are sometimes a tad confusing, but all together, there aren't any plot holes making you say a big loud 'What the F---".
As you get close to the ending it get almost dramatic, even tragic, and the ending itself is so interesting, the manga is worth reading just because of it.
It shows rather well how two friends can change the way they act because of a greater force.
It was the first thing that turned me down in first try. To be honest, I've never seen such a weird way of drawing shoujo. Yet with time, you'll either start liking the style, or you'll keep wondering what is wrong with their eyes, mouth, expressions, scenery, etc.
But the way the panels were scattered around was just painful. Sometimes, I was forced to read the same page twice because I actually didn't know which of 10 panels come first, since they were all across each other. Sometimes you may even miss parts of text, and notices it only when you read the next page, if it accidentally get in your sight.
The development of character was one of the things I praise. Chocolat seem to become more mature as the story goes on, confronting others as well as herself about feeling and the way things are. Vanilla, as a fragile, shy girl, is filling out her role perfectly, easily succumbing to anyone who stands against her or confronts her.
There is also a somewhat comical character, Rockin Lovin' whose sole name is saying enough about how comical he can be. (whoever is called Rockin?)
The way they were designed was so every character could practically be read just by looking at him. You could already know if they were like this or like that. In short, not many secrets hide behind characters looks.
When I started reading it, at first it wasn't very eye catching, or heart capturing, and it takes a while for a real story to start unfolding. It was a tad monotonic, to be honest. But it was worth it, as I said, the ending is really worth reaching. If only the way to reach it was of a bigger quality.
I was happy that I haven't wasted my time reading this manga. It's not much a of a read for many people, since it is a very obvious shoujo, filled with cuteness. The fans of stuff like Shugo Chara and Cardcaptor Sakura will most likely love it.
As one of the first manga I’ve ever read, Sugar Sugar Rune has always been a huge subject of nostalgia for me. However, it’s much more than pure nostalgia that makes me love this manga as much, even after years have passed since I’ve read it for the first time.
The story of Sugar² Rune seems to be very simple. Two witches come to the Human World to find out who is going to become the next queen of the Magic World. To do that, the best friends Vanilla and Chocolat need to collect the hearts of human boys and the one who collects
the hearts of the highest overall value will win the competition.
So far the story sounds like a common, fluffy shojo, and in the beginning that is exactly what it is. It is cute and at times it is humorous, but nothing really special.
This changes, however, as the manga developes. Even though it still keeps it’s cute and girly touch (I mean come on, the characters are all named after candy!) it turnes out to be much darker than one would expect in the beginning. I don’t want to go into the why, as I don’t want to spoil anything, but the further you get into the story, the more interesting it gets.
Of course, it is still a bit fluffy, kind of childish story, but it definitely turnes more mature.
The story is also very well thought through, mostly everything makes sense and is understandable. You won’t be left with questions about what has happend once you’re done reading.
As the story matures, the characters change as well. My favorite example for this is the scene where Chocolat states that she, who has always been much more self-confident and outgoing compared to the shy Vanilla, might be much more of a crybaby than her friend after all.
Then again, neither of the characters really surprises you that much. Most of them turn out to be just what you would expect from the way they look. You also have the usual characters in there, like a strong, self-confient girl, a shy one, the usual, good looking and mysterious boy and a comic relief character. For me, only one character turned out extremly different from what I expected. I still ended up liking a lot of the characters, especially the boys, Chocolat and a dog who I think is extremly awesome.
There was one thing that really bothered me though. I would consider most of the characters to be very young. For the age I’d guess them to be, I believe they are focused way too much on the way they look, boys and such things. It might be a personal opinion to find that annoying, but I honestly believe that girls weren’t THAT bad when I was around that age.
Now to the thing that might really turn people off the manga at first: the art. I have to admit, when I first read Sugar Sugar Rune I didn’t like the art style AT ALL. But as you read on, you really start to see something appealing in it. It is kind of unique and some of the scenes are extremly lovely drawn. Then again, the way the faces are drawn (especially the lips) often looks weird and I don’t think you’ll get used to it even after reading the manga several times. I know I didn’t. I believe that the style really fits Chocolat’s personality though (that may not make sense to you, but I really like how the art expresses the main character of the story). The clothers (especially Chocolat’s) are creative and I find myself in love with a lot of them and the backgrounds are pretty and detailed as well.
Where the drawing is still a matter of taste, I can in fact say that the panels are just horrible. I got so confused at times and really had no idea where to continue reading next. I don’t know if that goes only for the translation (I’ve read the german version) but I honestly doubt it.
Despite it’s flaws, Sugar Sugar Rune is a manga I absolutly enjoyed reading and still enjoy reading over & over. I love the twist of mood, I love the characters and I really love that this manga is so different to a lot of other stuff I’ve read, but also without standing out –too- much.
I would say that if you enjoy stories with a dark touch but don’t mind romance and fluff, you will enjoy Sugar Sugar Rune. However, you shouldn’t be too picky as it absolutly has it’s flaws and you totally get the feeling that it’s meant for younger people (Like I said: characters named after candy!). But I’d give it a chance in any case because it usually gets judged solely by the drawings and the fact that it looks like a common magical girl manga at first.
My overall rating is 8 out of 10. I would give it a 9, simply because of the nostalgia, but I’m supposed to give a non-biased ranking so I’ll stick with the 8.
I liked the premise. The day-to-day collecting hearts stories were so adorable. Puppy love in its purest form makes me smile. The love or hearts collected weren't solely romantic either. I thought it was great that they collected friendship and other forms of love. However, I did not care for the shy character turns evil arc at all. I found it unneeded and waited patiently for it to finish. I usually like that trope but just not here.
As far as plot twists go, Sugar Rune kept things interesting. I frantically turned pages when Vanilla and Chocolat's backstories and births were revealed. I still want to
know who is Vanilla's dad. Pierre's background is only briefly referenced in the manga from what I can see. I would have loved to know about his family and the life before being a prince.
The time skips were a bit much. Time spent in the magic world goes by fast!
My favorite is Chocolat, and it's rare for me to like the main character that much. Chocolat's independent, opinionated personality was a breath of fresh air. She was blunt but never meant to hurt someone. She was smart and could see through an evil prince's scheme a mile away. Still, she had her childish charm even after maturing from previous rashness.
Vanilla was nice. I am glad she evolved from being whiny (...so, so whiny) to someone who could stand up for herself (and keep compassion in her heart for others). At one point, Vanilla had to explain to Chocolat that she couldn't be outgoing and aggressive like her. She had to be herself foremost.
I liked ALL the school kids and Chocolat's uncle as well!
My least liked were the ogres. BOO!
I don't have that much to say about it. Pierre and Chocolat's love took a nice time to develop. I liked Chocolat with all of the boys and a relationship with either of them would turn out happy. I am glad that story never became truly harem-y.
But...Why did they even have to play with Chocolat being related to one of her lovers? I was like NOOOOOOOO!
SN: Woo rebounded so quick! Talk about instant love!
I liked the art style of Sugar Rune a lot! The school kids have cute and unique designs. I love the way Momoko draws men. My favorite aspect of Sugar Rune's art was the hair though. Each strand of Pierre, Vanilla, and Chocolat's hair looked like it was made with meticulous effort. I also like the way Pierre's hair was parted. Another thing is Vanilla had uncommon hair. Never have I seen a shoujo girl with that cut.
I am usually apathetic to overly large shoujo eyes, but I found the eyes here matched the characters.
This was an enjoyable read, which is why I rated it so highly. I spent three days happily immersed in the sugary-sweet story.
I hope the answers I have left can be answered by the anime. The few things that stopped me from giving this manga a 10 was the dark arc, the unneeded character death(s), and the lackluster ending. I really wanted to see magical babies ha!
One of the things that Moyoco Anno utilizes extremely well is her sublime sense of space. I think this applies to everyone within the Kyoko Okazaki tradition, although I’ve only really seen a few others. Their panels are ridiculously packed with every kind of decoration, tons and tons of side-jokes, and provide non-stop stimulation to the senses while creating this incredible visual tension by transitioning from fragmented frames to large spreads. I bet anybody aiming to get into the industry or make their own work could learn a ton simply by analyzing the frame-structure of those like Anno and George Asakura.
The result of such a
tightly packed frame is that in a mere 8 volumes, I’ve felt like I’ve been through every single kind of fantasy world possible. The story goes from a school setting, to haunted mansions, to city streets, to twisted landscapes, to beaches, to deserts, all culminating in a majestic finale that ties everything together.
The plot itself is like the art of those Golden Age Illustrators like Kay Nielsen, and other fairy tales, mixed together and turned into pure crack. People fall in love and experience heartbreak at mach speed, fight magical NTR battles, and do a whole lot of general fucking around while ruminating about the mysteries of the world and what romance entails. Since, in the world of Sugar Sugar Rune, the heart itself becomes an actual device for manipulation – you have a lot of battles and scenarios that also double as multi-layered metaphors about stuff like depression, abusive relationships etc… etc.. Furthermore all this fits into Anno’s writing power, since she’s done all sorts of genres including josei stuff like In Clothes Called Fat and seinen stuff like Hataraki Man before.
Also important is the fact that Moyoco Anno actually knows how to draw fashion, and has tons of fun creating all sorts of gothic-chic outfits and fairytale designs for the whole host of magic land inhabitants. This all fits in her drawing style – and the movement and anatomy of all the characters are so lucidly sketched out that they’re able to express almost every kind of expression in the most melodramatic flair possible. Shit, these are what magical girls should actually look like in the 21st century.
There’s a reason why the other big name Anno, Hideaki Anno, considered his wife to be better than him. Moyoco Anno is simply one of the most versatile creators in the industry, while Hideaki had to become disillusioned and leave us with only Eva and KareKano to have mere hints of what he could have achieved. And Hataraki Man, although less memorable artistically and expressionistically, is simply a hundred times more mature than Eva at teaching people how to actually deal with your life.