What I Just Read: "Sweet Rain" by Sakura Tsukuba
I could have sworn I read this. I’ve even translated a couple of chapters, yet I don’t remember any of these stories. Hmm… that’s not a good sign. Ugh… not the magical boy who loves his master on sight unconditionally for no good reason thing again…
Artwork — B: I’ve read too much Sakura Tsukuba, so all the artwork looks very familiar. All of her male main characters have the same face. The sameness is boring, but I do like the fluidity of the lines and the pages aren’t overwhelmed with screentones and sparkles.
Presentation — C: There are a ridiculous number of ads at the end of the book. Setting that aside, the translation reads smoothly, though I did catch a couple of typos. Most of the sounds effects are complete gibberish (VUP, VUM, VHM, PWOFF… and so on…), which drove me nuts. I longed for the Japanese sound effects so I wouldn’t have to look at this nonsense. I really would have loved some color pages, because as you can see by the cover, Tsukuba’s color artwork is gorgeous. Also, I hate the title localization. It makes it sound like some bad bondage story.
Story — C: This series started as infrequent oneshots in Lala DX. If I remember correctly, it became a regular series that ran in Lala DX at or after chapter 3. This is evident in the first two chapters. The magical boy who unconditionally loves his master trope is getting old for me. Along with that, the characters are quite bland. Kurumi is a good girl who’s lonely and that’s it. Kaito is happy and hyper and that’s it (he is the personification of a dog.). When I first read this 6 or 7 years ago, it was fresher to me because I hadn’t read that much manga yet, but since I don’t remember much about the story, it must have not left a strong impression on me the first time. Rereading it, I understand why it didn’t stick. There are no surprises in this story. The beginnings of a story start in chapter 3, and it seems to simply be an exploration of whether Kaito actually loves Kurumi of his own freewill or is his love hard-coded because of the master and servant relationship they have. It’s not like we don’t know the answer to the question, which makes the question pointless. This manga is pure sugar, which is fine if that’s what you want. But for me, all sugary good and no evil is very boring.
The oneshot at the end, “Sweet Bite Mark”, is more interesting than the series, but the ending is disgusting. I don’t know why it had to go there other than for shock value. Yuck…
Overall — C: This is another thoroughly mediocre manga series, but I think it would be an excellent starter series to introduce shoujo to new manga readers. I also think if you like troupy cotton-candy-fluff shoujo, you’ll love this. If you’ve read too much shoujo like I have, you may want to skip this. I feel this stands no where near Tsukuba’s other series “Land of the Blindfolded” and “Penguin Revolution”. (Honestly, it’s like night and day.)