Sugar Sugar Rune Volume One is rated “Y Ages 10+.” After reading the first volume of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Sugar Sugar Rune Volume One
Written by: Moyoco Anno
Publisher: Kodansha
English Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: September 27, 2005

The main characters of Sugar Sugar Rune are a couple of 10-year-old witches named Chocolat Meilleure and Vanilla Mieux. They are best friends who are competing to become Queen of the Magic World. The girls are sent to the Human World, where the winner will be determined by which one can attract the most human boys. When a boy falls for a witch girl, she utters a spell and takes the boy’s heart in a jewel-like form. However, the color of the jewel is determined by what emotion the boy is feeling when the heart is taken, and the color of the jewel determines how much it is worth in terms of the currency used in the Magic World. Luckily, humans have more than one heart that the witches can turn into jewels, so this practice will not kill a human.

The competition is awkward enough due to the fact that Chocolat and Vanilla are friends, but it turns out that Vanilla’s mother (the current Queen of the Magic World) and Chocolat’s mother competed against each other for the title. The two girls are also as different as night and day: Vanilla is sweet and shy, while Chocolat is loud and obnoxious.

A very important rule in the Magic World is that a witch cannot fall in love with a human. If a witch falls in love with a human and her heart turns ruby red, she must offer her heart. Unfortunately, since witches only have one heart, a witch will die if she has to offer her heart. During this volume, Chocolat finds herself starting to fall for an aloof older boy named Pierre, and this attraction begins to distract her from the competition.

Sugar Sugar Rune is definitely a shojo style manga being aimed at girls who are pre-teens and in their early teens. Art-wise, this series contains many of the tropes associated with shojo manga. The tropes I noticed in this volume included “beautiful boy” characters, backgrounds that utilize pictures like flowers, stars, and bubbles, and a lot of blushing characters.

Another thing I noticed while reading this manga is the fact that only a few characters consistently have noses. There are a number of characters where the nose inexplicably seems to come and go. As a reader, this really got on my nerves after a while. I have to say that overall, I personally wasn’t very impressed with Anno’s art style.

When it comes to the story, I discovered very quickly that I’m definitely not in the target market for this series. I found myself not getting very emotionally invested in these characters’ lives or anything relating to any character development that takes place over the course of this volume. However, I think that pre-teen and teenage girls who enjoy stories that combine magic and romance may find some enjoyment in Sugar Sugar Rune.