A Look @: Sweet Rein, vol. 1


Santa Claus is a cute girl and she's coming to town

Last week saw the release of the first volume of Sweet Rein, a Christmas-themed love story published by VIZ Media. It's a translation of Sakura Tsukuba's Yoroshiku Master, which is finished, and mercifully short (three volumes). Indeed, it's short enough that I decided that for the first time since Kimi ni Todoke I'd be giving one of these cutesy romance-type stories another shot.

Sweet Rein follows the story of Kurumi, a 17-year-old girl who was down in the dumps because she expected to spend Christmas all by her lonesome, when she suddenly encounters the lovable Kaito on the street. He bumps into her and a magical rein appears to bind them together, and thus begins a master and servant relationship in which she is a Santa and he a magical reindeer who can (and will) do anything she commands, including turning into a straight-up reindeer.

Sweet Rein, vol. 1
Creator: Sakura Tsukuba
Translator: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release date: November 5, 2013
MSRP: US$9.99 Print/US$6.99 eBook [BUY]

My original assessment of this manga before giving it a read was that it's just your typical cutesy shoujo with a holiday spin. I was correct in that - this book has all of the elements that we've come to know and love (or in my case, hate) about the genre: the lovers meet, and one falls heads over heels, while the other is constantly filled with doubt. Some other hot person comes out of nowhere. The relationship is "doomed," and right, one of them hasn't ever had their first kiss. The works - Tsukuba really pulls all the stops, here.

What makes this comic different is that it's clearly done more for the fun than anything else. Yeah, the story itself is kind of generic, but the creator got much joy out of drawing the adorable costumes for Kurumi (she is a Santa after all) and making nice, vibrant panels. It's just too bad the final product isn't full color, because it was clearly intended to be a bright and colorful work.

Since Sweet Rein isn't this long, drawn-out dramedy designed to wrench your heart into tatters by the time it's over, the pacing is refreshingly brisk and the tone is light. There were a few panels that earned some out-loud chuckles from me, too. Despite its adherence to tropes we've seen before, I still found it a fun read. Just don't try to make too much sense out of the way the world works in this story, and take it all for what it is at the moment it's presented to you.

After the Santa stuff is over, there's a second story called Sweet Bite Mark added to the back. It introduces a vampire called Ren who suddenly has a little girl claiming to be his daughter thrust upon him. It's another cute thing that isn't too far removed from things we've seen before, but again, it was more of a, "I wanted to write a vampire story!" deal from the author than anything else.

If you're into the genre, this is a fun book to pick up. Since it isn't that long, I'll probably keep on reading as VIZ publishes it, so keep your eye on Japanator for more.

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Sweet Rein reviewed by Kristina Pino


Kristina Pino
Kristina PinoContributor   gamer profile

Kristina is a freelance photographer and writer from Miami now moved to Japan. She's a hardcore nerd culture enthusiast, Disney fan, sunflower admirer, and book slinger. Tweet her @geekerydo. F... more + disclosures



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    Filed under... #manga #reviews #shoujo #top stories #Viz Media



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