by Atsushi Suzumi; adapted by Elina Ishikawa
published by Del Rey Manga; $10.99 US
Don’t get too excited over the sassy pigtailed girl on the cover brandishing a whip and short shorts — she’s a powerful rain goddess who still somehow needs saving a lot.
Amefurashi watches over a desert town. The people give her what she asks for — mostly dolls — and in return, she makes it rain. Teen boy Gimmy, skilled with crafts, is asked to make a doll, but when he doesn’t finish it in time, his adorable twin siblings wind up in Sora’s custody instead. (Sora means “sky”, which is apparently an acceptable nickname for Amefurashi, “the one who rains”. This is the total extent of the translation notes in the back of the book, although there are some character sketches to make up for it.)
While working through these plot mechanics, where most everything is seen coming, I kept thinking I should put this aside and find something more interesting to write about. Key questions are glossed over to keep the story moving, and it’s a bit creaky and reminiscent of other things. (For example, the scene where Gimmy climbs a giant tree to confront the goddess made me think of Jack and the Beanstalk.)
It takes two chapters (80 pages) for the characters to stop recapping things and get going. That’s when Sora comes to the village and acts like a total brat out of ignorance. Events escalate more quickly from there, with a kidnapping, an illness, a battle with a giant bug, and competition with another goddess.
The characters are completely predictable: Sora winds up indebted to Gimmy in spite of herself. Although shy and smart, he’s brave when he needs to be. The twin kids are teeth-paining cute. Gimmy rescues Sora when she’s (frequently) powerless even though she’s a goddess. It’s mechanically constructed to be crowd-pleasing but still has a certain charm due to the competence of the craft. I suspect I won’t remember reading it in a week’s time, though.
Atsushi Suzumi previously created Haridama: Magic Cram School, another light fantasy/comedy series.
(A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)