by Sakura Tsukuba; adapted by Nancy Thistlethwaite
published by Viz; $9.99 US
I explained the premise — Kurumi finds out she’s fated to be a Santa, accompanied by a boy who can change into a reindeer — in my review of the first book, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see that the second book continues the holiday-themed approach to stories.
Reading this in the spring may be odd, but here, at least, there’s still plenty of snow on the ground, enjoy to enjoy the reminders of the holiday. Kurumi is settling into her role, with her second Christmas involving her reinforcing its magic for a group of orphans.
Another story features Kaito’s older brother Rihito resenting his fate because he doesn’t want to be ordered around. However, we know that when he finds his Santa, they’ll eventually accept the responsibility to make the holiday happy for others. It helps that Kurumi actually knows the new Santa and helps him out. The new pair’s relationship is funny, as they don’t want to be in it but are beginning to get used to each other. They provide some nice comedy relief.
Also typical of the series is how it jumps seasons, with a story set on a yacht in summer and at a hot springs. Yet another Santa, calling himself a Dark Santa, wants to test the relationship between Kurumi and her partner Kaito, so he separates them with a challenge. He claims that he’s “freeing” the reindeer from taking orders, but it’s really a matter of jealousy. It’s also a very typically manga situation, an artificial test to demonstrate the feelings of the characters for each other.
The last story returns to the beach. (As the author writes in one of her notes, “It’s fun to draw naked bodies!! So much fun!!” She also shares character backstory in her comments.) They end up having a beach volleyball tournament with some of the new characters. Although the stories are predictable, this is as enjoyable as the first book for those who like the concept and characters.
Also included is an unrelated short story, “The Door to Eden”, about cross-dressing at boarding school. Sweet Rein Book 2 is due out April 2. It can be ordered from your local comic shop with Diamond code FEB14 1524.(The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)