Sweetness & Lightning Volume 12
I don’t have a lot to say about Sweetness & Lightning volume 12, but I did want to mark the series conclusion with a few notes, particularly since it stayed consistently enjoyable until the end.
The last time I talked about the food manga series by Gido Amagakure was with volume 8, where we began seeing daughter Tsumugi growing up. The previous book to this one, volume 11, was where we got some drama around the child starting to make her own decisions, but this installment is primarily a victory lap, wrapping things up in a fashion suited to what went before.
There is a bit of drama at the start, as dad Inuzaka starts feeling ill and doesn’t want to eat. Since his relationship with Tsumugi, now in second grade, and their friend Kotori has revolved around cooking together and then eating their yummy creations, his inability makes Tsumugi nervous and upset. It doesn’t stop them giving him a birthday party, though, even if the food winds up being comfortable rice bowls.
Another positive step forward is the older Tsumugi now being better tasting more complex flavors, including spicy and bitter. We end with some heartwarming words about the joys of everybody working together to cook.
Additional stories fill out the book. In one, we flash back to before Tsumugi’s mother was gone, as her parents work out what to name her during the pregnancy. Another is set in the future, and instead of learning about food, the characters sample alcohol to mark their older ages. A third shows how Tsumugi said goodbye when Kotori went away for work experience. The final follows Tsumugi as she prepares to go off to college. It’s all as expected for this kind of series, giving the reader enough to envision happy endings.
The following paragraph has spoilers. If you don’t want to know, you won’t miss anything if you stop now.
I was glad to see the idea of a relationship between the dad and his former student, Kotori, wasn’t pursued. There were hints — enough that those who want to read into the story can — without it being firmly established. Instead, we mostly see her studying, or as the flash forwards continue, working in restaurants to suit what’s become her goal. That means whether or not a teacher winds up dating his student, once she’s old enough, doesn’t distract from the core appeal of the series. I liked that.