… on Kaito on Nene…
Story/Art: Sakura Tsukuba
Translation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
Adaptation: Nancy Thistlethwaite
What They Say
Spring is in full bloom, and the rein connecting Kurumi and Kaito has turned red. Kaito is in the midst of his mating season, and all human females are susceptible to his charms. Just as Kaito has been bewitched by her, Kurumi now finds herself bewitched by him!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Buried in the final author note in this final volume of Sweet Rein is a small comment from the author that makes it clear that the editor’s probably pulled the plug on the series at three volumes. It’s easy to see why, the author never really had a clear goal for the series. I imagine it was a one shot that did so well it was extended, but the story was always very one note and anything centering on a single holiday is going to have a short shelf life.
The three tales told in this volume range from being slightly creepy to cute to saccharine. The first chapter takes place in spring, and slides into slightly creepy territory when Kaito’s family informs Kurumi it’s reindeer mating season. Suddenly Kaito is attracting all sorts of unwanted attention, at least Kurumi is hoping it’s unwanted. Kaito is mostly at the mercy of his own biology and barely manages to not make a move on his santa before it all passes. This kind of kinky plot line only becomes truly odd when you put it in context with the rest of the chapters where characters often reference god’s will. Cultural misconstruction and all that…
The middle chapter has Kurumi helping out a kid during summer break, granting his wish to deliver a late Christmas gift to a girl he liked. It feels similar to the other chapters where Kurumi helped out kids in need. Once again, time never truly passes in this series, the characters are always stuck at seventeen. For once we don’t see Kaito pass out from the summer heat.
The final story introduces a new black reindeer who has been wandering earth for untold years because his santa died on him. A large chunk of it takes place during Halloween, which I had no idea was even celebrated at all in Japan. So we end up with a human reindeer dressed up like a vampire, which is all sorts of goofy. It’s a bittersweet story to close the series on, and a strange stopping point, but we do see a large number of the previously introduced characters during the chapter in passing. Kurumi and Kaito don’t really get any closure on their relationship, but I’m fine with that. It’s obvious that they’re a couple even if they don’t admit it to anyone else. They’ll keep on doing the santa and reindeer thing off screen.
Because Kaito and Kurumi’s story is cut short, the final fourth of the volume is a short story related to Tsukaba’s previous work Penguin Revolution. I never read that series back when CMX released it years ago, but if there are still english fans of it kicking around they should be pleased to get an extra chapter out of it in this book. As a stand alone short it’s mostly disposable, as I don’t have any attachment to these characters. Although I do find it odd the guy character in it has the same eyes as Tsukuba’s reindeers. Apparently the author finds it amusing too.
Sweet Rein comes to a close, perhaps sooner than the author wished it to, but with the story already treading the same ground it’s time to say goodbye. Those wishing for more closure to Kurumi and Kaito’s relationship might be disappointed, but it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out where it was headed. In this end the series makes for a bit of cute, weird, and affordable light holiday reading. There are plenty of ways this quirky little romance could have gotten uncomfortably strange, but it reins it in for the most part.
…What? Oh like you would’ve been able to resist making that pun…
Content Grade: B –
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: July 1st, 2014