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Sunshine Sketch Vol. #02 Manga Review

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Character development, however mild, helps raise this volume of Sunshine Sketch at least a little above expectation set by the first volume.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Ume Aoki
Translation/Adaptation: Satsuki Yamashita

What They Say
Yuno enrolls in the Yamabuki Art High School. Living apart from her parents for the first time, she starts her new life making new friends, enjoying her days and gradually working toward her dream of becoming an artist.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
How much can be said about Sunshine Sketch that hasn’t been said before?  It’s still cute, light, and best taken in small doses.  The lack of plot proves a problem, as the series continues to rest on little more than cute comedy, which will be hit-or-miss for many.  The different set-ups vary greatly in their effectiveness, as do the individual strips, and this is often determined by just how cultural the humor is.  The best example of this is one strip where Yuno reads a sign that should be “Masa no Yu” as “Yuno-sama.”  Her reaction is still rather priceless, but having to flip to the back and find the still annoyingly cramped translator’s notes in the back of the book takes much of the entertainment out of the first reading.  Others, like the sports festival scenario, feel as though they are a giant set-up for one semi-funny joke at the very end.  There is, thankfully, one collection of strips that I found to be far and away the best, which involves Yuno and Miyako making clay models of their shoes for a class.  From Yuno’s tiny feet to Miya’s creative use for hers after the class is over, this is one section easily worth another reading later on.

However, there are a few places in the second volume that take themselves a little more seriously.  Yuno has been placed in the role of the boring, normal personality surrounded by oddballs, and it’s a little surprising to see that she seems to be constantly aware of this.  When she struggles to come up with an art piece to submit to the school festival in the last two “sections,” the end result gives a sense of sweet togetherness and friendship.  Although this was a pleasantly surprising way to cap off the volume, the off-beat, sometimes inconsistent humor is still the main selling point of this series, and it shouldn’t be recommended to anyone who wasn‘t already sold.  In fact, it’s not hard to say that this volume isn’t as funny as the first, but the occasional moments of quiet introspection do help to soften the difference.

Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: C+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: November 18th, 2008
MSRP: $10.99

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