Manga Review: Sweetness & Lightning Vol. #02

Dads rarely play a large role in shojo manga. In fact, fathers are often completely absent from the cast. However, Kodansha’s food-centric Sweetness & Lightning has a single dad as its lead. Read on for the review of Volume 2! (For the review of Volume 1, click here).

The Review

This series is set up such that the characters gain new skills and tackle progressively more complex dishes as the story progresses. However, because one character is a preschooler, there is the added element of appealing to a youngster’s palate. As such, Chapter 6 deals with an apparently universal dilemma: getting a child to eat vegetables. Western readers will easily relate to Tsumugi’s dislike of peppers and Kohei’s ploys to coax her into eating the dreaded veggies. Then, after that massive effort to get Tsumugi to eat healthier, Amagakure-sensei follows up with a story about making donuts.

When the focus isn’t on food, kiddie humor and antics predominate as most secondary characters are from Tsumugi’s world, either fellow preschoolers or their parents. However, Kotori’s friend and neighbor Shinobu, who was introduced in Volume 1, gets more appearances in this volume, and having Shinobu’s company on weekend outings makes Kotori seem more like a regular high school student and less a friendless lone wolf. Volume 2 also brings Kohei’s old schoolmate Yagi into the story, although he’s portrayed mainly as Tsumugi’s emergency babysitter. But in addition to serving as peers for Kotori and Kohei to open up to, Shinobu and Yagi also bring kitchen expertise, giving our newbie cooks much needed guidance in Chapter 9′s gyoza party. (Although Kotori’s mom has been providing recipes all along, she’s yet to teach them in person.)

With more people aware of their “dinner dates,” Kotori becomes increasingly self conscious about her possible crush on Kohei. However, that attraction remains firmly one-sided with Kohei’s focus fixed on being a good parent to his daughter. Perhaps feelings between teacher and student will eventually result in some drama, but for now, it’s all about working together–Shinobu and Yagi included–to keep Tsumugi well fed and happy.

Extras include recipes with conversion notes, a three-page mini-manga, creator’s afterword, and translation notes.

In Summary

Five new chapters and five new recipes! We also get more characters to help cook with Kotori’s friend Shinobu and Kohei’s buddy Yagi joining them in the kitchen. However, Tsumugi’s needs are what dictates the menu items and dominates the story arcs.

First published at The Fandom Post.

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