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Manga / Sugar Sugar Rune

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Sugar Sugar Rune is a Magical Girl series. Originally a manga by Moyoco Anno which was serialized in Nakayoshi from 2004 to 2007, it was adapted into a 51-episode anime in 2005.

Chocolat and Vanilla are two young witches from the Magical World, the best of friends despite being polar opposites. They're both chosen as candidates to become the Magical World's future queen. But in order to prove themselves, they must venture into the Human World and collect "hearts" - extracted human emotions representing how a person feels towards you. Whoever captures the most shall become queen.

They're aided by their mentor, the witch pop-idol Rockin' Robin; their familiars, Chocolat's lazy frog Duke and Vanilla's stuck-up mouse Blanca; and later, their friends from the Magical World, Houx and Saule, who transfer to their school in order to protect them.

But competing for hearts isn't all they have to deal with. Something evil is drawing near the Queen Candidates- the mysterious middle school boy Pierre, prince of the Ogres who wants the Noir hearts for himself and has taken an interest in Chocolat. It is thus up to the girls to stop his Evil Plan- but Chocolat finds herself interested in him as well.

Sugar Sugar Rune provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The middle school's student council is powerful enough to meddle in the elementary school's student council election, at least.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Not surprisingly, the Watcher of the Mountain turns out to be the unicorn Chocolat and Vanilla are seeking in the last arc of the anime.
  • Amazon Chaser: In the magical world, Chocolat's popular with the boys because she's tough and tomboyish. Then she gets to the human world and discovers to her frustration that No Guy Wants an Amazon there.
  • Anime Hair: Chocolat sports some impressively weird hairstyles over the course of the series.
  • Artistic Age: Chocolat and Vanilla look passable as ten-year-olds, but most junior high characters look like they're in the twenties.
  • Beach Episode: Three, actually. Episode 8, where Pierre invites Chocolat and Vanilla to his beach-side villa; Episode 36, where Chocolat's grandfather invites them to another beach resort for a vacation; and Episode 42, where Noir!Vanilla magically creates a beach.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After more than 20 episodes of practically being useless, Duke saves Chocolat from Pierre in Episode 28.
  • But Not Too Foreign: A girl in Chocolat and Vanilla's class is named Nanako Walsh.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: This series title is from the incantation used to capture hearts, "Sugar, Sugar, Rune!" Different characters can add different things to it. For example, Chocolat says, "Sugar, Sugar, Rune! Choco Rune!"
  • Cerebus Syndrome: By the time you get to the late 30s and early 40s episodes, you may find yourself forgetting about the cute and playful "witches chant spells to collect hearts" mood of early episodes. On the other hand, the manga starts getting dark at the start of Volume 3.
  • Chick Magnet: Robin 24/7. Also Captain Glacier, during his visit to the Human World - he collected enough hearts to make Robin jealous.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The colors of the various hearts that witches can collect all roughly match the emotion they represent.
    • Yellow - Surprise
    • Orange - Crush/Infatuation
    • Green - Friendship
    • Rainbow - Amusement, pleasure, delight
    • Pink - Sweet Love
    • Purple - Lust/Forbidden Love
    • Blue - Respect
    • Red - Passionate Love
    • Black - Hatred/Jealousy. Noir hearts (as they're called) are harmful to collect unless you're an Ogre.
    • White - a purified noir heart known as the Heart of Innocence.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Akira is convinced that Chocolat and Vanilla are aliens, and no amount of irritated denials on Chocolat's part can dissuade him from this belief.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Noir power is strong stuff, but it corrupts the user's heart, makes them miserable, and turns them to The Dark Side.
  • Dark Is Evil: Noir hearts are the only kind of heart that has a negative effect. They cause harm to witches and wizards, and they're the primary power source for the ogres.
  • Dirty Old Man: Chocolat's grandfather, although the age demographic of the series puts a limit on his shenanigans.
  • Disappeared Dad: Neither Chocolat nor Vanilla's fathers are even mentioned in the anime, although the identity of Chocolat's father is revealed in the manga.
  • Disguised in Drag: In Volume 5, Chocolat and Pierre swap outfits, although rather than being for a disguise, it's because Chocolat's dress has magical properties that Pierre needs to use.
  • Dragged into Drag: Actually Pierre was the one who suggested it, but once he gets the dress on, Chocolat gets very enthusiastic about magicking him an appropriately girly hairdo.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Chocolat and Vanilla, and their mothers, Cinnamon and Candy. Chocolat's friends in the magical world also have edible names like Ananas (Pineapple) and Citron (Lemon). The anime continued this with Waffle.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Vanilla wears a slinky dark purple dress when she becomes the Ogre Queen. She also starts favoring a black feather boa.
  • Familiar: Vanilla has Blanca, a mouse, and Chocolat has Duke, a frog. They're supposed to advise the girls on how to capture hearts, but Duke's usually either unmotivated or incompetent.
  • Fetch Quest: Ombre sends Chocolat on these.
  • Fiery Redhead: Chocolat, who's "scary" and threatens to kick people's butts on a daily basis.
  • Filler: The anime has a lot of this, probably because the manga wasn't very far along when it began. To give you an idea, the events in Episode 39 (of 51) of the anime take place in Volume 3 (of 8) of the manga. Entire characters such as Waffle and Nana were introduced just to take up time. The fact that any Waffle-centric episode is guaranteed to be filler is one reason why fans don't like her too much.
  • Flat Character: Nearly all of Chocolat and Vanilla's human classmates. Only a handful get anything even remotely resembling a personality or plot importance.
  • Forced Transformation:
    • Chocolat's mother, Cinnamon, who finds herself trapped in the form of a cat.
    • Duke and Blanca reveal that most familiars are actually witches who did something illegal, usually falling in love with a human, and serving as a familiar is their punishment. This is the case with Blanca. Duke, however, turned himself into one by mistake when he was evading capture for helping Cinnamon escape. He thought he just turned himself into a normal frog, which would have been temporary or easily reversible. He didn't.
  • Gecko Ending: Bizarrely executed. The first 5 minutes of Episode 49 bear some relation to the manga, but the rest of that episode and the last two comprise anime-original material, with the biggest change being that in the manga, Vanilla becomes queen, but in the anime, Chocolat does.
  • Generation Xerox: Chocolat and her mother both fell in love with cold, stoic, broody ogre guys. Chocolat's dad and Pierre even look similar.
  • Gratuitous French: Most magic spells, magical objects, and people from the magical world have French names.
  • Harmless Freezing: Then again, it's magical freezing, so the laws of physics need not apply.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Chocolat does this quite a lot. Most notably, when she and Pierre become trapped in a cave with a giant spider that can take things out of existence, she decides ignoring Pierre's plan and winging it is a good idea.
  • Lethal Chef: Waffle. Chocolat too, although we never see any evidence of it.
  • Level Ate: The Magical World is of the Type B variety. It's not completely made of food, though some objects like clouds are. The people, like Chocolat, Vanilla, and Queen Candy, are named after food and some places also have food names.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Chocolat's father is Glacé, leader of the ogres.
  • Luminescent Blush: Pierre of all people gets one when Chocolat says he looks cute in a skirt.
  • Mage Species: Witches look like ordinary humans, but are almost a seperate species entirely. They have pointed ears (which no one ever seems to notice), tiny fangs, and their magic is a genetic trait.
  • Magic Wand: Chocolat and Vanilla both use these to cast magic. In the manga they have to buy their wands and spells with the hearts they've earned, but in the anime they're given them before leaving for the Human World.
  • Magical Girl: The series tells the story of Chocolat and Vanilla, two young witches from the Magical World who are the best of friends despite being polar opposites.
  • Magical Girl Queenliness Test: Why Chocolat and Vanilla are sent to the Human World to capture hearts.
  • Missing Mom: Chocolat's mother, Cinnamon, died when Chocolat was little. That's what everyone thinks anyway. In actuality she's been turned into a cat.
  • Most Writers Are Adults:
    • Ten-year-olds dating and having boyfriends/girlfriends is treated as the norm, to the point that it's all they seem to think about. Granted, some kids discover the opposite gender at that age, but still.
    • At one point, Akira's kindergartener cousin falls in love with Chocola, and even develops a red heart (passionate love) for her.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Waffle's Nana's magic has random success rates most of the time, but not when it comes to protecting Waffle.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: The earlier chapters of the manga were rather insistent with this. Conversely, in the magical world, it seems that all guys want an Amazon.
  • Offscreen Romance: In the final chapter of the manga, it is shown that Houx is in a relationship with Vanilla despite the previous chapters establishing that he has a crush on Chocolat, to the point that he actually challenged Pierre into a duel for her sake.
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catch-Phrase: "If you don't watch, I'll whup your butt!" ~or some variation of it. Particularly when Chocolat's grandfather visits: "If I'm not careful, I might get my butt whupped!" or "This time, it's your butt on the whupping block, Gramps!"
  • Our Witches Are Different: Witches can be both male and female, and come from the 'magical world', and they use the emotions of humans as a power source and a currency. Love between witches and humans is taboo, and while humans can produce an infinite number of hearts, a witch only has one heart, so if she falls in love with someone and that person takes her heart, she'll die. The witch world also has a markedly different culture from the human world.
  • Plot Coupon: The hearts that Chocolat and Vanilla collect from humans. However, the act of collecting them has some bearing on the plot and character interactions. Taking someone's heart means they lose the emotions associated with the heart's color. At one point, Chocolat even decides not to take a heart because of this effect.
  • Portmantitle: S2R or Sugar2 Rune. In the anime, "S2R" is engraved on Chocolat's pendant, the fortune telling book, and even the sign on the factory where hearts are converted into energy.
  • Precocious Crush: Akira's four-year-old cousin gets a crush on Chocolat and ends up providing her with a rare red heart.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Robin is 6000 years old.
    • Ombre is the oldest witch around, but looks to be about Chocolat's age.
  • Sarashi: The guard at the castle wears nothing but bandages on her top half.
  • Sexy Mentor: "Rockin" Robin, a rockstar witch with a huge female fanbase.
  • Ship Tease: It happens a few times that...snrk...Robin and Glacier fall into this.
  • Shout-Out: To various video games and other media, although these lines could also be attributed to fansubber shenanigans:
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Chocolat. It's even mentioned in the opening:
    My emerald eyes are aimed at you!
  • Spell My Name With An S: The officially translated manga and the fansubs that adhered to its naming conventions spell two characters' names as "Woo" and "Soul." However, other official sources state that they should be "Houx" and "Saule," which are French plant names. In later episodes, "Amber" (Del Rey) vs. "Ombre" (fansubs).
    • And another spelling for Rockin' Robin is the even cooler "Rock'n'Lovin'". It's used in many official sources and is the choosen spelling for some international adaptations, such as the incredibly accurate Brazilian translation of the manga.
  • Surprise Incest: Fortunately subverted. When Chocolat finds out who her father is, she worries that she and Pierre might be siblings, but later it turns out that he's not related to Glacé by blood.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Chocolat and Vanilla. The former is abrasive, tough-talking and enjoys sports, and was One of the Boys in her homeworld. The latter is a soft-spoken and demure Shrinking Violet.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: While Chocola is a lot less feminine than Vanilla, she still likes wearing pink and gets excited with cute clothes like Vanilla does.
  • Transformation Sequence: Averted in the manga, where the girls can always do magic, but played painfully straight in the anime. Any sort of magic whatsoever, including capturing hearts, requires transforming into their witch form. It gets distracting fast. Confusingly enough, Vanilla and Chocolat are the only ones this rule seems to apply to. No other witch has to transform before performing magic.
  • Transformation Trinket: The role of the Queen Candidates pendants in the anime.
  • Verbal Tic: Blanca's "chu" (mouse squeak) and Duke's "kero" (frog ribbit).
  • Wasted Beauty: Chocolat is a popular tomboy in her home world, but when she arrives at the human world, the boys at her school are put off by her abrasive personality, even though they noted that she is cute before she opened her mouth.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Subverted, in that the hearts extracted from humans not only serve as points in the Queen selection test, but also as a currency and an energy source in the Magical World.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: In the manga, time moves faster in the human world than the witch world.
  • Younger Than They Look:
  • Pierre. Being an Ogre Prince could account for his maturity, but he still doesn't look close to being fourteen. It can make his relationship with Chocolat look squicky to some.
  • To make things more bizarre, sometimes the characters still act like kids. Any time an elementary-aged character talks about playing, you might find yourself thinking "aren't you a little old for that?" before remembering they're actually not.