Shannon, here – Halloween is my favourite holiday and to honour it I’m counting down 13 manga throughout the month that I think best capture the Halloween spirit. They aren’t all horror manga, as to me Halloween is about more than scares: it’s about a sense of fun and wonder. It’s about discovering that there may be more to this world than meets the eye. So with that in mind, there’s everything on this list from action-packed shounen to romantic-comedy to children’s manga to some lock-the-doors-and-leave-the-lights-on horror. (See all 13 Days of Halloween so far…)
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10. Sugar Sugar Rune
Sugar Sugar Rune is a children’s fantasy series from Moyoco Anno, a manga-ka more known for her explicit josei manga like Happy Mania and Flowers and Bees. It’s about two young witches, Chocolat Meilleure and Vanilla Mieux, who are sent to the human world to compete in a contest to collect human hearts. Whoever collects the most wins and becomes queen of the magical world. The heart collecting is more symbolic than literal, so if you were expecting a manga where two little girls hunt down humans and rip the still beating hearts from their victim’s chest, well, it’s probably out their but this isn’t it.
What Sugar Sugar Rune is is a cute fantasy series that manages to be smart as well. There are lots of shoujo manga featuring witches as the protagonists, but Anno has really put a lot of thought into the magical system and the way magic works. Just like in her adult series there are some very interesting observations about gender and how men and women (or, considering the ages of the characters in Sugar Sugar Rune, boys and girls) relate to each other.
But much like D.Gray-man, it’s the art that makes this series rise above other manga featuring similar themes. Anno abandons her usual sparse style to go in the opposite direction here. There’s a ton of occult imagery packed into practically every page of the manga, all of it rendered in a sparkly, screen-tone drenched shojo style. It’s a weird mash-up, but it works. If you want a sparkly shojo this Halloween season, then Sugar Sugar Rune is what you’re looking for.