Hot Japanese Imports: Sugar Sugar Rune games

August 10, 2009 - 4:28 pm No Comments

Sugar Sugar RuneWhen manga or anime series become popular, they’re almost guaranteed a video game release. When a series is incredibly popular, they’ll spawn multiple games. Since many of these series don’t achieve the same level of recognition outside of Japan, this means that people in other regions of the world will likely never hear about them.

This week, Important Importables is going to look at one of these lesser known series, Sugar Sugar Rune. While Del Rey released all eight volumes of Moyoco Anno’s series in North America, it never reached the same heights of popularity that it achieved in Japan. In Japan though, it managed to inspire three video games on three different platforms.

What’s Sugar Sugar Rune?

Sugar Sugar Rune was a first for mangaka Moyoco Anno. She is best known for mangas written for women, like Happy Mania, Flowers & Bees and Hataraki Man. Sugar Sugar Rune was the first series she created for a younger female audience.

Long ago, witches and wizards separated from the human world and moved to the Magical World. Once there, a rift developed between two factions, ones who followed the Ice Prince Glacé and others who followed Le Royaume. Glacé and his followers were sent into exile and dubbed Ogres.

Le Royaume and the Magical World is led by a queen. At the moment, it’s Queen Candy. However, a contest is being held to determine the next queen. The two candidates are Chocolat Meilleure, daughter of previous queen candidate Cinnamon Meilleure, and Vanilla Mieux, Queen Candy’s daughter. The two young witches are best friends, despite their contrary personalities, and they are sent together to the human world.

Their goal? Collect humans hearts, which are called ecuré in the Magical World and used as both currency and energy. Witches can’t regenerate their own hearts, but humans can. The girl who collects the most hearts will be the next queen.

In the Magical World, outspoken, crude and tomboyish Chocolat was most popular, but in the human world shy, quiet and demure Vanilla gathers the most attention. Chocolat has to challenge her best friend to become the best. To make matters worse, a young Ogre representative named Pierre is attending the same school and trying to influence both girls.

At it’s very core, Sugar Sugar Rune is your typical magical girl series. Especially if you only look at the anime, which follows a “monster of the week” sort of story, focuses mainly on the collecting of hearts and has more of a traditional art style. The manga series is darker and slightly edgier, with a gothic-punk art style and more background on the war between the witches and ogres. The 51 episode anime is geared towards a younger audience, while the eight volume manga seems oriented towards slightly older readers.

Sugar Sugar Rune: Heart Gaippai! Moegi Gakuen

Sugar Sugar Rune: Heart Gaippai! Moegi Gakuen

Sugar Sugar Rune: Heart Gaippai! Moegi Gakuen was the first Sugar Sugar Rune game released, and debuted on the Game Boy Advance. It also begins a trend. All of the Sugar Sugar Rune games focus on the heart collecting aspect of the original.

The GBA Sugar Sugar Rune game focuses on Chocolat’s gathering of hearts from classmates at the elementary school Moegi Gakuen. It’s primarily a text based adventure where Chocolat visits various locations from the series, perhaps runs into familiar characters and, if she’s lucky and conversations go well, she earns hearts. There are also a few unrelated mini-games tossed in.

Sugar Sugar Rune: Koimo Osharemo Pick-Up

The second Sugar Sugar Rune game was a PlayStation 2 adventure called Sugar Sugar Rune: Koimo Osharemo Pick-Up, and it is quite similar to the previous GBA release. One of the main differences is you can choose to play as either Chocolat or Vanilla.

When it comes to gameplay, it’s similar to the previous game and otome games like Tokimeki Memorial: Girl’s Side. You dress and prepare Chocolat or Vanilla, using clothes and magical accessories. Then, you attend school to to try and befriend the male students so you can take their hearts and (hopefully) become queen. There’s more of an active element here, since the clothing and accessory choices you make help determine whether certain guys will like you more or less.

Sugar Sugar Rune: Queen Shiken wa Dai Panic

Sugar Sugar Rune: Queen Shiken wa Dai Panic

Sugar Sugar Rune: Queen Shiken wa Dai Panic was the last Sugar Sugar Rune game, released in 2006. Unlike the previous games, which were more text based adventures, the DS game was an action/platformer title. Remember the Sega Genesis game Flicky? It’s slightly reminiscent of that. It’s also the only Sugar Sugar Rune game I’ve had the opportunity to play.

In the beginning of the game, players choose whether they want to be Chocolat or Vanilla. Aside from some cosmetic differences, both characters play the same. You must go through a variety of levels, based on locations seen in the anime and manga, to gather hearts. When Chocolat or Vanilla see a boy, they press a button to lure him in. He then will follow her around. The goal is to get a few guys following you around for a decent period of time so their hearts turn pink. Then, you execute a special move that plucks their hearts and gives Chocolat or Vanilla points. The boys then leave. The goal is to get a certain number of points and make it to the end of a level before time runs out.

It isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are dogs roaming the levels that will attack/scare the girls, causing the boys to leave. Also there are other female classmates wandering around, and if you walk past them, they’ll lure one of your admirers away. Plus, Chocolat and Vanilla can only have a certain number of boys follow them.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Important Importables reviews Nanashi no Game for the DS.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables reviewed Vitamin Y.

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Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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