Viz Manga Quick Takes – Vagabond 2, Mixed Vegetables 2, Sugar Princess 2

Vagabond VizBIG Volume 2 by Takehiko Inoue

I was wondering if Miyamoto Musashi’s relentless dedication to become the strongest swordsman in the world would cease to become interesting after a while, and I’m happy to report that the second VIZbig volume of Vagabond was even better than the first. Musashi starts to question himself and reveals new facets of his personality as he is tormented by the thoughts of the woman Otsu and finally meets an opponent stronger than him – the genius fighter/monk Inshun. There’s a battle scene in this volume that is absolutely mesmerizing.

Mixed Vegetables Volume 2 by Ayumi Komura

Some people don’t care for the characters and thinly stretched plot devices in this series. I tend to be very entertained by cooking manga. I was wondering when Hayato was going to stop being so passive and at the start of this volume he confronts Hayato about her insane plan to marry into his family’s sushi shop business. We learn more about Hanayu’s reasoning for keeping her love for sushi a secret from her patisserie parents, as it turns out that her brother is a baseball prodigy and she doesn’t want him to be forced to take over the family business.

The emotional see-sawing doesn’t make much sense, and Hanayu continues to exhibit the emotional intelligence of a flea as she cries over her relationship with Hayato and wonders why she is upset – it certainly couldn’t be because she has feelings for him! I still like the mix of cake baking and romantic melodrama. The quest to find the perfect egg roll omelet leads Hanayu to find out that the sushi shop of her dreams may be closer than she previously thought.

Sugar Princess Skating to Win Volume 2 by Hisaya Nakajo

The conclusion to this series was never in doubt. Of course Maya and Shun train hard for their ice skating competition and manage to save their local practice rink in the process. You can see elements of plot developments that could have been the basis for more story, as Maya meets older, more established ice skaters who also recognize her natural talent. Still, the relationship between Maya and Shun is cute, and it is nice to read a feel-good manga about a teenager following her dream. I’d have been happy to read a couple more volumes of this series if Nakajo had chosen to continue it.