The Palette of 12 Secret Colors 2 by Nari Kusakawa: B+

From the back cover:
It’s Christmas time on the island of Opal, and a visiting young Prince introduces holiday traditions to its residents. What could be more festive than the powers of the color wizards unleashed upon the season? But Dr. Guell is jealous of the relationship between the Prince and Cello and adds a sour note to the happy celebration. Then, find out more about Cello’s family and learn how she first bonded with Yoyo, her very special bird.

The episodic adventures continue in this volume, including a story about a visiting prince with a predictable secret, the tale of how Cello first met Yoyo, and a chapter about Cello’s family and her dad’s attempts to get some kind of facial expression out of terminally cool Dr. Gruell. Each of the episodes has something amusing about it, or some particular insight on character, but some are also a bit dull; I’m already kind of tired of seeing the triplet little girls turn up again and again.

The second story is my favorite, and not just because of Yoyo’s cuteness, though I suppose that is a factor. Mostly, though, I like it for the continuity. In an offhand remark in volume one, Cello mentions that she used to like climbing trees until she fell from one, and now she’s afraid of heights. This chapter includes that incident. It’s a minor thing, but I’m happy to see the seeds for it planted in advance.

While the current story structure is not short on charm, I still keep wanting this to be like a shounen manga somehow, with Cello acquiring mastery of new colors and her progression in skill clearly mapped. So far, she has improved enough to do well on a mid-term exam, but that’s sort of nebulous; the idea of knowing exactly how many of the twelve colors she can control and how many she has left has definite appeal.

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