The Palette of 12 Secret Colors 3 by Nari Kusakawa: B

From the back cover:
Cello meets Fenne, a fellow Palette-in-training who’s been having problems with his abilities ever since his bird-partner died. Despite his sarcastic attitude, Cello is determined to both help him find a suitable new bird and to become his friend. Then Olga—Dr. Guell’s jealous bird—decides that Cello is taking up way too much of Dr. Guell’s time. So now she’s determined to make sure that Cello quickly completes her Palette training.

Just as I was wishing to know more about Cello’s progress, she makes a remark in one chapter about how she has cleared “about half” of the first twelve colors. That’s a step in the right direction, I suppose.

Unfortunately, none of the stories in this volume really do much for me, though none is bad or anything. A new character, Fenne, is introduced and ropes Cello into helping him adapt one of the migratory birds that visit the island to be his new partner. At first he mocks her for having to repeat her first year, but comes to like her, which bothers Dr. Guell, who is coming to realize that Cello occupies his thoughts rather a lot.

The story with Olga serving as Cello’s tutor misses the mark for amusing and instead ventures into the territory of “too silly for me.” The same can be said for the chapter in which Cello’s father pursues an outrageously ridiculous plan of making up with his wife, with whom he’s had a fight. About the only one I really like is the one about Cello’s birthday, and how Dr. Guell sweetly buys her a present. Not only that, he’s clearly paid enough attention to her to know exactly what kind of present she would like best.

The relationship between Dr. Guell and Cello is the most interesting thing about the series at the moment, but I do rather wish for a more serialized story line. This is the halfway point of the series and though it’s very pleasant and guaranteed to foster some warm fuzzies, it feels like something more should be happening by now.

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