The Palette of 12 Secret Colors 4 by Nari Kusakawa: B+

This is the story of Cello, an aspiring Palette or “color magician,” who has had to repeat her first year of training school because her abilities are a bit different than those of her fellow students. The Palette of 12 Secret Colors is a very episodic series, and this volume is no exception. On the agenda are a separation from her avian partner that prompts Cello to strive to be her best, a rampaging drunken ostrich, and a swimming competition.

I’m not a fan of episodic tales in general, but Kusakawa manages to incorporate modest development for her lead characters and their relationship even while hijinks are ensuing. Over the course of the previous volumes, Dr. Guell (the school doctor) has helped Cello out on numerous occasions and now secretly harbors romantic feelings for her. The episodic nature of the story contrives to put the two of them together, occasionally in ridiculous situations, but also provides the opportunity for many warm and fuzzy moments. The final scene between them in volume four is anything but ridiculous or fuzzy, however, and may be just what Cello needs to finally begin to see the stoic doctor in a new light.

That said, this story is certainly progressing at a leisurely pace for one with only two volumes left. I can’t help but wish for a more dramatic storyline or more tangible evidence of Cello’s progressing skills. Aww-inspiring it may be, but it’s currently too mellow to generate anything akin to awe.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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