The Palette of 12 Secret Colors Vol 5 by Nari Kusakawa Manga Review

Title:  The Palette of 12 Secret Colors Vol 5

Author: Nari Kusakawa

Publisher: CMX

ISBN:  9781401220266

May Contain Spoilers

Finally, there was some movement on the romance front in The Palette of 12 Secret Colors.  Sure, the relationship between Cello and Dr Guell isn’t exactly appropriate, but I don’t exactly care in this instance.  They make a cute couple, and if Cello could ever get her attention focused on her studies, she might actually graduate from palette school and become a functioning member of society.  Guell will probably continue to do as little as possible, even if Cello comes in to her own and becomes the talented color magician she is capable of being.  Hopefully they won’t both stay underachievers. 

The closing events of the last volume have rattled Cello so much that she is now avoiding Guell.  Dressing in layers of bulky clothing, donning thick lensed glasses, and throwing her every effort into her studies, she is the talk of the school.  With an attitude like that, she’s pass her exams for a certainty.  What has caused this change that’s swept over her?  Only Guell notices that she’s giving him the brush off, and it soon becomes a contest to see which of them can ignore the other more effectively.

I loved the first half of the book because Cello and Guell are forced to evaluate their relationship.  First Cello must analyze her feelings of discomfort; why does she feel so awkward and uncomfortable around Guell?  They always had an easy friendship, but now it’s moved to a weird, self-conscious sort of feeling.  As Cello tries to figure out what the heck went wrong, she begins to realize that just maybe, she’s fallen for the young doctor.  It was charming to see both of them go through this self-examination process with their friends, though Guell’s chosen friend doesn’t have the same quality of closeness that Cello’s possesses.  Cello even takes the advice to get a new angle on her feelings a little too literally, but hey, it seemed to help her sort things out.

I enjoyed this volume very much.  It was cute, romantic, and made me want to read more.  Like right now.  Having to wait until September for the next volume is rather painful.  I used to think that Nari Kusakawa’s illustrations were plain and ugly, but they have grown on me so much the more I read her titles.  The characters aren’t plain any longer – the simple line work lends life and emotion into the drawings, and makes me wonder how I could have ever been so confused. For a lighthearted romance with magic and unique personalities, look no further than this book.

Grade: A-

2 thoughts on “The Palette of 12 Secret Colors Vol 5 by Nari Kusakawa Manga Review

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  • April 21, 2009 at 10:14 am

    You said everything about Palette 5 that I have thought about the volume since reading it.  This statement is especially true.  Having to wait until September for the next volume is rather painful.  Like you, I want volume 6 right now.  I’m very curious about whether Kusakawa is going to tackle the issue of the school doctor and student relationship. 
    When I first saw The Recipe for Gertrude, I was a little put off by Kusakawa’s artwork.  But after reading through Gertrude and now following Two Flowers for the Dragon and Palette, I’ve come to appreciate the way her art supports her characters.  I now rank Kusakawa among my top favorite shoujo mangakas.

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