Back in May, I reviewed Volume 1 of Sunbeams in the Sky, which introduced us to twins Himari and Mio who switch lives temporarily. Despite some inconsistencies with the story, I enjoyed it enough to return for Volume 2 to find out what’s next for the two.
When we last saw the twins, they’d swapped places so that Himari could experience the school festival. And while they’ve taken every precaution to not have their swap discovered, someone seems to have worked out what’s going on and is about to confront Himari! Luckily for Himari, it’s Aki Himekawa, a childhood friend who figured them out and he has no intention of telling anyone else.
Aki knows about the attack on Himari which led to her becoming a shut-in and growing fearful of men. He also has a crush on her sister Mio, despite the fact she talks about nothing but Asaka. In some ways, it’s reassuring for Himari to have someone else that knows their secret but at the same time, she recognises that now people are noticing, they need to put an end to this situation. But if she does stop swapping with Mio, then what happens to the relationship she’s slowly built up with Tsukiyono?
Volume 1 of Sunbeams in the Sky was largely focused on Himari and while her side of things is still important, here in the second instalment, there’s a much bigger emphasis on Mio’s feelings. There’s a legend that should you hold hands with your crush during the festival’s afterparty they’ll become a loving couple, which inspires Mio to confess her feelings to Asaka.
However, Asaka’s confession doesn’t go well and she begins to wonder if Asaka has realised she and Himari have been swapping places. He certainly seems to be taking Himari’s words to heart rather than anything Mio says. And that naturally leads to a downward spiral when Mio begins to wonder if everyone prefers her sister.
The two may be twins but they’re very different in terms of personality and abilities. Himari is much better at studying, which means Mio is often made to look like a fool when teachers call on her to answer questions that her sister proved capable of solving when she attended class in Mio’s place. And the more time Mio spends away from school, the more connections Himari is making with her classmates, relationships that Mio doesn’t comfortably slot into.
While it makes sense that Mio would begin feeling this way, I can’t help it’s a little bit disconnected from what’s been happening in the plot. Himari hasn’t attended school that much in Mio’s place, so for her to suddenly have all of these anxieties feels out of left field. Similarly, the introduction of Aki is strange, given he’s supposed to be a childhood friend. Looking back, he did make an appearance in Volume 1, but even so, no one ever talked about him which feels odd, given his importance!
Unfortunately, it feels like everything is starting to get away from mangaka Monika Kaname. Originally the series was quite focused on the romance angle, but that has become muddled in the aftermath of the school festival. It’s still a key theme, but now we have Mio’s feelings to contend with and more characters to rotate around.
Frankly, with only a single volume left, I don’t think we can reach a conclusion that will satisfy everyone. Something is going to be left by the wayside, which is a shame, given that the main premise of these two sisters and how Mio wants to help Himari return to society is a good one. It’s not impossible to salvage and I do hope Kaname can turn it around, but it does feel like Volume 2 is a repeat of the issues we saw before where we have melodrama or inconsistencies.
Sunbeams in the Sky Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press. The series continues to be translated by Julie Goniwich with lettering by Rochelle Gancio and it reads well with no problems to note. Just like with the first book, Goniwich does a good job of giving Mio and Himari different ways of speaking which makes it easy to know who’s who.
The third and final volume of the series is scheduled for an English release at the end of November, so not too long to wait for us to find out how it’ll all conclude!
Overall, Sunbeams in the Sky Volume 2 continues to offer an interesting but flawed read. Mangaka Monika Kaname is throwing in a few too many things which muddle the basic premise, but if you enjoyed Volume 1 I think there’s enough here to keep you on the hook through to the end.
Our review copy from Yen Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.