After a mere three volumes, Sunbeams in the Sky has concluded. After a bit of a wobbly start, will this Yen Press-published series prove a satisfying read? Let’s find out!
Volume 3 of this romance series picks up after the cliffhanger of Volume 2 with Asaka confronting Mio about the fact that she and her twin sister Himari have been swapping places regularly. Mio is upset because at this point she thinks Asaka has fallen in love with her sister, but could it be that his feelings are quite different…?
And then there’s Tsukiyono, the boy that Himari has been slowly falling for. Under the dazzling Christmas lights on a weekend get-together he reveals that, just like Asaka, he’s well aware that Himari is not her sister. He might not know they’re sisters, but Tsukiyono is positive the two girls are different, no matter how much effort Himari has put into acting like Mio.
With their secret exposed, the girls have no choice but to own up to the situation and the response from both Tsukiyono and Asaka is positive. It’s so positive that it’s not long before the girls begin dating their respective love interests, happy to be seen for who they truly are.
As it turns out, Tsukiyono and Himari already have quite a history as he was the boy who was saved when she was attacked by a group of thugs before the start of the series. Tsukiyono has always felt bad about the trauma inflicted upon Himari, not just from the thugs, but he worries he played a part, due to his violent actions defending her (which she doesn’t remember). Once he realised Himari was coming to school in Mio’s place, he wanted to help her to make amends.
Of course, now that the twins have settled their love lives and let the truth come to light there’s not much left to resolve except for the question of how they intend to carry on going forward. Both Himari and Mio are well aware that they can’t swap places forever, but now that Himari is dating Tsukiyono and has friends there, she doesn’t want to stop either. Could there be a better option?
And it’s with the thoughts of ‘what do we do next?’ that Sunbeams in the Sky spends its remaining chapters, having tied up the romance at the very beginning of the volume. Initially, I thought this would all feel a little rushed, but thankfully that didn’t prove to be too much of an issue. Yes, I would have liked the chance to see the girls enjoying more time with their now-boyfriends, but there’s just enough that I’m not too disappointed on that front.
The bigger issue for me is that author Monika Kaname decides to bring the thugs who attacked Himari into the story for a final confrontation. I’m not convinced that was a good way to handle that aspect of the story. For one thing, it’s fairly unbelievable that after all this time they wouldn’t have approached Mio whom they originally mistook for Himari, nor that Tsukiyono wouldn’t have run into them. Yes, they don’t go to the same school but still – it’s fairly flimsy in terms of developments.
Ultimately I think this section took away from what the author was trying to do with Himari’s character, too. She’s protected by Tsukiyono and Asaka after being forced to cower behind them in the face of her attackers and while the eventual outcome leads to them being able to keep the thugs away in the future, it just feels like needless drama. There were plenty of other things happening in this volume that served Himari’s character better and dealt with this aspect of the overarching story.
As I feared, we’re left with a conclusion that won’t satisfy every reader. I think on the whole Sunbeams in the Sky has managed to hold itself together relatively well, despite some missteps, but it feels like there wasn’t enough time to develop everything. Even all of Mio’s fears from the last volume are ultimately dealt with in a single chapter, which didn’t feel too out of place but wasn’t exactly a great way of doing it after spending a whole volume building them up. Still, despite all of that, I did enjoy reading this and I think particularly if you got as far as Volume 2, then there’s no reason not to finish it. I’d only caution newcomers to know what they’re getting into here.
Sunbeams in the Sky Volume 3 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and continues to be translated by Julie Goniwich with lettering by Rochelle Gancio. The release reads well with no issues to note and has a page of translation notes at the end. There’s a colour page at the beginning of the book too, which is a nice addition.
Overall, Sunbeams in the Sky has been a sometimes frustrating but still enjoyable read. I think it’s difficult to recommend to newcomers, given how it goes about tying up all its loose ends, but if you’ve stuck with it this far there’s certainly no reason to stop short. Ultimately I find myself looking forward to what Monika Kaname works on next and hope it has more time to become what the creator envisioned without being quite so rushed.
Our review copy from Yen Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.