By Yumi Tsukirino
The fifth volume of this series is also its final volume, and it probably shouldn’t prove all that surprising that at its end it simply stops rather than concludes. Based on a super-simple, super-cute Sanrio character that’s only a few degrees more complicated than Hello Kitty in design, this little kids comic never really had any grand conflict, complex characters or dynamic character arcs. That was, of course, part of its charm, and it remains perfectly pure through its end.
For the uninitiated, Cinnamoroll is a puppy who was born high in the sky. His mother is The Sky, his father is The Sun, and he is the youngest of The Cloud Kids. While his siblings all resemble clouds and can change shape and effortlessly fly, the pup looks more like a floppy-eared bunny. In a moment of crisis, he discovers he can indeed fly, using his big ears like wings, and then he uses his new-found powers to investigate a delicious smell coming from Cafe Cinnamon down on earth.
There he meets a clique of puppies somewhat similar to himself. There’s the sisterly Mocha, the somewhat lazy and gluttonous Cappuccino, rough-and-tumble sports enthusiast Chiffon, the artistic Espresso, and Milk, a baby whose only word so far is “Baboo,” which he uses to mean anything.
The Cinnamon Friends, as they are soon collectively called, give Cinnamoroll his name, based on the fact that his big, curly spiral tail so perfectly resembles a cinnamon roll. They have short, gentle, unconnected adventures generally resolving around their few personality traits and the pursuit of sweets and somewhat magical adventures.
In the fifth volume, a gingerbread man parachutes out of the sky at Cafe Cinnamon to enroll the pups in cafe school in Dream School Town. At the cookie person-run school the pups make new friends and rivals with the dark-furred puppies from Cafe Black: The boastful Black, sweet Cocoa and character trait-free third puppy Bitter. That rather long (for Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll) storyline occupies almost the first half of the volume, while the remainder is dedicated to shorter, more traditional one-off stories, some four-panel gag strips and another section of Cinnamon Angels comics, starring the girl puppies in more aggressively comedic stories drawn with a thicker line and a more self-conscious style.
From start to finish then, Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll has proven to be a fairly ideal starter manga for the youngest readers, so long as they can cope with the sometimes off-putting right-to-left, genuine manga orientation, which can be sort of troubling for kids who just got done learning to read left-to-right. It’s so aggressively cute that older readers, even, say, thirtysomething comics bloggers, might end up enjoying it, although I’d warn would-be grown up readers that these sugary sweet comics are a lot like the desserts the Cinnamon Friends so love—wonderful in moderation, but don’t try to consume too much at once!