Mamotte! Lollipop Volume 4
By Michiyo Kikuta
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $10.95
Rating: ★★½☆☆

The Magic Exams have arrived and changes are on the way.  Nina will no longer have the cute boys Zero and Ichi to look after her.  What’s a girl to do–perhaps go out for a lollipop?  But which flavor should she choose?

It’s the end of the Magic Exams, and everyone and their brother (or sister) is after Zero and Ichi.  Nina finally gets the potion to remove the Crystal Pearl, but because she doesn’t want to be separated from Zero and Ichi, chooses not to drink it.  She has second thoughts as the competition stiffens.  She stays with them to end though, with new complications arising.

The light-hearted romance of the last volume gets tossed out the window, as the final days of the Magic Exam grow closer.  The first half of this volume shows that the Magic Exam isn’t supposed to the game the first three volumes made it out to be.  Examinees get tougher, and no one is pulling punches.  The entire end of the Magic Exam feels completely different from the story so far, and very out of place.  It’s like there’s a comedy/drama switch that the mangaka can flip.  It’s sudden, comes without warning, and his very jarring.

The second half of the volume picks up the romantic comedy back up, with the only differences being that Zero and Ichi are now full wizards, and Pearl the familiar to come out the Exam is attached to Nina instead of a wizard.  This is a convenient plot device to keep the boys with Nina so the romance can continue.  Immediately the story jumps right back to Nina’s love life, complicating it unnecessarily.

After seeing the way Nina, Zero and Ichi worked together during the end of the exam, it’s hard to imagine how Nina choosing one or the other can have a satisfying end.  They are a team, and work best that way.  But leaving no choice made isn’t any better.  The only reason to continue to read this series to find out how/if there is any solution to this love triangle.

This volume includes another short story, this time about how Rokka met Ichi and fell in love with him.  It’s cute, but doesn’t offer anything new or interesting.  She’s still an annoying, spoiled brat.

Mamotte Lollipop is a series for the tween-teen set.  It’s more fluff than melodrama, with lots of “love fortunes” for the romance, and the drama being hit-and-run.  There’s nothing serious for parents to fret over as the triangle of Nina, Ichi and Zero is more friendly than loving.

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