Thursday, January 7, 2016

Review: HONEY SO SWEET Volume 1


MANGAKA: Amu Meguro
TRANSLATION: Katherine Schilling
LETTERS: Inori Fukuda Trant
EDITOR: Nancy Thislethwaite
ISBN: 978-1-4215-8325-9; paperback (January 2016); Rated “T” for “Teen”
200pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 U.K.

Amu Meguro is a newcomer as a mangaka.  She debuted with a one-shot manga, Makka na Ringo ni Kuchizuke O (A Kiss for a Bright Red Apple).  Her current long-form manga series is Honey So Sweet, published in the Japanese shojo manga magazine, Bessatsu Margaret.

Honey So Sweet focuses on Nao Kogure.  One day in middle school, Nao left her umbrella and a box of bandages in the rain for a fellow student who was injured.  Little did she know that she would meet that student again in high school.  His name is Taiga Onise, a delinquent, and Nao wants nothing to do with the gruff and frightening teen boy.  However, Taiga suddenly presents her with a huge bouquet of flowers and asks her to date him – with marriage in mind!  Is Taiga really so scary, or is he a sweetheart in disguise?

Early in Honey So Sweet, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 5), Nao discovers that Taiga actually smiles, is kind to animals, and is a good cook.  Is he really the same Taiga who is a notorious delinquent?  Before long, Nao discovers that everyone in school thinks that she and Taiga are a couple – a couple of outcasts.

I don't quite understand why the Honey So Sweet manga is entitled Honey So Sweet.  It is indeed a sweet romance, but it also has a decidedly tart side.

Honey So Sweet Volume 1 introduces three other characters besides Nao and Taiga.  All five of these characters seem to speak their minds, for the most part.  They are tart rather than sweet.  I think that is what I like about Honey So Sweet.  It is a typical high school shojo romance, but creator Amu Meguro is always adding that something extra, whether that is dialogue or action, that makes the narrative skip a beat.

There are just enough minor twists to the shojo status quo to make this series an intriguing read.  I recommend that fans of high school shojo try the first volume at least.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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