Monday, July 30, 2018

REVIEW: Honey So Sweet (manga, vol. 1) story and art by Amu Meguro, translated by Katherine Schilling

Honey So Sweet is a high school romance series. I got this volume via interlibrary loan.


All Nao Kogure wants is to avoid attracting too much attention and to hopefully make a few friends. Unfortunately, for some reason Taiga Onise, the guy everyone in her class is afraid of and who punched some upperclassmen on his first day of high school, has taken an interest in her. When he asks her to be his girlfriend ("Would you please date me with marriage in mind?" - coming on a little strong), she's sure that what he really wants is for her to be his slave for the rest of high school. She worries that if she says no to him, he'll torment her or hurt her. Seeing no other solution, Nao says "yes" and prepares for the worst.

As it turns out, Onise's bad reputation is a misunderstanding and he's actually a pretty nice guy. The more Nao gets to know him, the more she likes him. Too bad she's in love with someone else: her uncle, Sou, who's been raising her since her parents died. In this volume, Nao and Onise also gradually become friends with Kayo Yashiro, a gorgeous but aloof girl, and Ayumu Misaki, a good-looking boy with a prickly personality.

This was...okay. There were indeed quite a few sweet moments, but there were also a few things that threw me off.

The fact that Onise knew from the start that Nao only agreed to date him because she was scared of him was a little icky and at odds with his overall sweetness, even though he was eventually honest with her and admitted that he knew. Also, Nao wholeheartedly agreeing to continue being friends with Onise, knowing that he still liked her romantically, seemed like a bad idea. Still, I liked seeing Nao and Onise get to know each other. Onise's habit of bulldozing his way into people's lives balanced out Nao's desire to simultaneously blend into the background and somehow make friends. He also seemed to be encouraging Misaki out of his own prickly shell.

One big thing in this volume that didn't appeal to me was Nao's crush on her uncle. Who is related to her by blood and who has raised her since she was six or so years old. There's a definite squick factor there, and I hope this aspect of the series gets phased out quickly. The end of this volume indicated that I might be lucky in that regard. Either that, or Onise's words will just make Nao cling to her crush on her uncle more tightly. Please, no.

I've requested the next volume via ILL, so I guess I'll find out. Crossing my fingers that volume 2 is the end of Nao's crush on her uncle, and the beginning of even cuter scenes with Nao, Onise, Misaki, and Yashiro. I want to find out the story behind Onise's part in the umbrella flashback, why Misaki's so angry, and what the deal is with Yashiro.

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