Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Amu Meguro brings us Honey So Sweet, a romantic comedy SERIES that happens to be her first story that spans longer than a single volume. In this, we are introduced to Nao Kogure, a girl who doesn’t like to get involved with delinquents and her run in with Taiga Onise, a 15-year old who just happens to be a delinquent. Taiga calls Nao out of class in order to confess his love for her. Nao reluctantly accepts for fear of the imagined consequences of saying no to a bully. So begins her journey of being the girlfriend to a delinquent, who may not actually be such a bad guy after all.
I simply just couldn’t get into this series. While it is sweet and innocent enough, the characters just feel flat to borderline run of the mill. Taiga Onise seems like a carbon copy of Ryuuji from Toradora in the fact that he looks rough and tough, but he actually has a heart of gold and is willing to go out of his way to help people. He also seems very impulsive and simple-minded; he thinks and acts in a very straight-forward manner. There’s no sugar-coating any of his actions and while it is meant to give a cute and playful side to him, it just kind of makes him come off as a bit dense.
Nao is about a few bricks shy of a full load and it’s not until the final page of the first volume that you come to realize this. While this does venture a bit into spoiler territory, I’ll just come out and say it. She decides to be friends with Taiga because she’s in love with somebody else. That someone else is her uncle. Yes… we are going down the route of incest here in this manga, but her uncle, for the most part, is pretty oblivious to it and even Taiga is relieved that he witnessed a normal relationship between the two… which actually stuns Nao when he says that to her. I know you have to do things to try and set yourself apart from other romance mangas, but there’s trying to avoid being run-of-the-mill and then there’s just being plain creepy. It’s definitely an awkward plot device just to get Nao and Taiga together in the end (I mean, that IS the goal here, right?) so I’m not sure why the author chose this kind of plot.
The manga already ended in Japan with only 40 total chapters. There’s just too many red flags all over this one for me to call this good.
I’m definitely in the same boat as Josh on this one. I’m not quite sure what is so appealing in this manga. At first look, I judged by the cover and thought “oh yuck, I’m not going to like this” and that pretty much stayed with me throughout the whole volume. This book fits cliche shojo very well but also goes out of the way to be creepy. Josh brought up Toradora with good reason – there is a very strong Toradora vibe going on and one of the characters even shares the same name… except this isn’t about a close friendship where the two friends are in love with classmates. Nao is in love with her uncle. Before you think, “well maybe they’re not blood related,” the author makes sure to throw that out immediately. Nao is in love with her actual uncle, as in, she admits she loves her mother’s little brother. She’s definitely a basket case and it’s apparent pretty early on. During the class trip, she’s scared of silly things and even before that it’s obvious she’s nuts because she simply agrees to date someone she doesn’t know.
Taiga isn’t much better of a character. He’s your typical misunderstood outcast – it turns out he’s sweet and thoughtful but his actions are misinterpreted. Who hasn’t seen that before in every manga series? Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to say about Taiga, he’s pretty boring.
I can think of a million other things I’d rather be reading over this. Hopefully Amu Meguro can find some inspiration in a different genre because this manga definitely didn’t rub me the right way. Perhaps there is an audience out there for this, but I’m definitely not in it.
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**This item was provided for review.