Title: Honey Lemon Soda Vol. 2
Author: Mayu Murata
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Romance
Publication Date: May 23, 2023
Ishimori and the gang are on a field trip that includes a bit of hiking. She packed a ridiculous amount of stuff into an oversized backpack but little did they know how much it would come in handy. During the trip, they take a hike through the woods. When they get to a fork in the road, the sign is pointed to the right. They take the path and end up getting lost; however, Ishimori takes the lead and looks for the path back; however, Kai joins her and they end up finding the fabled trees whose canopy forms a heart pointed to the sky. In the end, everyone gets back safely.
The next day at school, they all thank Ishimori by piling a ton of snacks on her desk. Suddenly, new tension rises when everyone gets the idea of looking at each others’ yearbooks from years past. Even though Ishimori’s photos are quite normal, she thinks they are gloomy and it reminds her of the days when she was an outcast. Thanks to a little encouragement from Kai, she shows everyone the photos… then she catches a cold. Of course, Kai and the gang come to visit her which makes her think that she is starting to feel accepted but… she’s not quite there yet.
Finally, Serina Kanno appears. She is regarded as the school’s queen and someone who was rumored to have dated Kai in the past. Ishimori asks to do a study group but she suddenly says she has to go because she has a 5 o’clock curfew. She gets made fun of but Serina, of all people, steps in to make the save! She goes as far as to splash Ishimori’s hecklers with a drink to get them to leave! This ends up with a confrontation at school and right when Serina is about to get slapped, Ishimori steps in the path and takes the hit for her!!! Kai shows up and scolds them for making Ishimori angry but then… Ishimori sees the one thing that she hoped she wouldn’t.
Ishimori did a little bit of growing up in this volume. Thanks to Kai, she’s starting to feel a little more appreciated and not so much as a gloomy outcast. The thank-you snacks from the school trip along with the visit when she was sick were proof of that. Even Serina, for some reason, is feeling a bit attached to Ishimori so it appears that she even has the “Queen” on her side! Even though this is the case, Ishimori is still filled with a lot of doubts. That’s natural for someone who has been treated as an outcast for so long. When positive things start to happen, it makes you question whether or not they are real. It’s a life that she’s going to have to get used to. The ending of the book throws a monkey wrench into all of that, though and is going to play a big part in her psyche going forward!
Kai, on the other hand, was still Kai. Caring at times and brash at other times. He’s doing a good job of being there as a friend. He even reminded Ishimori that if she were in trouble, she was supposed to call him for help. It’s evident that there are some feelings there but they are pretty muted right now. I wouldn’t expect much after two volumes either and this looks as if it’s going to be a slow-burn romance… which is fine by me because that is my favorite type!
Queen Serina… or Serina Kanno if you will, is, well… the queen of the school! Popular, beautiful, and worshipped by nearly everyone! You’d think that someone like her would be stuck up and snobbish but, she’s actually quite the opposite! Especially when she stands up for Ishimori! The fact that she used to date Kai, though… that’s going to be a tough pill for Ishimori to swallow because now she has to wonder if the guy she’s falling in love with still has feelings for his ex. On top of that, she has to contend with one of the most popular girls in school being nice to her. Is it pity? Is it genuine? I’m sure Ishimori will have to figure that out but now… Serina’s addition seems to be setting the stage for either a huge misunderstanding or a love triangle story.
I will say there was a pretty nice improvement in the overall design and flow of the second volume. It wasn’t as confusing to read as speech bubbles and dialogue were placed in better positions. So, that definitely upped the quality. The story, on the other hand, still feels rather generic. It is refreshing to see the outcast begin to find acceptance, not really much between her and Kai happened. It was just instance after instance of him just being there to help her through and having her think something is happening between them. It’s a standard set-up for the “girl that falls in love with the bad guy” type of story.
Adding Serina into the mix feels unnecessary but if a popular girl can befriend Ishimori, mayhaps it will help with her confidence a bit but possibly turning this into a love triangle doesn’t really fit the style of story that’s being told here. Then again, as I alluded to earlier, it could all just be a misunderstanding and something different will result from her introduction. We’ll have to wait and see.
While still generic, the story was a bit more enjoyable this time around so there is some definite improvement over the first volume. I’ll keep on with it and see where this scenario with Serina goes. Most likely, it’ll amount to nothing as most series like this will always end on a cliffhanger that makes you think trouble is brewing and the next volume will have them eating ice cream together or something.
You can also check out other The Outerhaven reviews on your favorite social media networks:
This item was provided for review by Yen Press