Manga Review: Honey Lemon Soda Vol. 3

Honey Lemon SodaTitle: Honey Lemon Soda Vol. 3
Author: Mayu Murata
Publisher: Yen Press
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 176
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Romance
Publication Date: August 22, 2023

The Story

In Volume 3 of Honey Lemon Soda, Ishimori is made to feel as if she’s not fitting in at school. People are still constantly talking about her; however, she does her best not to let it get to her. One day, she goes to study in the library when she is approached by MIdori-sensei. Apparently, he has a reputation from his previous school and word begins to go around. Of course, it’s up to Kai to, once again, step in and set things straight.

After this, all of the comments about Ishimori start to get to her. They need to pick a committee representative for the school’s cultural festival. Rather than get her down, those comments light a fire under her and she actually volunteers for the role. Once she’s granted it, she has to fight an uphill battle because nobody has confidence in her to do the job. In fact, when she was trying to decide what the class should do, she was just taken over and the class decided without her input. Despite that, she decided to go through with their suggestion and laid out an entire plan.

Nobody saw how hard she was working until it became known that she went before teachers and the student council and got their idea approved. This was the turning point where people started to respect her. With the theme for their class decided, talk about couples getting together during the cultural festival begins to surface. Ishimori begins to wonder; however, there are also murmurings that Kai might just get back together with Serina.


Ishimori, once again, took center stage, and much like last time, she did some more growing up. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the comments made about her don’t bother her because they do but she’s finding ways to turn that negativity into positivity. The mere fact that she volunteered to be the committee representative is proof of that. All the while, she still has her little mental monologues where she expresses concern and self-doubt. Even Midori-sensei got in her head briefly about her not belonging at a high school filled with idiots.

She even admits that the only good thing about her is her grades and that’s why she wants to change. She’s not taking her shortcomings as a handicap but as motivation for self-improvement. We could all learn a lesson from Ishimori in that sense! It also presents some wonderful growth for her character!

Our new character is Midori-sensei. He seems to hate being a teacher at Ishimori’s school because he feels the students don’t even care about their academics. In fact, when he was passing back tests, he even went off on Kai for only scoring a 2. He seems a bit manipulative and there are certain rumors about him that would explain why he’s not at his former school any longer. Not sure if Kai’s intervention shut him down for good as a character but I could see more of him sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.

Tonbo, Tao, and Moka are nothing more than background characters but I was a bit surprised to see them get as much attention as they did.

Tonbo seemed more like a plot device than anything with him playing the role of the antagonist. He’s the one who rejected Ishimori’s survey plan and just had the class yell out what they wanted to do. He is also the one who was the loudest about doubting Ishimori’s ability to be the representative.

Tao and Moka, on the other hand, were in the same boat at first but when they discovered that Ishimori went to bat for them in front of the teachers and the student council, something clicked inside of their heads and they found a new respect for her. In fact, they admitted that they would usually blow off the cultural festival and let other people handle the work but once they started working alongside Ishimori, they were genuinely having fun. Hopefully, Tao and Moka end up befriending Ishimori as that’s the one thing she needs more than anything right now. Getting saved time and time again by Kai is getting a little stale after just three volumes so adding them into the mix in a more permanent fashion will do wonders, I believe.

Final Thoughts

Surprisingly, not much from Serina in this book but they did continue the possibility of Serina and Kai getting back together which would dampen all of Ishimori’s efforts; however, the saving grace here is that there is zero indication on Kai’s part of that happening. In fact, Kai spends the majority of this volume sticking up for Ishimori and hanging around her. I didn’t include this in the character development section because it’s not really development. It’s just the same thing that he’s been doing for three volumes straight now. Kai’s motives are still a bit hard to read. Is he doing this because he likes Ishimori? Is he the type who just doesn’t want to see her bullied? Does he really still love Serina? All of that is still unclear; however, this is a romance novel and he’s one of two main characters. Serina’s not the other one… so it’s pretty obvious who is going to end up with who by the time this series is over and done with.

Adding “green” teacher as a possible antagonist could be fun. I could see a serious situation developing with him in the future as the seeds were definitely planted in this volume. Whether or not he will make a move on Ishimori or Kai remains to be seen but if anything does happen, it’ll probably happen to Ishimori and Kai will come to the rescue since that’s the expectation set up by the series thus far but wouldn’t it be interesting if it was the other way around? What if Ishimori matures and grows to the point where she’s the one to come to Kai’s aid? What if saving him and making it clear that it was her turn to play the guardian is the spark needed to set off their relationship? That would be pretty interesting but I doubt that’s what’s going to happen.

We’ll find out how all of this continues but, for now, it looks like it’s Maid Café time in Volume 4!

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This item was provided for review by Yen Press