Featured Columns

February 6, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: Harlequin Highlights 3

If you surf on over to Digital Manga Publishing’s eManga website, where you can read digital copies of manga titles (by buying points to spend on buying or renting them), you’ll find a section of the site under the name “Harlequin.”  What you’ll find there is a collection of short romance titles (most run about 126 pages).  They go for 100-200 points a piece, which is just over a dollar (you can buy 500 points for $5.50).  They are essentially comic adaptations of romance novels.  Since these are short, low budget titles, I feel that it would be best to group them together and review several at once.  This week we’ll look at The Sheikh’s Relunctant Bride and Word of a Gentleman.

bbwsheikhsbrideFirst up is The Sheikh’s Reluctant Bride, with art by Ayumu Aso, and original text by Teresa Southwick.  Jessica was raised in a small apartment in Los Angeles until her mother’s death, when Jessica was just 10 years old, and then she lived in an orphanage.  Now 23, she has mysteriously been called to the desert kingdom of Bha’Khar.  She is picked up at the airport by a handsome man, and taken to the palace to greet her relatives.  On the way, she is informed that her mother is the daughter of a dear friend of the royal family, and they have been searching for her for several years.  That’s not the only surprise waiting for her.  The man who picked her up is prince Kardahl, a famous playboy…and Jessica’s future husband!  A promise was made between their two families, that their children would wed, and Jessica accidentally signed the contract that would seal the deal.  Can she get out of it?  Does she even want to?  This title is part of a larger work called Brothers of Bha’Khar.


Last for this week is Word of a Gentleman, with art by Tsukiko Kurebayashi, and original text by Lyn Stone.  Clarissa Fortesque has been living in the care of her uncle, who has been looking after her inheritance.  However her uncle is quite ill, and if he dies before Clarissa is able to attain a new guardian, her assets will be frozen and she’ll be out on the streets.  To prevent this, Clarissa quite suddenly proposes to Hugh Richfield, recently returned from war and virtually broke himself, promising him 10,000 pounds of her inheritance.  In return, he must promise to let her keep her freedom, and not interfere with her life.  As they were childhood friends, Hugh agrees, suggesting that it’s better him, someone who knows her already, than some other random guy.  As her cousin Trenton has been pressing her to marry him, and has set a guard up on her uncle, she and Hugh must run off to Scotland for a quick elopement.  But despite Hugh’s quick agreement and desire to help his friend, he has some dark shadows from the war haunting him, which block his more tender emotions.

The Sheikh’s Relunctant Bride is a poor man’s (or woman’s in this case) Goong.  The translation and editing is a bit sloppy on this one, but just keep in mind that these are low budget productions.  The character designs aren’t really to my taste.  The male lead is angular with ridiculously pouty lips, and the female lead is extremely idealized (pure, big breasted, divinely gorgeous, blond haired and blue eyed, etc).  Word of a Gentleman has more pleasing illustrations, but the story is sort of all over the place.  It’s sweet in its way, but the story jumps around to too many places.


All images copyright © Harlequin.  Access to eManga provided by Digital Manga Publishing.



  1. billy

    Good reviews Kris! When are those horror/ fantasy reviews starting? Monday?

  2. Kristin

    Monday is Phantom Dream, by Natsuki Takaya. Taimashin, which is a supernatural/horror/demon/fantasy thing, will be the following week. I thought it was really interesting, so I think you guys will like it.

  3. Nothing says manly like pouty lips!

  4. […] RSS … May 14th, 2009 at 12:32 pm. about us :: events :: release schedule :: faqs :: contest : …Bento Bako Lite: Harlequin HighlightsUsurping your inner geek … If you surf on over to Digital Manga Publishing's eManga website, where […]

  5. […] which includes The Sheikh’s Reluctant Bride, a title I reviewed in a previous edition of Harlequin Highlights).  Adina and Alina are identical twins.  Adina, born first, was soon betrothed to the Crown […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *