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March 17, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: Harlequin Highlights 6

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 Only By Chance and The Prince’s Heir.

First we’ll look at Only By Chance, with art by Chieko Hara, and original text by Betty Neels.  A stray cat causes a chance meeting between hospital occupational therapist Henrietta and the handsome Dr. Adam Ross-Pit, and kicks off a chain of events that brings the two together.  Henrietta is a hardworking, gentle, and simple woman; far away in standing from the aristocratic Dr. Ross-Pit.  But something about her gentle, kind demeanor strikes a chord with the doctor, and he comes to her rescue when she falls ill (a harsh cold brought about by exhaustion and the cold weather) and loses her job at the hospital.  He manages to get her a job as a hostess and tour guide at his family’s manor, which often hosts historical tours and parties.  Adam, who prefers the quiet countryside to the busy city, is even more drawn toward Henrietta as she flourishes at the country manor.  Henrietta, for her part, is grateful for his aid, and falls for him as he continues to come to her rescue; yet she holds herself back, concerned about the vast social gap between them.

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Next is The Prince’s Heir, with art by Miho Tomoi, and original text by Sally Carleen.  Mandy lives a humble, peaceful life in a small Texas town with her family, raising the son of her best friend Arena who died three years ago.  She adopted the baby, Josh, at the request of her friend who died shortly after giving birth.  The baby’s father, Lawrence, agreed as well, but he recently died in a car accident.  This unfortunate news comes from Lawrence’s brother Stephan Reynard, the prince of Castile, who has come to secure the kingdom’s heir, Josh.  Mandy fiercely argues against this, insisting that both Arena and Lawrence wished for their child to live away from Castile, avoiding the cold nature of palace life.  Their wish was for Josh to live a happy life with an open, loving family, like Mandy’s.  Stephan decides to stay and observe the family before deciding whether to take Josh away, and becomes impressed by Mandy’s strength and will as he watches her with Josh.  The longer he stays, the more he realizes that Josh is far happier than he would ever be at the palace…and the more relaxed he becomes around Mandy, who begins to see the real warmth and emotion that he hid behind his cold, royal exterior.

Only By Chance was rather sweet.  It’s certainly one of the more genuinely romantic stories among the Harlequin titles.  The Prince’s Heir sounds like it should be a great story…but it’s such a mess.  The art, the dialog, the pacing of the story….  Everything is sloppy and forced.

Don’t forget to stop by on Monday for my review of the Yashakiden: The Demon Princess light novel.

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net
@girlg33k_Kris

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

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4 Comments


  1. billy

    Only by Chance sounds like a movie my wife made me waych on “date nite” once. The Prince’s Heir sounds interesting though. Nice reviews!



  2. […] Kristin looks at some of Digital’s Harlequin manga in her Bento Bako Lite column at Comic […]



  3. Oh rich people. How ridiculous they can be!



  4. […] Kristin looks at some of Digital’s Harlequin manga in her Bento Bako Lite column at Comic […]



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