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November 10, 2014

Bento Bako Weekly: Honey Blood volume 1

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Written by: Kristin
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honeyblood1Title: Honey Blood
Author: Miko Mitsuki
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 1, $9.99
Vintage: 2009 by Shogakukan, October 2014 by Viz Media
Genre: Supernatural romance, vampires

Something strange is going on in Hinata Sorazono’s neighborhood. Random, bizarre attacks have left many women near death, suffering from extreme blood loss. It seems to be the work of a vampire, but of course vampires don’t really exist. They only exist in stories, like the popular romance Until the Ends of the Earth by Junya Tokinaga. Women all over Japan are going crazy for Tokinaga’s book, including Hinata’s mother. Hinata isn’t impressed by the story, however, and when she gets to meet the author, she tells him so straight to his face. The young and handsome Tokinaga has recently moved in next door, and had just popped by to sign her mother’s book. He doesn’t expect such a young girl to understand anything about love, of course. Which is why it’s odd when he requests for Hinata to show him around the neighborhood, then claims he just wanted to spend some time with her. Unfortunately, Tokinaga has all the qualities of a first class playboy, and that’s not the kind of guy Hinata wants to be involved with. Even so, she can’t help but be intrigued by his bleak look at love through the tragic story of a vampire. As far as she’s concerned, it’s all wrong. In Tokinaga’s book, the only way a vampire can die is if they kiss a human (on the lips) and make a contract. This contract makes the human the vampire’s sole source of blood, so when the human dies, the vampire eventually will, as well. Hinata can’t understand why anyone would give up an immortal life to die with someone they love, especially since they could continue living and carry on the memory of that love forever. After the clearly sexual Tokinaga claims to have never kissed anyone, and the bizarre attacks on young women continue, Hinata begins to wonder if vampires might be real after all…and if Tokinaga might be one. She follows him through the neighborhood at night, but is attacked by a thug. Tokinaga rescues her, but injures his hand. Her assailant is arrested as the supposed serial attacker, so Hinata tosses her suspicions aside. That is, until she falls asleep next to him, and dreams that he bit her and took her blood. An incident compounded by his perfectly healed hand just a couple days after the attack. Those attacks didn’t stop, either, and Tokinaga makes it his mission to protect Hinata, often accompanying her home from school. All of the heat and activity, in the absence of his regular food source (his editor), begins weighing him down, but when Hinata tries to take care of him, he rebukes her advances…while at the same time confessing that he wants to be near and care for her. This understandably confuses Hinata, but doesn’t stop her from declaring her love for Tokinaga. Hoping to keep his past from repeating itself, Tokinaga decides it’s time to scare Hinata off, and purposefully lets himself be caught feeding on his editor, then tries to intimidate her. Hinata won’t have it, however, and insists she’s genuine, demanding Tokinaga have faith in her. For a vampire, a kiss isn’t just a simple kiss.

Well, first let’s discuss how a sixteen-year-old (or there about) realizes she’s in love with a 200 (or so) year old vampire within a couple weeks. In love enough to decide she’ll be his lone source of food until her death, and his immortal life will end shortly after. Actually, we don’t need to discuss it; I think that’s plenty. I don’t mind the younger girl/older man dynamic, which is good, because you really can’t get away from that in shojo manga. But that doesn’t mean I can’t tire of it from time to time. It’s tiring here. Also, I’m a bit worn out on the young, naive, innocent girl with the older, supernatural guy. There’s been a lot of that lately, some good, some bad, some mediocre. This one’s mediocre. If what you’re interested in is the age dynamic, or specifically the human/demon (or vampire) dynamic, I suggest reading Black Bird instead (the series is fully published here, by Viz). Plenty of smut, too. If you like the tragic love story aspect, go for Millennium Snow (the final volume will be out soon). There’s better options, though this one should only run 2-3 volumes, so at least it’s a small investment. The art is nice enough, and Tokinaga’s design is fitting for the mysterious vampire archetype. His design is a bit reminiscent of Shigure Sohma from Fruits Basket, another perverted romance novelist – kimono, and a soft, distant expression; looks equally air-headed and tortured. Hinata is pretty generic in design; nothing about her stands out apart from her enormous eyes. Personality wise she’s pretty generic, too; she just doesn’t stand out at all. Mitsuki’s take on the vampire mythos isn’t very interesting either. It’s extremely simplistic, designed to force a tragic element upon the staring couple. I’ve read much worse, but I’ve also read much better. However, it’s the titles I’m most apathetic about that I consider the least worthy to bother with.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



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