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January 8, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: Harlequin Highlights 2

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 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 Millionaire Husband, Prisoner of the Tower, and Sale or Return Bride.

bbwmillionairehusbandFirst we start with Millionaire Husband, with art by Kanako Uesugi, and original text by Leanne Banks.  Millionaire Justin Langdon is one of three children from a home for neglected boys who grew up to attain immense money and social status.  Along with Michael and Dylan, Justin is part of a secret charity to maintain the “moral balance of the heart.”  The charity may cause him to have to donate his hard earned money to a school program for preschoolers.  While investigating the school, he discovers a passionate teacher named Amy Monroe.  After a near death experience, Justin suddently realizes that his pursuit for money left him caring little for the people around him, and he vows to find his reason for being on Earth.  But when he starts to think that he can help Amy and her children, who are about to be split apart by the social welfare agency, he can’t believe that a happy life with them could really be the way to fulfil his promise.  But it won’t be quite as easy as he thinks.


bbwprisoneroftowerNext up is Prisoner of the Tower, with art by Karin Miyamoto, and original text by Gayle Wilson.  Emma Thurman has traveled to London to find a wealthy husband so she can save her family from bankruptcy.  While trapped in a lodge during a blizzard, she muses to herself that she would like to have fallen in love once, before having to marry a man for his money.  Almost as if in answer to her wish, a handsome man appears at the lodge.  But while Emma is traveling to London, this man is on his way away from London to another country.  Even so, Emma keeps her eyes open for him as she attends her society functions.  Unfortunately she is forced to marry before finding him again.  12 years later, after her husband’s death, will fate bring them back together?  The basis for this one is kind of sweet; it’s unfortunate that it’s poorly executed, and rather messy.

bbwsalereturnbrideThe last one for this week is Sale or Return Bride, with art by Kazuko Fujita, and original text by Sarah Morgan.  Alesia has been called back to her estranged grandfather, who hasn’t spoken to her in 15 years, but has finally found a use for her.  He will have her marry the son of his business rival, Sebastien Fiorukis, and bring ruin to the Fiorukis family.  The condition of their marriage is that they cannot divorce until a child is born, but Alesia cannot have children.  Her grandfather plans to have her help end the Fiorukis family line, just as the Fiorukis family ended his line by causing the death of his son.  Alesia finds the arrangement dispacable, but agrees for the sake of her ill mother, who needs money for a costly surgery.  Sebastien is known for being a playboy, but Alesia is a kind and pure girl, despite the image of a spoiled ditzy rich girl that her grandfather forces her to portray.  Can Alesia go through with her grandfather’s plot?

These three titles are far weaker than the previous three we looked at in my last Harlequin HighlightsMillionaire Husband is probably the best of the three, but even it’s a little sloppy.  As I mentioned, Prisoner of the Tower has a touching story, but is poorly executed.  And Sale or Return Bride‘s story and relationship unfold a bit ridiculously.  Perhaps I’m just unused to these types of stories; I don’t read standard romance novels.  Someone who reads those sorts of books may find less faults than I.

PS – If you have a Borders bookstore near you, they’re running a buy 4 get the 5th free, through Feb. 1st, on all manga and graphic novels!


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



  1. Billy

    @Kris-A Waldenbooks(owned by Borders) near me is closing, but by the time I got there all the Tpb’s and GN’s were wiped out! 🙁

  2. Kristin

    Bummer. 🙁 I miss having a Waldenbooks around; they had a good manga selection. I think that’s one of the places I first started shopping for manga.

  3. InfiniteSpeech

    I think there’s one left by me…might have to go check out this deal!

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