Yura Onozuka is the daughter of the stars, and she’s not very happy about it. Always being compared to her parents at school, she hates being average and hates that they make her life harder just by being around. On television, the star couple make their family seem perfect. In fact, you could call it anything but that. Yura’s mother, Yukari Shiraki, is a beautiful actress who treats her daughter like dirt, and her father, who is living in New York, is a world-famous composer. After coming home after being away for two weeks, Yukari drops a bomb on Yura -that she and her father are getting divorced, and that Yura is being kicked out into the street. To make matters worse, Yura’s mother is having an affair with Yura’s only friend and crush, Shin.
What a first chapter!
When Yura tells the paparazzi surrounding her home that her parents can eat shit and die (that’s a paraphrase, but I’m sure that’s what she wanted to say), her father’s manager swoops in and decides that he wants to make Yura into an actress. Add a pair of twin boys who are both popular musicians to the mix, and throw in some acting and auditioning drama, and you have the basis for Honey Hunt in a bag.
The best thing about Honey Hunt, is, of course, the art. It’s easy to get wrapped up in this dramafest because manga-ka Miki Aihara is so good at illustrating facial expressions, emotion, and all of the things that make shojo what it is. The excellent costuming of her characters, along with cleanly laid-out panels, powerful expository sections, and strong close-ups make the book a real beauty to read.
The storyline isn’t bad either. Yura, while a meek, semi-spineless girl at the beginning of the book, has already matured a bit through the first volume, which seems to be a bit different from Aihara’s other work (Hot Gimmick, anyone?). The plucky heroine has already landed her first big gig by the end of the first volume, and the intrigue has me hankering to get at the second volume.
The men in Honey Hunt all seem a little seedy to me, and I suppose that’s just my expectation from Aihara’s other work, but there’s definitely enough to explore in upcoming chapters to keep you interested. Yura’s mother is also a truly spectacular bitch. She’s so adept at dropping atomic-sized bombshells on Yura’s life, like saying that her father doesn’t want her. It’s like a train wreck. You can’t turn your head away from the carnage. Yukari is a truly wicked, terrible antagonist, and that’s something you don’t see a lot in shojo. Add to all of this the scattered sketches of romance, and the first volume of Honey Hunt has everything you need to get you started on its own particular bit of soap opera drama.
The book itself is well-bound, with the average Shojo Beat trappings that make it a Viz shojo title. I’m slightly disappointed with the cover design, but only because Kimi ni Todoke had such a fabulous cover. Please continue to spoil me Viz! The inks and paper were fine for the book’s cost, and nothing was hard to read. Still, it’s obvious that there are pages in this first volume that are intended to be in color, and it’s a shame that they aren’t, because I’m sure they’d look great.
Overall, Honey Hunt is a fun, slightly trashy read that has me interested in the next volume. I just hope that the ending of this series is a bit less disappointing than the ending of Hot Gimmick.