Your Honest Deceit Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Ariadne Roberts
Review Date: Friday, December 28, 2007
Release Date: Monday, October 30, 2006



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Sakufu Ajimine
Translated by:Gillian Morrison
Adapted by:Gillian Morrison

What They Say
In college, Kuze secretly harbored feelings for adjunct law lecturer, Kitahara. However, Kuze sealed away those emotions. Seven years later, Kuze finds himself working as Kitahara's assistant because of a bizarre coincidence. What's more, Kitahara is no longer wearing his wedding ring.

The Review
Packaging:
The dust jacket's cover features Kitahara and Kuze, with an image of the couple from Honey*Bunny on the back. The flaps on the dust jacket have an author profile and a teaser for the second volume. On the actual book is a a light purple/grey stripe pattern with the Drama Queen logo and series logo on the back and front, respectively. One color page is included, and it is the same image from the dust jacket's back of the Honey*Bunny couple, Konno and Yuu. For extras, there is an honorifics chart (with bonus fangirl chitter-chatter about the author), an explanation of legal terminology, and a how-to on correct pronunciation of the character names.

Artwork:
The characters are distinct from each other and easily recognizable, but the backgrounds are so forgettable (and mostly absent) that it feels like every scene takes place in a snowstorm. Or a white page, to be more literal. Despite being published only a few years ago, the character designs feel dated, especially Kitahara. Personally, I didn't enjoy the art style at all, but your mileage may vary.

Text/SFX:
All honorifics remain intact, including the more obscure words like "bucho". (Thankfully, there is a rundown of the honorifics at the back.) The translation, for the most part, was perfectly readable, but there were a few odd lines such as: "You've always taken cared of me," and "It's 9/25TH today." On a few pages the text was so far in the gutter that I had to crack open the book and peer to even read the dialogue.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Seven years ago, at his university, Kuze fell for a part-time lecturer/full-time lawyer named Kitahara. He kept silent about his feelings because Kitahara was married, but through an old friend's recommendation, he began working at his office. Even though so much time has passed, Kuze can't help but get shaky and overwhelmed by just working alongside his former crush, and get a little hope from the disappearance of Kitahara's wedding ring.

After a hard day of work, Kitahara invites Kuze out for drinks, and while Kitahara tries to have some friendly chit-chat with the host, he infers that he's single. Kuze reacts strangely, and when they leave, Kuze interrupts Kitahara's praise of the food and company to say he loves him. Embarrassed by his own confession, he runs away and leaves Kitahara by himself. The next day at work, they blithely discuss what happened, and to Kuze's great surprise, Kitahara asks for some time to consider his response.

A long, agonizing month later (at least for poor Kuze), Kitahara admits he loves him too, and they finally go on a more proper date to a restaurant. Just when things between them are starting to heat up when they get home, Kitahara dumbly asks, "You've done this before?" For some reason, this upsets Kuze enough that he runs out... again.

After reconciliation, the two have a very happy, if exhausting, life together. Being at work all day with your secret lover turns out to be pretty hard for the both of them.

Three extra stories are included in the volume: Honey*Bunny, a story about a couple and an obsession with cute things; Cutie*Bunny, the follow-up to the previous story in which an old flame comes back; High School Student Journal, a very brief scene featuring the couple from the previous two stories.

Comments
The romance-at-work-between-manly-men is now an old standby, and alas, Your Honest Deceit (which, by the way, doesn't appear to have anything to do with the story itself) just feels like yet another rendition of it. I found the extra stories, featuring Konno and Yuu, much more enjoyable and well-paced, even if they were silly and unrealistic in their own way as well. Kitahara is an enjoyable, likable character but something about Kuze just felt insincere and dull. Obviously, this manga wasn't written for its plot, but I was still a little disappointed to see no attempt to give Kuze a personality and background after the first chapter. Nonetheless, the office setting and Kitahara's timorousness should still have a few good stories to be mined, so here's to hoping volume two is an improvement.



Mania Grade: C
Art Rating: C
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: C+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: DramaQueen L.L.C
MSRP: 12.50
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1933809205
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Your Honest Deceit