A guilty pleasure that doesn't pretend to be anything more.
Writer/Artist: Miki Aihara
Translation: Liz Forbes
Adaptation: Ari Yusada
What They Say
Life's not easy when you're living in the shadow of your famous parents. Can shy Yura, the daughter of an award-winning composer and a world-renowned actress, find the courage to step out on her own now that her super-celebrity parents are getting divorced?
The media is abuzz when word gets out that Yura's mega-famous parents are splitting up. Already accustomed to the daily pressure of being the child of celebrities, Yura's frustration explodes in a rant against her parents--and her heated words end up being broadcasted live on national TV! When a powerful talent scout hears her impassioned declaration, he offers to represent her. The door to showbiz is now flung open for this timid wallflower--will she try to become an actress in her own right?
Viz has provided another fairly standard release with this volume. Paper and print quality are solid, and the cover has a clean, attractive style that features an illustration of Yura set on a plain white and pink background. Other than the somewhat garish logo (which is indeed the original Japanese one, just in a brighter color), it's a very stylish-looking piece. The back cover, however, is rather cluttered. There is very little color aside from the two logos and the illustration, which is a rather dull one that tries to cram all four major characters into a very small amount of space. The translation reads just fine, and has dropped Japanese honorifics, but Viz has chosen to use a different font that takes a little getting used to.
Miki Aihara's art is another positive, although like the new font style, it isn't what most readers will be familiar with. Characters are long and lean, with large eyes and pointed chins, but Aihara has gone for a character style that is sleeker than most shoujo. Her panel layouts do fall into the expected range, though; there's some nice variation between pages, and she is able to draw out the dramatic moments well, but there is no real sign of creativity.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Yura Onozuka can never hope to live up to her parents--but then again, she doesn't particularly want to. While her mother is an actress and her father a famous composer, Yura has no desire whatsoever to be in the spotlight. Unfortunately for her, when her parents decide to divorce, Yura is backed into a corner and ends up declaring her hate for her neglectful parents on national TV. Her mother's agent, the handsome Keiichi Mizorogi, decides that Yura might have a future as an actress and tries to talk her into joining the agency. Yura protests at first, but when she sees her mother lying about the circumstances of the divorce in an interview, she becomes determined to beat her at her own game: acting.
Things go just about as smoothly as readers will expect from there on out. Yura struggles through her first several auditions, and only passes one when she has the added inspiration of wanting to impress a handsome singer, Q-ta, who is a huge fan of her father. This causes even more problems, as Q-ta's twin brother, Haruka, is set to play the male lead of the show and is immediately attracted to Yura. Of course, you can see the end of the entire story coming from a mile away, so the twists that come into play throughout the volume are also easy to see coming. In addition, the characters all have their annoying traits. Yura is a weak-willed girl whose bursts of inspiration come into play whenever the storyline needs to be moved forward, and her mother is quite like the traditional evil step-mother you could find in any fairy tale. Q-ta and Haruka don’t do much, either; the latter might have a few more layers to him than the rest, but the “attractive twin brothers with a rivalry” trope has been played out many times before. Thankfully, there's so much drama going on that there's a reason to keep turning pages.
Let's be honest: there's not a huge amount of creativity going on in the first volume of Honey Hunt. It's a fairly standard "ugly duckling" storyline, as Yura slowly begins to transform from a shy, plain girl into a TV star. A few of the characters might be mildly compelling, but they all fit into the traditional, stereotypical roles: the reserved and conniving manager, the evil mother, the wildly different twin boys who both have a thing for Yura... And the list goes on.
However, the story is just plain engrossing. I might not be invested in rooting for Yura to succeed, nor in how the love triangle turns out, but I can't wait to see what happens to them next. It's the very definition of a guilty pleasure, because I can't find anything in the whole volume with which I could defend my enjoyment of the series. Thankfully, Miki Aihara knows what she's doing, as she very well should after having written Hot Gimmick. She herself doesn't seem to be all that invested in whether or not Yura succeeds--we all know she will, after all--but she is invested in providing us with page-turning train wreck-style drama. And that's precisely what I'll be looking forward to in the next volume.