Honey Mustard Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 176
  • ISBN: 1-59532-239-6
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Honey Mustard Vol. #01

By Megan Lavey     September 20, 2005
Release Date: August 09, 2005

Honey Mustard Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Ho-Kyung Yeo
Translated by:Jihae Hong
Adapted by:

What They Say
It's love at second sight! When Ara works up the nerve to ask out the boy of her dreams, she gets all glammed up and boozed up...and ends up kissing Young-Woo, the wrong guy! The juicy smooch is witnessed by the school's puritanical chaperone, who tells their strict families. Now everyone is in an uproar, and the only way these angry families will be appeased is if the two get married...and have kids!

The Review
The start of this series is very fast-paced and sets up an interesting scenario, but will it live up to its premise?

We get a honeycomb motif on the front cover with Young-Woo bent over a laundry bucket, looking very much out of his element. It really does well to set up the book, because this "deer caught in headlights" aspect is a running element through the volume. The back has chibi Young-Woo and Aya figures with Young-Woo handing Aya the lingerie draped on his head on the flip side. It's very cute, colorful and inviting. Extras include a manuscript postscript from the author and ads for other TOKYOPOP products.

I'm wavering on my appreciation of the artwork here. The characters in chibi form are very, very cute and the comedic scenes are great. My big problem is with the eyes. They're too big for the characters and too alien-like as well. At times, they're drawn with such a vacant expression that I wonder if zombies have taken over.

The translation here seems to be solid with no noticeable grammar or spelling errors.

Content (may contain spoilers):
Like in so many shoujo series, our heroine Ara has a crush Jung Hanil. She wants to do something about it, but is too shy to do so. So her best friends liquor her up and send her into Jung Hanil's room. However, she winds up kissing the wrong boy - Young Woo - after she throws up all over him. Young Woo's in a spot of trouble himself. He's angered the wrong people and is on the run when he stumbled across Ara.

In his moment of chivalry that leads to the kiss, they are caught by the ultra-strict school chaperone, who sends them home to their parents. Young Woo's grandfather thinks that Ara would be a wonderful match for his grandson and pressures them to marry. Ara's family is scandalized and it leads to a horrible situation where Ara is being sent off to the country. So to escape her home problems, she decides to accept the marriage proposal on a platonic basis - but that quickly leads to a new series of problems.

This book is an incredibly fast read, but it's not fast in a bad way. A lot of stuff takes place here that would normally be spread out over four or five volumes in a longer series. Those who have read the series Prétear will recognize the family situation that Ara's in. Her folks are pretty mean to her, especially her stepmother. But whereas I just did not like Himeko in Prétear, I do like Ara a lot in this volume. She's not that overbearing and is quite sincere in trying to please everyone - including herself.

Young Woo's family is just hilarious and is what Ara needs in order to heal the scars she recently acquired in her own family life. They're very old-fashioned with the exception of Young Woo's high-society dentist father, who is a trip on his own. He reminds me a bit of Shigure from Fruits Basket. They want Young Woo to be happy and he is determined to do the right thing for Ara once he sees the sort of family situation that she's stuck in. There are a couple of plot threads left dangling back at Ara's old school that I hope will be addressed in the upcoming volumes - such as her initial crush on Jung Hanil.

I'm interested to see how this series turns out while going at such a fast pace. The relationship developing between Ara and Young Woo is slow and they don't have feelings for the other yet - and shouldn't. So I'm waiting to see if it's rushed along or not. But the setup here is pretty good and I'm looking forward to the second volume. It's refreshing to embark on a short series in the middle of my longer ones.


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