Manga Review: Honey Blood Volume One

Honey Blood Volume One is a manga by Miko Mitsuki, and it has been released by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in October 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I’m wondering if a “T+” rating for older teens might have been a little more appropriate.

Honey Blood Volume 1
Written by: Miko Mitsuki
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 7, 2014

The main character of Honey Blood is a schoolgirl named Hinata Sorazono. Students at her school are being attacked and the attacks seem to be perpetrated by a bloodsucking vampire. However, her friend Kana says she doesn’t believe it’s vampire because she’s been reading a book about a vampire written by a popular author named Junya Tokinaga; it turns out that Hinata’s mother has also been reading this particular book. Hinata doesn’t believe that vampires exist, though.

Hinata gets a surprise when she discovers that Junya Tokinaga is moving in next door. When she calls his vampire novel ludicrous, he just asks how a mere child could possibly understand. Later, Hinata is asked to show Junya around the neighborhood; but when she gets there, it turns out that he just wanted a chance to talk to her properly. But when she gets there, Junya does something that could be seen as sexual harassment, and she obviously doesn’t like what he does. The author tries to play this off as something funny, but I didn’t find it particularly amusing.

After Hinata has a chat with Junya, she returns home and asks to borrow her mother’s copy of Junya’s book. After reading the book, she starts suspecting that Junya might be a vampire. One night, she follows him and is grabbed by an attacker; fortunately, Junya is around and saves her.

Junya invites Hinata to have dinner and asks his editor to prepare some food. She has to leave to help another author, but before she does, Junya sucks some of her blood. Hinata sees this and leaves; but before she gets far, she realizes she left her bag and goes back to get it. A half-asleep Junya mistakes her for his editor and sucks her blood. Hinata is confused and angry at first, but she finds herself falling to Junya over the remainder of Volume One.

The one thing that’s really been bothering me since I read this volume is the fact that we don’t truly know how old Hinata is. Is she a junior high student or a high school student? Junya is a 200-year-old vampire who’s posing as a 20-year-old author, so it seems her age would be an important thing to know. If she’s a 17-year-old high school student, it’s much less creepy for her to be with Junya than if she were a 14-year-old junior high student.

Something else I noticed: there are some panels where there’s a guy hiding in the shadows, but it’s most definitely the same guy in these panels. I’m predicting that he’s going to be a character who’s introduced in the next volume; the only reason I say “next volume” is the fact that in an author’s note in the back, Mitsuki mentions that this series only ended up having two volumes. Of course, if this is the case where the series was cut off early in its serialization in Japan, then the guy hiding the shadows could also potentially never be revealed.

But after reading this volume, I’m not entirely buying Hinata falling for Junya the way she does by the end of it. It didn’t entirely feel natural to me. And knowing there’s only going to be one more volume, there’s really no way to develop this story as well as it would need to work.

When it comes to the art in this volume, there were two things that really stood out to me: the intricate patterns of some of Junya’s kimonos and how good some of the close-ups of characters faces looked. Outside of those two things, though, the art tended to have more of a “typical” shojo look to it.

In the end, I wasn’t terribly impressed by this volume and it didn’t do much for me; however, readers who enjoy the Twilight book series might enjoy Honey Blood. However, since there’s only two volumes, readers could be disappointed if they read this volume and really get into it.

I wrote this review after reading a review copy of Honey Blood Volume One that was provided to me by VIZ Media.

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