Honey Hunt Book 1

Oh, Miki Aihara, do I dare trust you again? Hot Gimmick started with such promise — and then ended with crashing disappointment. Tokyo Boys & Girls, an earlier project, didn’t even end. Now, Honey Hunt features yet another young woman put under pressure by circumstances beyond her control. Will Yura break the pattern of Aihara’s heroines and become more than a dishrag? Will she actually learn to make her own decisions and stand on her own?

Honey Hunt Book 1 cover
Honey Hunt Book 1
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Yura’s parents are a world-famous musician and a beautiful actress who give the impression of being the perfect family. The world doesn’t know that most of the time, she’s left alone. She’s a normal girl, of average looks, who can’t sing and can’t speak in public, so she’s already used to being dismissed as not worth her parents. Then she finds out that their marriage is a sham, they’ve been cheating on each other for years, and they’re finally getting divorced.

Mom treats her as a housekeeper and then boots her out on her own with no warning. Yura had been dreaming of when she could go to college and ditch her parents, but as she cries, she thinks, “They dumped me first.” Even worse, her only friend Shin betrays her. He’s her neighbor and tutor and the only person she can talk to about her concerns. She had a crush on him because he treated her as a person instead of an accessory or a gateway to fame, until she found out the real reason he came over so often. And that’s just the first chapter!

One thing that did make it easy to get sucked into this series was Aihara’s art. It’s lovely, conveying every emotion with skill with characters it’s a pleasure to watch, even when you hate them. Yura’s mother is a gorgeous bitch, almost gloating in the way she drops simple facts that ruin Yura’s life. “I can’t help that Shin likes me better than you.” “Your dad’s having a baby with that girl, so he may not have time for you.” No wonder she’s a successful actress; she cares for no one but herself.

Yura makes a stab at taking control by telling them off on national TV, thanks to the paparazzi surrounding her due to the scandal. Her father’s manager then tries to recruit her as an actress, and she’s hit on by a musician, Q-ta, who’s connected to her in several ways: he did the song for her mother’s hit TV show, and he admires her father’s work to a scary degree.

This is teen drama of the best, soapiest kind. What adolescent hasn’t dreamed of getting back at their parents at the same time they fear being on their own? And the idea of getting revenge through circles of famous creative people is a classic fantasy. Yura’s dream of becoming an actress solely to show up her mother is both psychologically real, under all the exaggerated trappings, and attractively glamorous. Her struggles are fun to read about in the classic shojo mold.

With four volumes out in Japan and the series still continuing, I worry that at some point, I’m going to be disappointed. But maybe this is the series that turns things around. In the meantime, this is addictive romantic drama. I can’t wait to read more.

The publisher has made an online preview available. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)

8 Comments

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  2. I am NOT reading this until I see a review of the last volume and it’s OVER with. I still see red over the last book of Hot Gimmick and must restrain the urge to take a lighter to it and chuckle gleefully as the fire licks at the pages.

    Oh Miki Aihara! You break this poor girl’s heart! I both love and hate you!

  3. I’ve been anticipating this series and it’s great that Viz has picked this up! Despite the letdown from a certain other series *cough* this seems to have potential or at least will not have such a spectacularly bad ending. The main character is withdrawn but is not entirely spineless and the male characters all likeable. The whole showbiz plot seems interesting and would be great if future chapters focus more on that.

  4. the woman that wrote this? “johanna”

    your opinion is strong and… to me, wrong.
    Your depiction of the story thus far is completely vulgar.

    Where did you get the faintest idea that Yura was “a housemaid, kicked out from nowhere….. dreamed of going to college” fantasy crap.

    that is never even once mentioned that she “dreamed of going to college and getting rid of her parents.”

    also Hot gimmick wasn’t bad. it could’ve ended several different ways, you ditn’t like the turnout of the one that was written.. but it was a failure.

  5. wasn’t a failure…

  6. If you think the events of the story are “vulgar”, don’t you think you should take that up with the author who wrote them, not the person merely reporting them?

    I don’t have the book in front of me, so I can’t give you page numbers, but Yura’s mother orders her to do chores and bring tea (thus “treats her as a housekeeper”) and the part about dreaming of dumping her parents when she goes to college is almost an exact quote from one of her thought balloons. Perhaps you were reading a different translation from the official US version, and that’s why you don’t remember it?

    Hot Gimmick was reprehensible for reasons I’ve already gone into. I’m not bad-mouthing it because I wanted the girl to wind up with someone else — I’m saying its message and lack of substantial ending are both moral and creative failures.

  7. yes she does treat her as a housemade I suppose, but I believe she was given the choice to live with her dad. Didn’t think she got “booted out”

    I also suppose your somewhat right about Hot gimmick. I like the story… but it was disappointing in the sense of closure and whether or not she ended up happy.

  8. No, she’s told that her dad has taken up with some younger woman, so he won’t be interested in having the daughter around. Now, you might assume that the mom is lying about that, but that’s not really supported in the text, I don’t think.

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