First Impressions: Honey Blood vol. 1 – Miko Mitsuki

Honey Blood, translated from Mitsu Aji Blood, ran in Sho-comi shoujo manga magazine beginning in 2008. The initial one shot was turned into a series that became three volumes. It was licensed by Viz media under Shojo Beat with volume one releasing October 2014.

Publisher Synopsis:  When a girl at Hinata Sorazono’s school is attacked by what seems to be a bloodsucking vampire, everyone is on edge and wonders who’s next. Hinata refuses to believe that vampires even exist, but then she meets her new neighbor, Junya Tokinaga, the author of an incredibly popular vampire romance novel. Dressed in a kimono with an old-world air about him, Junya has a taste of Hinata’s blood and tells her it’s sweet like honey… Hinata can’t help but be drawn to Junya, but could it be that he’s actually a vampire—and worse yet, the culprit behind the attacks?!

Impressions: Well, after reading that last vampire manga that creeped the heck out of me, Honey Blood was a rather nice change of pace. Here we have a male protagonist that’s attractive as all get out, dressed in a kimono playing the eccentric writer trope.  His character is supernatural, but surprisingly he’s not a dominant stereotype. I found that refreshing in this series. There’s hints that he knows our main character before she first meets him. I liked that plot device as it deepens the mystery. Also, I liked how the main character didn’t want anything to do with the author at first, and highly disagreed with his philosophy on love. She wasn’t fazed by his sexiness and turned all doey-eyed like a LOT of shoujo heroines do. Then there’s the murder mystery going on that helps with the storyline. The tension between the two protagonists is great as well. **No, we can’t kiss. It’s a binding contract.** That’s a definite line drawn between the characters that shoujo readers will definitely want crossed. And it doesn’t take Mitsuki forever to engage it.

I can’t say that the art was outstanding, but seeing that sexy guy on every other panel was enough for me to keep turning pages. I just think that vampire is really good looking. 😉 Mitsuki can draw very attractive males. I do find her colored pieces really well composed, and I like the honeycomb motif she uses.

All in all, Honey Blood was a surprisingly pleasant read for me. I had low expectations for another supernatural shoujo vampire manga, and Mitsuki did a fine job of avoiding the typical tropes that would have made me toss this one aside. It’s different enough that I’m game for finishing the series now.

Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Even though it’s another vampire manga, go ahead and give it a shot. You might find yourself enjoying it more than you anticipated.

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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