Honey Hunt – Miki Aihara: Series Review

Honey Hunt is a title from Miki Aihara that ran in Japanese publication Cheese! from 2006-2009. The title was introduced to the states in Viz’s Shojo Beat publication in 2008 and was then released in 6 volumes up to 2010. In December 2009,  Aihara put the story on hiatus so that she could work on a newer series. Honey Hunt is an improvement from Aihara’s earlier series, but still remains a soap-opera style drama, addicting to read but with no resolutions, hard to enjoy.

The Gist: Yura Onozuka is the child of two celebrity parents. Her mother, Yukari Shiraki, is a famous actress, and her father, Takayuki Onozuka, is a world renowned musician. Neglected for most of her younger years, Yura is upset when her mother harshly announces the infidelity of her father and their impending divorce. She seeks comfort from her childhood friend and crush, only to discover that he is now her mother’s lover. She is given the choice to move in with her father and his pregnant mistress, or her mother, who is banging her crush. Desiring neither of these, Yura vents her anger at her parents on public television where she is scouted by her father’s former manager, Keiichi Mizorogi. Keiichi offers Yura a place to stay and suggests that she try getting revenge on her mother by out-classing her as an actress. In order to become known as an individual and not as the child of celebrities, Yura goes on auditions and eventually lands the lead in a daytime drama. In her new career she meets two aspiring celebrity brothers: Q-ta Minitami, singer and songwriter, and Haruka Minitami, actor and idol. Although at first attracted to Q-ta, Yuka finds herself co-starring with Haruka. Both Q-ta and Haruka make passes at Yura. Then Keiichi begins pulling her away in order to force Yura to prioritize her career. Torn between revenge on her mother and the promise of young love, Yura must make a choice between romance or her career.

R to L: Yura, Q-ta, Haruka, Keiichi

R to L: Yura, Q-ta, Haruka, Keiichi

The Characters/Romance: Yura Onozuka is not a very strong heroine. She seems like a puppet for Aihara to manipulate between the three male leads. Her neglectful childhood provides her very little self-confidence since she has been in her parents’ shadow most of her life. Her shyness and lack of confidence have her repeatedly failing auditions. Then it takes some advice from a cute guy for her to come out of her funk and actually land a part. I think if she could meet up with Kyoko Mogami from Skip Beat, then Kyoko could whip her wimpy butt into shape and get her head straightened out when it comes to the guys. But I digress.

Q-ta is the first twin Yura meets when she is being hit on by guys at a party. When he discovers who her father is, he stupidly proposes saying that he would love to be Onozuka’s son-in-law. Of course this plants the seed of doubt for their future relationship, with Yura always questioning whether Q-ta cares about her for herself, or if he just wants to get closer to her dad. Believe me, he does some pretty stupid things that support this theory, so it’s no surprise that their relationship suffers for it. However, Q-ta is the person that Yura goes running to whenever she has problems.

Haruka is introduced when Yura receives her first role. Haruka is cast as her co-star. Ironically Q-ta is writing the music for the drama, so all three are in on the meeting when they first meet. When Haruka finds out that his brother has already met Yura, he decides to push his buttons by stealing her first kiss right there in the meeting when they are introduced. Even though Yura has eyes for Q-ta, Haruka covets what his brother has attracted, and wishes for Yura to admire him as well. His little plan to attract her attention works, but only temporarily. Haruka is frustrated by his brother’s relationship with Yura, because he believes his brother doesn’t see her celebrity potential. Haruka, who works alongside her, feels that he knows her better, and what will make her happier.

Keiichi Mizorogi is Yura’s manager, but he himself has feelings towards Yura. He at first forbids her to have a relationship with either of the Minitami brothers because he wants her to focus on her career. At least that’s what he tells himself. But that may not be the real reason behind him wanting to keep the other boys away. Yura seems him as a father or uncle figure. When he accepts this, he eventually gives in to her requests to date Q-ta.

Of the three guys Aihara dangles in from of Yura, I think Haruka is the best character. Q-ta seems too self-aggressive, only caring for his own career and feelings. Keiichi seems to want to help Yura out, but he also has some self ambitions at play. Haruka seems the most genuine of the three. He actually considers what would make Yura happy as well as his own feelings. There really is very little depth to these characters. The only one we have background on is Yura. Aihara makes it known that the boys are not on the best of terms, but does not reveal to the audience why. This makes for very shallow developments. Moving from one encounter to the next makes for a loose storyline that doesn’t seem to have a definitive outcome yet. It feels like Aihara did not have a conclusion in mind when writing this series, and it suffers for it. Or maybe she just sucks at writing conclusions? I can only make that guess based on reading this series and Hot Gimmick, so let me know if you’ve read another series of Aihara’s that ends well.

Brotherly competition - it's all fun!

Brotherly competition - it's all fun!

The Art: Fine line art and character designs highlight the series as Miki Aihara’s work. Dramatic lighting and toning play well towards the mood of the story. The paneling is easy to follow and understand. The colored pieces I’ve seen consist of title pages and wallpapers for this series. Aihara’s style still gives me a retro vibe.

The Audience: Honey Hunt would be considered appropriate for teens. There is kissing and suggested intimacy but nothing racy, so it gets a steamy rating.

The Media: Honey Hunt is available in the states from Viz media up to volume 6. No idea if the rest will ever get written.

Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥

The characters are an improvement from Hot Gimmick, however I don’t particularly like where the story left off. I’m not sure if it will ever get an official ending, so at this point, I’d only recommend it if you are interested in Miki Aihara’s work.

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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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  • Are there any updates to if she will ever finish this story?

    • None that I have ever come across. She’s been working on From 5 to 9 for the last 7 years. I get the feeling this story has been abandoned? Who knows? It’s her work and she could return to it some day.

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