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Honey Hunt volume 5 by Miki Aihara (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 13, 2010 by  



More surprises are in store in the latest volume of “Honey Hunt”.  If you are a J-Pop or entertainment/pop culture fan, you will definitely want to pick up Miki Aihara’s “Honey Hunt”!  It’s addicting, emotional, dramatic, fun and just a wonderful manga series worth checking out!

Image courtesy of © Miki AIHARA/Shogakukuan, Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Honey Hunt Vol. 5

STORY AND ART BY: Miki Aihara (相原実貴)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shojo Beat

RATED: T for Older Teen

As Yura’s friends gather to celebrate the premiere of the first episode of her TV show, she’s nowhere to be seen. Having taken up Q-ta’s offer of a hot springs vacation, Yura finds herself alone with him in a luxurious hotel room. Is she prepared to go all the way with Q-ta, or will her manager Mizorogi spoil the fun once again…?

For J-Pop fans, whenever you can find manga that showcases Japanese dramas and Japanese music, it’s a rarity.  But for Miki Aihara, her last four volumes of “Honey Hunt” is a solid manga series that revolves around Japanese entertainment and pop culture.

I really enjoyed Miki Aihara’s “Hot Gimmick” manga series and I’m enjoying “Honey Hunt” even more.  Mainly because it is less dysfunctional and because the storyline revolves around the Japanese entertainment industry.

With a total of four volumes now available in the US courtesy of Viz Media under its Shojo Beat imprint, volume 5 is now here and the storyline starts to heat up even more because, not only is there a love triangle, now it seems there is a love square and possibly three guys vying for Yura’s attention.

For those not familiar with “Honey Hunt”, the manga series focuses on Yura Onozuka, a daughter of the very popular and beautiful actress Yukari Shiraki and popular musician Takayuki Onozuka, the first Japanese to win an Academy Award. Yura is quite normal and despite being the daughter of a popular actress and musician, she does not hone their entertainment skills and there is a lot of pressure and expectation from her teachers and students at school because of her talented parents.

While her father is staying in New York and her mother is always working, Yura confides to her friend/tutor Shin. Her best friend and a guy she thinks she’s attracted to. One time, while both were watching an interview on television with Yura’s mother Yukari, she sees how talented of an actress she is because she is able to lie about being a great mother despite having a busy schedule as an actress.

We seen Yura’s life made upside down with her mother’s announcement that she is divorcing her father. To make things even worst, her mother is sleeping with the guy that she likes. So, An infuriated Yura promises herself that she will get back at her mother, by being a better actress than her. And under the direction of her father’s manager Keiichi Mizorogi, Yura scores her first major part and that is for a major ramen commercial. In volume 2, Yura begins her try at acting and scores an audition for a popular ramen company which she gets the part.

The problem is Yura has her first reading for a drama based on her ramen character and she reads with major actress Rinko Koizumi (who doesn’t like Yura, because of her mother). While this is happening, we start to see Q-ta Minamitani (the popular singer of the music group Assha) starting to develop feelings for Yura while his rival/brother Haruka (popular singer of the idol group KNIGHTS) who is in the same commercial with Yura, doesn’t like all the attention she gives to Q-ta. With both brothers taking an interest in Yura, her manager Keiichi who is putting all his time and energy in making Yura a star has had enough. He now wants to make sure that Yura does not have any distractions but can he prevent Yura in seeing Q-ta?

And at the end of volume 4, Yura decides to leave with Q-ta without her manager knowing and lies to him.  Will their be ramifications for her lying to Keiichi?

Volume 5 shows us what happens when Yura runs off with Q-ta for the night but most of all, the question of why Yura’s mother is so cold to her is finally revealed in this new fifth volume of “Honey Hunt”.

Here is a spoiler-less summary of each chapter of “Honey Hunt” Vol. 5:

  • CHAPTER 20 – Yura has run out with Q-ta for the entire night and Yura’s manager Keiichi is starting to worry.
  • CHAPTER 21 – Yura returns back home but will her manager be upset with her?
  • CHAPTER 22 – Yura’s drama ratings have surpassed her mother and now her mother is starting to worry.  The real reason why Yura’s mother despises Yura is revealed.
  • CHAPTER 23 – Yura gets offered a new drama job but now her career may come to a halt when Q-ta does something that no one expects on live TV.
  • CHAPTER 24 – The ramifications of Q-ta’s announcement is felt and Yura is shocked how it will affect her career.  Meanwhile, Q-ta’s brother Haruka is upset that his brother would try to damage Yura’s career.

Wow!  This fifth volume of “Honey Hunt” was very dramatic but as expected from Miki Aihara manga, there is always a love triangle…but a love square?  This will be interesting.

But I have to admit that the biggest shocker was in regards to Yura’s mother and beautiful actress Yukari Shiraki.  After reading this chapter of how Yura was mistreated, emotionally abused by her mother and made to feel like she was nothing and would do anything to hurt her daughter (not physically) was a big shock and if anything, I can see readers really getting behind Yura’s character and hoping that Yura surpasses her mother.  The revelation of how Yura was treated as a child and even called stupid and dumb by her own mother and her saying that in public was a shocker but the reasoning behind it was surprising.  I never expected it and once again, Miki Aihara continues to pull of the surprises!

If you have invested your time in reading of this manga, you definitely get a good idea of how things are in the Japanese entertainment industry and for those who do follow J-Pop stars and why relationships are usually squashed by the management, this latest volume can show how relationships for younger talent can easily cause problems.  May it be one aligned with a rival advertiser or competitor or whichever it may be, Yura is going to have to learn quick and I like how Aihara wrote the chapter about ramifications, responsibility and how her manager once again, saves her.

As for the artwork and character designs, I really enjoy Miki Aihara’s artwork on her previous manga series “Hot Gimmick!” and “Honey Hunt” is no exception. Also, the way that Miki Aihara draws the characters and incorporates that modern Tokyo street style into character’s fashion is pretty cool and I dig that!

Overall, “Honey Hunt” volume 5 is another captivating, deeply emotional but addicting volume that is definitely recommended!

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