Shojo Beat Quick Takes – Honey So Sweet Vol. 5 and My Love Story!! Vol. 11

Kicking off the week of Valentine’s Day by reading some shoujo manga seemed like a good idea! Honey So Sweet and My Love Story!! are some of the most adorable and cute manga currently being published. Both couples in this series are in more established relationships, so it is interesting to see how the series continue to develop these romances.

Honey So Sweet Volume 5 by Amu Meguro

Christmas dates are a staple plot element in shoujo manga. In this case Nao and Taiga plan on getting together, but their solo date plans are quickly derailed when their entire group of friends decides that a Christmas party is happening. While everyone does have fun, it turns out that Futami decides to employ some social pressure to make sure that Nao and Taiga get some alone time. Hence, a scene of fierce blushing as the young couple is painfully aware that they are at last alone with each other. Other than blushes and some hand holding, nothing happens because Taiga’s mom suddenly returns home and embarks on a fierce examination of her son’s new girlfriend.

The artwork shifts from the general wispy and feminine style Meguro usually employs into some panels with dark screentone and bold fierce lettering as Taiga’s mom demands that the couple break up. Aggressive mothers are no match for Nao’s earnestness, as she proclaims that she loves Taiga and is determined to stay in the relationship. They then bond over Taiga’s embarrassing childhood photo albums. Nao also has to repair her relationship with her uncle and guardian Sou after accidentally staying out all night. While Sou denies being angry while acting passive aggressive and Nao decides that she’ll avoid the situation as much as she can, it takes a moment of insight and extraordinary emotional intelligence from Taiga for things to get back to normal.

A shoujo series that only focuses on the main couple gets boring fast, which is why this volume emphasizing relationships with parents or parent-like figures along with the regular romance ensures that the series as a whole continues to be entertaining.

My Love Story!! Volume 11 by Kazune Kawahara and Aruko

First of all, the skewed Sleeping Beauty illustration on this volume is hilarious. This is one of my favorite shoujo manga currently being translated just because it raises the bar so much for any series attempting to be both sweet and hilarious at the same time. At this point, Takeo and Rinko haven’t seen each other very much, but they are about to be thrown in close proximity due to some coinciding class trips.

Takeo is freaking out about his ability to control his romantic urges, while Rinko keeps not so innocently popping up in his personal space. As always in My Love Story!! there’s plenty of comedic tension but the couple ends up talking things through to smooth over any awkwardness. The next story in this volume focuses on a scenario where Takeo and Rinko try to learn more about each other’s hobbies. Takeo attempts to make pancakes with results that end up carbonized while Rinko starts running around to boxing gyms because she wants to learn how to do feats of strength. Takeo ends up training her in tumbling techniques, and the scenes showing his intensity with constant frowning and fire burning in the background and her determined attempts to be a good student are fun to read. I always put this manga down feeling like I’m in a better mood, and what more could someone want out of some leisure reading?

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