June 21, 2012
Norikazu Akira – SuBLime – 2012 – 1 volume
I was happy to get a chance to read this! There’s a print edition, but you can also read it over at the SuBLime website. I tried another volume by Norikazu Akira, Beast & Feast, and despite having a promising cover and premise (which is basically all you need in a BL book), and great interior art, it didn’t really strike me. This one was a bit better, despite not really being my flavor, and I still really like her art.
The couple is simple-minded Chihiro and serious veterinarian Kumazawa. Chihiro finds himself without direction, going from job to job and wondering what to do with his life. He adopts a kitten, which gives him some pleasure, but is devastated when he comes home from work and finds it sick. He rushes over to a veterinarian, Kumazawa, who chastises him for being lackadasical enough to let the kitten get so sick. Chihiro is sobered by the incident, and winds up working for Kumazawa at his clinic. The thing is, with no veterinarian training, Chihiro is working as Kumazawa’s wife (bet you didn’t see that coming!). He does the cooking and cleaning in exchange for room and board for him and his kitten. The two grow fond of each other, and the whole thing is rather happy and hand-hold-y.
Usually, such sweet stories aren’t much my flavor unless they have excellent characters or are genuinely funny. Honey Darling is neither of these things, but it’s fun enough that I enjoyed it anyway. There are lots of “wife” jokes made before the romance even develops, and plenty of comparing the unmotivated Chihiro to the lazy cat, Shiro. That’s only to be expected. I did like how everyday life and Chihiro’s struggle to find himself took priority over the romance, which was put off almost until the end of the book. I also liked that most of what takes place happens in short chapters. It helps the pacing.
Most of all, though, I like Norikazu Akira’s art. She has a somewhat manlier style than what is popular in BL now, especially concerning the good Doctor Kumazawa. It’s quite slick and modern-looking, but aside from those adjectives, I lack any other way to describe how it differs from the usual shoujo/bishounen style you find in many BL books. It’s just better.
Again, I have a taste for darker stories than this, and knowing how happy and sweet this one is, I definitely just happened to be in the right mood when I read it, as it would normally not be something I like. But if you enjoy the light stuff, even a little, and even only occasionally, this one’s worth a look. Again, I love Akira’s art, and there’s a lot of good stuff going on in here. It’s not a run-out-and-buy-it-immediately book, but I like this kind of book for a late night weekend read.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.