Honey So Sweet is every bit as adorable as its name. Nao Kogure is a shy girl, orphaned at a young age and raised by her uncle. She is shocked when during the second week of school the delinquent Taiga Onise asks her to date him “with marriage in mind” and hands her a bouquet of flowers. Everyone is wary of Onise with his dyed hair, piercings, and fearsome reputation.
Kogure is too afraid to say no to him so she accepts his offer, hoping only to be boring enough that he’ll eventually give up on her. Kogure soon learns that Onise’s reputation owes more to rumor and “resting bitchface” than to any actual lawbreaking. In reality he’s incredibly kind and has a heart of gold, helping elderly teachers and rescuing turtles.
But dating a delinquent has its drawbacks. Kogure finds herself ostracized from the rest of her class and it’s not until a team-building field trip that she makes a couple of other friends, neither of whom are exactly popular. At least it’s a start. In one of the more contrived bits of storytelling Kogure keeps wondering why she blushes around Onise and insists that they are “just friends” despite the fact that her real feelings are obvious to everyone.
It’s an adorable storyline, and Meguro’s art is every bit as adorable. Delicate linework and big eyes seem to be a throwback to the late 80s, early 90s style of shojo. It’s also nice to see an artist that lets their work look like it was drawn by a human being, unlike the overly polished art that’s so common in big magazines. The character designs are very cute, especially Kogure with her wide-eyed innocence.
Unfortunately, Meguro isn’t so good at making characters look distinct: in one scene Onise sprays his hair black and puts on glasses (in an attempt to look “normal”), after which he is a dead ringer for Kogure’s young uncle. And the second boy character in the manga looks like a gender swapped Kogure with lighter hair. Nitpicking aside, Honey So Sweet is a near perfect sugary treat for fans of sweet romance.
story and art: Amu Meguro