Honey Blood is a short, 2 volume series (with an extra volume of short stories) that unfortunately was ended in Japan before the story could be fully explored. The artwork is lovely but we do have a story that has been told often in manga. With uneven characterization/writing, this story of a mature male vampire and teen love interest can be a bit frustrating.
Story: Hinata attends a catholic girls school and is a pragmatist at heart. When a famous author of vampire novels moves in to the old house next door, Hinata finds herself caught in a web of intrigue. Is her neighbor a vampire as in his stories – and are those stories a biography of his own life? Or is her imagination seeing things that don’t exist? But at the same time, who is responsible for a string of attacks against young girls in her neighborhood – attacks that leave the girls alive but drained of blood?
Honey blood has a mature character in the vampire Junya Tokinaga. He dresses and lives very traditionally – a foil for Hinata who is a thoroughly modern girl. Most of the first volume is about Tokinaga teasing and baiting Hinata and he feels more like a thirty year old than someone purportedly in his 20s. Hinata is inexplicably curious about him; honestly, from her character set up, I would have expected her to wash her hands of the ‘weirdo next door’ and ignored the whole situation. But most of the book is her going over to his house alone.
The conceit of the novel is that the kiss of a vampire ties him to one person forever; he will only ever be sated on her blood. Tokinaga tells this to Hinata many times and she reads it in the stories he writes. But in what is a very quick resolve (bordering on insta-luv), Hinata goes from skeptical and disgusted with Tokinaga’s licentious ways (he keeps a beautiful blood thrall at the house) to suddenly sure she is completely in love with him. I found this rather abrupt development hard to believe since we never saw any interesting side of Tokinaga to engender that strength of feeling. In this, I felt Miko Mitsuki’s work a bit weak and the characters fairly unlikeable. Hinata spends most of the time insulting Tokinaga quite vocally to him and others. The vampire spends most of the time making innuendos and looking down upon the stubborn girl. And in between she’s deciding he’s cute after all and she loves him. It’s quite meandering.
Because this is a short series, it does have a fairly open ending. The author has promised to give her intended ending one day, though, and perhaps that will tie this up better. For me, it was just too inconsistent and with unlikeable characters.
Reviewed from an ARC.