Viz Ongoing Series – Honey Hunt, Flower in a Storm, and Nana

Honey Hunt 5

Honey Hunt continues to be one of the best soap opera manga around. Yura is starting to gain recognition for herself as an actress as her new series debuts to great ratings. She runs off on a date with pop singer Q-Ta and her manager stays up all night calling her phone. Q-Ta’s attitude towards Yura continues to be basically selfish. He does seem to like her, but he wishes she would stop acting so she’d have more time to spend with him. He blurts out that he’s dating her on a national TV program, triggering the beginnings of a scandal. In contrast his brother Haruka genuinely admires Yura’s acting ability, notices her becoming more confident, and just wants her to succeed. Yura’s manager continues to act like a jealous schoolboy when Q-Ta is around, and the two men have sophisticated debates about Yura over the phone “She’s mine!” “I’m going to take her away from you!” As a shoujo heroine, Yura is a bit of a wimp but it is nice to see her so thrilled about the response to her acting career. Yura is delighted when fans recognize her on the street and call her by her own name, not referring to her as the child of famous parents. Some flashbacks showing the evilness of Yura’s mother inspire even more sympathy in the reader.

Flower in a Storm Volume 2

I think part of the reason why I like this short series is all the varied transportation options available to the characters. In this volume there’s a helicopter, motorcycle, horse, and a jetski. Two volume series generally seem a bit rushed to me, and there wasn’t much transition leading up towards the decision for Riko the girl with super physical abilities to start dating the heir to a megacorporation Ran. But there were some cute moments between them, like when Riko notices that Ran hasn’t eaten (he fears being poisoned) so she makes a snack for him herself. While the storyline might not be the most coherent, I appreciated the stylish art and the romance/action movie mash up vibe as Ran and Riko continue to fight of assassins and dream of a normal life together. I’m going to be on the lookout for more from Shigeyoshi Takagi if it is translated over here, I’m really curious to see what she do with with more space to develop a story.

Nana Volume 21

I’ve been putting off reading this since it is the last volume of Nana until Ai Yazawa is able to produce more chapters. There’s been a feeling of impending tragedy hovering over the past several volumes of Nana, and something irreversible finally happens in this volume. It isn’t necessarily a bad stopping point for the series, as the characters come together to deal with tragedy in their individual ways. Nana manages to display all the messy emotion that comes when facing a crisis. Even though there are unresolved storylines, I’m still left with a feeling of hope for Nana and Nana H. They’re such strong characters that I hope they’ll be able to support each other and move beyond the crisis somehow. Yazawa focuses on the small details of interaction that illuminate her characters’ personalities. Takumi yells at Nana H that she doesn’t know anything because she just stays home cooking all day, but grips her hand when he gets horrible news on the telephone. One of the things that’s good about such a long series is that the reader builds up a sense of shared history with the characters. When everything falls to pieces it makes it more interesting to see how everybody reacts and how the bonds of friendship are either made stronger or begin to fray.

Review copy of Nana provided by the publisher