Mei Sengoku is the captain of the kendo club at her school, and is known as a very strong person, physically and mentally. Her friend, Shirou Fuji, is a boy who acts like a girl, but says that he loves her. Mei is focused only on becoming stronger, but she is beginning to question what is most important after all.
Volume 2: Yoroshiku Brother?, Fuyuzora ni Hibiku
Volume 5: Android Box
Volume 9: Kaiki Youko no Kaiki na Ani-tachi
underneath the facade of a simple and adorable storyline lies a hidden message tactfully concealed by well-developed characters and a good sense of humour. This manga, under the disguise of a normal shoujo, subtly tackles the taboo subject of social norm and sexual individuality.
A feminine boy and masculine girl.
It's not typical for a shoujo manga to use these as their plot device, yet the author skillfully executes such a delicate subject in a fashionable and subtle manner.
It's also risk to touch such topic in the realm of shoujo, for its appeal on the target audience is less popular than your
Traditionally (and mostly supported by fairy tales), the knight in shining armour is supposed to be brave and strong to save the damsel in distress. A knight, a prince, a king, you name it. The roles of men have always been the saviour, the protector, the shield. Even with your typical character twists in this modern generation, men are the "devils", the "most popular guy in school", "the strongest delinquent", "the athlete" who eventually falls for the heroine and protects her from danger, like bees and thirsty bitches.
Mizutama Honey Boy shows you the exact opposite. A weak, physically-challenged hero who's extremely talented at sewing, cooking, and all the activities that "girls are supposed to be good at" is in love with our strong, six-packed, and stoic heroine.
The obvious clash of personalities makes a good comedy, but in reality, this comic relief hides the cunning true nature of the message behind it.
The main characters play a huge role in conveying a controversial issue in the real world, and they do so in a way that it's very hard to criticize, because they make really good points you can't easily shrug off.
All the other supporting characters play a significant role in bringing out the best in our protagonists, making them stand out among the rest of shoujo heroes and heroines.
Unlike other series on the same category *coughs*otomen*coughs*, this one doesn't have any direct antagonists who clearly opposes the protagonist's nature. Instead, there's the father, who obviously mourns for his son, but deep down it is shown that he has accepted his fate and the only thing he could do was cry about it. (Literally, every time you see him, he's crying)
The thing is, this will make you question the real world, 'what is wrong with defying societal standards? What is wrong with being a girly boy or a boyish girl? Just what is wrong with being yourself?' And the answer is right under our noses, and perhaps in this series.
What makes this story so unique is its compelling way of storytelling, like a children's picture book capable of educating people about intricate political and social issues, but in an ingenious way where children can still innocently enjoy and perhaps subconsciously learn from. It is devastating to see how underrated this series is, with so much potential in its daring material. It's definitely one of the hidden gems in shoujo manga.
All in all, Mizutama Honey Boy is not your typical fluffy mushy romance manga, yet it's capable of making you think it is.
Minor spoilers, no major plot spoilers. You'll get all I mean in the first chapter anyway.
32 chapters in, and I'm still very much enjoying it. Usually this is around the time when there's too much drama to move the plot along, or it gets too slow and boring. Personally, I feel none of this, and I'm happy just seeing the characters interact and progress at this pace.
I think the best thing about this manga is its characters. Girly guy and strong girl - it's not an uncommon idea, but these stories usually revolve around the guy learning to be more manly and the girl trying
to be more girlish. That's really not the case here - the characters are aware they are weird, but for the most part accept themselves. In the words of one of them, it doesn't matter even if they defy common sense. They don't try to change themselves for each other (though they do try to do more for each other), in fact our MC even claims to make the other fall in love with who he really is. It really brings across a positive message without us readers having to go through the whole drama as well.
The girly guy, Fuji, is truly a girly guy. He's not the typical girl-looking guy who gets teased for it and hates himself for that. He speaks girly, cross dresses randomly, goes kyaaa, cooks and sews better than you would, but definitely is a guy. There are times he acts more "manly" or "girly", but it never feels out of character for him. That's because while Fuji is a girly guy, that's not the extent of his character. That's a part of him sure, but he's more. I believe the first thing i was impressed with in this manga was how Fuji isn't just this shy girl type of character, far from it even. He can act all blushy like a maiden, but he's honest about his feelings and isn't afraid to chase after his girl. That's amazing. Also, he isn't a surprisingly manly man hiding behind his girly facade either - he doesn't suddenly turn into some strong guy that can defeat our strong girl MC. The manga stays within the boundaries of reasoning it laid out earlier, at least.
Sengoku is our strong girl MC. Captain of the kendo club, yadayada. The kind that'll have girls (sometimes guys) falling for her left and right (including our girly guy MC). She doesn't impress me as much as the male MC does, but she's not totally typical as well. Also, I especially like her reactions to Fuji being girly. Her deadpan or "ah, i see." expression is hilarious. She's awkward, but not as dense as the usual shoujo protagonist in her position, which is a plus. She has a personality, and isn't just some bland girl MC for the readers to self-insert themselves into, so it's all great.
The supporting characters are great too, and memorable. Nanao in particular, I can no longer imagine the manga without him. I look forward to him just popping out of nowhere all the time, and it really helps the overall mood of the manga as well. Also, drama involving the supporting characters don't drag on longer than needed, so it doesn't hurt the enjoyment of the series.
Plot wise, things don't move fast, as expected. It's somewhat slice of life while following the characters along with their ridiculous things, but things do progress a bit, or new characters are introduced. It doesn't test your patience much either, since there aren't the typical misunderstandings or usual terrible things. I would say it's overall slow but steady with a good deal of enjoyment and humour from the characters. The characters truly carry the manga here, so if you like them, you'll probably be enjoying the story.
Overall, a enjoyable, and often funny manga that really nails the characters imo. A really fun read with fun characters with a positive message of acceptance(that isn't really forced or in your face, either). With a touch of girly-guy fanservice if that's your thing (it's not my thing, but I always laugh at it so I do love it here). If you're looking for good lovable characters without too much drama, and just lots of fun around, Mizutama Honey Boy is a good choice to go with. Recommended!
Now that the manga's finished, I think I like it even more than I had when I originally wrote the review. Characters remain likable to the end, and it ends pretty satisfying for the most part. A lighthearted, healthy portrayal of a relationship is what you can expect at the end, and Sengoku and Fuji remain true to themselves while building something realistic and happy between them. Very nice. It's finally completed, so go read it!!
Edit 2: epilogue is up, and it was everything one could have asked for. Everyone gets their closure and it really reminds us of how colourful and likeable the cast is, plus lots of humor. Bumping rating to 9/10 for how honestly good it ended while also being an extremely fun ride all this time. I don’t think I have a single dissatisfaction at the end or felt anything could have been changed for the better, and that pretty much is the making of a perfectly endearing and memorable series.
Mizutama honey boy is so cuteeee~! *waiting patiently for updates* ARRGHHH can't take this anymore! haiyakuuu translator-san ; ~ ;! This manga has literally got me begging for more.
The story is about a girly guy and a warrior-like girl. I like their personalities because it's unique, I haven't seen any other manga like this. And omfg the chemistry progression *gets rabies*.
I felt like I was dying in their cuteness! Sengoku is a girl who I actually admire, because I most of the manga I read are about these girly types of girls, it's rare to find 10% manliness in them but Sengoku is like 90%
manly! Plus, she's really independant, which I admire. Fuji is also more girlish than the girls in the manga i've read XD (IMO).
I wish their chemistry progressed a lot faster though, like sure theres cute moments but I also feel like it needs to be progressed a lot faster. And that's pretty much all, I'd want for it to become a better manga.