Fifteen-year-old Ishimori Uka is a very shy girl that can't stand being in front of someone. One day she meets a boy on the streets who's just as refreshing as lemon soda. He helped her when she was bullied and that boy made her wanting to change so she can properly express herself.
I am shocked that this adorable manga has not received a single review yet! I am fairly sure that this manga is quite popular, yet I haven't seen much hype or reviews so I shall start one now.
Plot (8/10): This manga is almost a replica of Kimi Ni Todoke, story wise. This manga is about a girl name Uka Ishimori who is constantly misunderstood and bullied for her odd behavior of freezing at a presence of someone else. Uka desperately wants to change herself and dreams of having longtime friends. She believed that what she was striving for was an impossible dream, until she
met the main male lead, Kai Miura. Yes, this is a story of the typical shy girl receiving help from the popular, standing out dude just like Kimi Ni Todoke. If you really liked Kimi ni Todoke setting and storyline, then look no further. Honey Lemon Soda not only focuses on the romance between the shy girl and the popular guy, but this manga showcases Uka's growth and willpower to overcome bullying, weaknesses, and tough goals.
Art (9/10): The art is gorgeous. Whenever Uka or Kai smiles, it's just so pleasing to look at.
Characters (9/10): At first, I was worried about Uka in the beginning of the manga. She is the typical, shy, good-natured, and sensitive shoujo lead. But boy was I glad that this manga proved me wrong. Although she does get saved by Kai plenty of times in the manga, she knows how to defend herself and have a strong mentality. Seriously, I get easily impatient with shoujo leads lately and their constant whining/crying/misunderstanding. But Uka is a composed, reasonable, and selfless character that made this series much more enjoyable. Of course, she doesn't start out this way, and reading her grow into such a strong character is a refreshing feeling. And when she does do typical cliches habits such as running away in embarrassment, she improves flaws and ceases these actions. As for my final thoughts on Uka... she just deserves everything cause she's such a pure, strong girl.
The main male lead is also quite different. He definitely has a soft side, but he's no good guy like Kazehaya from Kimi ni Todoke. It's kind of hard to describe his character because he's a mystery to all the other characters and the readers. However, he is a strong support for Uka, and not only does he develop Uka's character, but Uka also helps him grow. And yes, he is dreadfully handsome and many girls fawn over him.
I would have given the character rating a 10 if this manga didn't mess up on one thing: the side characters. I was pretty excited to learn about Uka and Kai's friend group, but they were pretty much ignored for a good chunk of time. I don't even remember their names (sadly) but I am interested in their characters.
Another positive aspect of the characters is the love rival role. The main love rival was actually incredibly likable and sweet. Usually in other shoujo mangas, the love rival has ulterior motives, is manipulative, and sometimes just plain annoying. However, I really appreciated the change and how the love rival didn't cause too much drama or cause tension. A bit of spoiler, but to have a good taste of the love rival, Serina dumped water on her friends when they started to bad mouth Uka in front of everyone. Serina had no ulterior motives to look "good" in front of Kai or because she wanted to have a good reputation, but she really was pissed that her friends would straight out bully her classmate.
Enjoyment (10/10) : I think I may have ranted a bit too much of the character category, but really, this was an enjoyable manga. Although this may be similar to Kimi -ni Todoke, I personally enjoyed Honey Lemon Soda more. This series may not be as fluffy, but the characterization, development, and lack of drama are there. While the romance doesn't immediately happen (you have to be a patient person haha), there are many adorable moments in this manga that can make for it. It's sometimes funny to read because whenever there is a potential cliche moment that makes you cringe, Uka disproves the readers by taking a REASONABLE action that prevents the infuriating drama that it could have caused.
Anyway, this is a sweet manga that you should definitely read. The manga offers a slow-paced romance, inspiring characters, and a lesson to never give up as well as finding an everlasting bond between friends.