Honey Lemon Soda Vol. 1 Review – Sparkly Sweet Romance

    Title: Honey Lemon Soda Vol. 1
    Author: Mayu Murata
    Release Date: January 17, 2023
    Publisher: Yen Press

Honey Lemon Soda, the long-awaited romance from Mayu Murata, is finally upon us! I admit that before this, I had little idea to no idea of what to expect. However, when I first saw the front cover and read the synopsis, I immediately felt a resemblance to Kimi ni Todoke, one of my other favorite manga, so naturally, I felt instantly that I’d undoubtedly enjoy it, but we shall see.

In Honey Lemon Soda, Ishimori Uka is our typical female protagonist of the genre; fifteen years old and starting her first week at high school, her crush from middle school, Miura Kai, splashes a whole bottle of soda on her by accident. Flustered by this for some reason, she runs away while apologizing. Ishimori-san is often bullied, and because she doesn’t want to bother others around her, she stands still, like a rock, without moving or talking.

Honey Lemon Soda Picture 1

This is where Kai and his group of friends give her a much-needed push so she can walk on the road to character development. Furthermore, we also see the start of how Kai and Uka’s relationship grows closer bit by bit while still having quite a lot of character development on Uka herself, which is relatively fast for a shoujo manga, too, honestly.

Many things happen in only a few chapters, but thanks to her efforts, she makes more friends and shows others who she truly is. Ishimori Uka is a socially awkward girl just having fun and finally trying to do everything she couldn’t yet with her new friends while dealing with the fluttering feelings her first love brings to her.

Honey Lemon Soda Picture 2

Still, let’s move on to Miura-Kun now, however. To put it simply, he is kind, but most of the time, he seems to have quite a short fuse, getting angry easily when something or someone annoys him, including Ishimori. His reactions are the most entertaining thing about reading for me, and I love his character so far; he is more complex and with so much potential.

Possibly my only gripe with this volume is how the story heavily relies on Kai to move forward. Honestly, if he weren’t in this story, I would’ve found it rather dull to continue. As much as the protagonist inspires many readers, she feels too boring for me. Sawako had unique character traits that made her interesting and compelling. Still, Uka is just a bland, socially awkward character created to be easily empathized with.

Honey Lemon Soda Picture 3

In short, Honey Lemon Soda Vol. 1 instantly starts with many ups and downs. It is also fast-paced, but that didn’t hurt the narrative. From its fantastic artwork, I can’t wait to read through more volumes of this manga, and I feel eager to learn more about Kai! Could it be that I have fallen in love with him as well?!


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