Ryu’s Musings – 4 Harlequin eManga mini’s

Posted on November 14th, 2011 by Ryu Sheng |

Notice: All Harlequin titles are only available on the eManga website. There are to date no printed page versions, and no plans for printed versions either. Clicking the cover images will take you to the relevant eManga page.

italian Language: English
Direction: Right to Left
Pages: 128
by: Takako Hashimoto (Art), Rebecca Winters (Original Story)
Publisher: Harlequin K.K
Type: One-Shot 
Genre: Josei, Drama, Romance

Synopsis:

Cesar de Falcon is the star of the F1 racing world. With an unparalleled skill behind the wheel, he captivated his fans and was the object of women’s desires around the world. This was how Sarah remembered her ex-lover. But now, after a horrific accident, it appears he will not recover from his injuries and he sinks into a pit of despair. When Sarah visits Cesar in the hospital, he is less than happy to see her. He is still angry that she left him with no explanation. But Sarah has come to explain things to him, because what she has to say might give Cesar a reason to live again…

I found this one a little on the weak side, as I was reading the volume I didn’t really feel anything for the characters.

Cesar fails to be an involving male lead. Rather he comes off as dull, cold and frankly rather pathetic. Over the course of the volume I did warm to him a little, as the back story was revealed, but by then to much of an impression had been made on me, so he never really grew on me.

While the reasoning behind things was pretty clear, and even understandable, something about him just made me want to lock him in the cellar and throw away the key.

Sarah was pretty much the same as well, though she wasn’t the usual ugly girl whose actually pretty. While I never really hated the story, equally there was nothing special to make it memorable.

Harlequin have come a long way since their first bumbling efforts into digital manga. This release show cases the fact that they listened to feed back and learned. The editing was clear and crisp, as was the formatting. Overall a very credible effort.

 

00 Language: English
Direction: Right to Left
Pages: 128
by: Natsue Ogoshi (Art), Vicki Lewis Thompson (Original Story)
Publisher: Harlequin K.K
Type: One-Shot 
Genre: Josei, Drama, Romance

Synopsis:

Enjoying a gorgeous single lifestyle with lots of encounters in the big city! That was Trudy the country girl’s reason for coming to New York. To have metropolitan romances with all the men that aren’t around in her small town. To keep her from getting into trouble, her friends introduce Linc as a "bodyguard" until she gets used to life in the city. As a playboy who’s grown tired of the romantic chase, he’s the perfect practice boyfriend who’ll make her into a confident, sophisticated cosmopolitan!

I have to admit my initial reaction to this was not good. Something about Trudy’s design made me cringe. However, her personality shone through and more than made up for this. Over the course of the volume I found myself getting dragged along by her bubbly outgoing adventures, and even rooting for the relationship to work out. Some of her one liners were just hilarious, and so perfect for her to say, and the setting. While her “bumpkin” status was prevalent through out the volume it was never over used, and frankly added to the hilarity.

Linc made for an excellent counter point to Trudy, and she needed it. Because of her personality, she needed someone to add a counter weight to her, and he does it perfectly. Like Trudy his “rich boy” status is played really well, and the little rivalries between the two characters was just amazingly well done.

The resolution was a bit clichéd but I can live with that, because I loved reading it!

I wasn’t keen on Natsue’s character designs, especially for Trudy, her hair just made me want to send her to a salon, she reminded me of a female Hagrid at times, but that’s just a minor thing, overall I like the way she drew the other characters.

Once again I didn’t find anything wrong with the formatting or editing of the volume, it was easy and smooth to read.

 

02 Language: English
Direction: Right to Left
Pages: 128
by: Yukako Midori (Art), Cathy Williams (Original Story)
Publisher: Harlequin K.K
Type: One-Shot 
Genre: Josei, Drama, Romance

Synopsis:

"Your father embezzled company money. Marry me if you don’t want me to disclose it." Four years ago, Isobel married a man she didn’t love without telling the truth to Lorenzo, who she truly loved. Soon after her husband dies in a traffic accident, Lorenzo appears! He went to the U.S. after they broke up and has achieved great success. He now offers to acquire Isobel’s father’s company, which is in financial difficulty! "I rejected him four years ago. Is this his revenge?"

I wasn’t sure what to make of this one. It had potential, but Yukako never really brought it out. Characters wise I can’t really remember much about them, which says it all IMO.

The characters never really had a personality, and frankly Lorenzo needed a kick in the arse. It was easy to understand why he was the way he was, but the way it was dragged on was just to much. Better flow, and more emotions would have made for a better story.

Isobel was a fairly decent character, but her personality was smothered by Lorenzo’s. Just when you get into her, along he came and ruined the atmosphere.

Overall, not one of the better releases, and probably the worst of the four here.

 

03 Language: English
Direction: Right to Left
Pages: 128
by: Marito Ai (Art), Diana Palmer (Original Story)
Publisher: Harlequin K.K
Type: One-Shot 
Genre: Josei, Drama, Romance

Synopsis:

It is McKenzie who consoles Natalie at Age 17 when the devastating news of her boyfriend’s death strikes her. Seemingly indifferent to her until then, her older neighbour makes her lose herself with a strong embrace and a hot stirring kiss! That one kiss leaves her in a shock as if her entire body has been seared with his seal. Then he says, "Don’t forget. I am going to show you what comes next."

If the previous volume was the worst of the four, this is by far the best of the four.

The characters in this volume had everything they needed. Good personality, free flowing story, and a fairly decent art style. Natalie is a great character, she has a bit of naivety, but it’s not annoying or oppressive, rather it’s at a level that actually fits perfectly with her personality.

While this is a love story, that aspect takes a semi-back seat for most of the volume. Instead it seems to focus more on the personalities of the characters and their relationships.

Natalie and Vivian’s relationship is a great focus, over the course of the volume we see them fight, fall out and become enemies. Yet always in the back ground is the relationship between Natalie and McKenzie. I loved the balance and flow of the story, and when things started to come to a conclusion I was fingers crossed the guy would save the day.

McKenzie made a great male lead, and I liked the way he acted and reacted to things. Learning about his past, and why he’s sworn never to marry was a great way of stopping the rising feelings of annoyance over the way he did a few things. Once the history is revealed though it was done at just the right time.

I have to admit I think Harlequin are doing really well with their releases these days. It’s great to see a company listening to feed back and adapting for the better, rather than being arrogant and pretending nothings wrong. Now they just need to do the last jump and release them on eBook form as well. Would love to have a Harlequin collection on my kindle.

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