Direction: Right to Left
by: Renee Roszel (original Storey), Kako Ito (Manga Adaption)
Publisher: Harlequin K.K./SOFTBANK Creative Corp.
Genre: Romance. Josei
Hannah threw her letter of resignation at her boss, who called her "below average." Still full of hurt, she visits the Blue Moon Inn, where the inn owner suggests she take a walk in the garden. That night was the night of the blue moonâ€”the second full moon of the month. Under the magical moonlight reflected on the derelict stone-walled church, a rude yet sexy man suddenly appears. To Hannah’s astonishment, it is her offensive former boss, Roth Jerric! Why would fate punish her like this?
Hannah Hudson, our heroin. Sheâ€™s a typical Mills and Boon girl. She gives everything to a guy she likes, realises sheâ€™s been used and leaves. Everything about her is â€˜typicalâ€™, with nothing special. However this character is the staple of Mills and Boon romance novels, so you expect it. As such itâ€™s easy to grow to like her.
Joan Peterson, out motherly figure for the volume. I really liked her absent minded personality. Though I do wonder if her getting Jerricâ€™s name wrong all the time was deliberate. She brings a sense of fun to the volume and acts as a counter to all the fighting that goes on. Sheâ€™s bright, loveable, and the type of granny everyone (well, me at least) wants.
Roth Jerric, our male protagonist. Heâ€™s got a whole rich brat vibe going on, which he earned the hard way. Heâ€™s brusque, secretive, and initially a fairly decent character. However I didnâ€™t really like the way he was used in the series, it lacks polish and direction at times.
Deacon Vance was, I feel, supposed to be a rival for Roth. Sadly he was never really built up on, and while he starts of being a rival he ends up just fading into the background. Which was a bit disappointing. Personality wise he was a good character, bright, happy and willing to help others. Dedicated to his job as sheriff, but still able to help out and feel others pain and happiness. This was shown towards the middle of the volume, and I really wished he was the love interest.
The story starts off pretty well, with an interesting introduction to our heroine, Hannah, though a bit clichÃ©. The story is extremely fast paced with no real sense of time passage. The only way we know time has passed is because we get told itâ€™s passed/ Given how short this manga is thatâ€™s to be expected, though I prefer time passage to be shown.
The problem with this manga is due to itâ€™s length. If we had a more standard sized volume, running to 190 or so pages, things could have been handled better. However as it is the character developments of Roth is horrendous. he flips back and forth between likeable and hated.
Also the way he acts and reacts through the volume just doesn’t make much sense to me, he never really acts like a loveable character, or a character a girl would fall in love with. Rather I got the impression that heâ€™s likely to get women to hate him the way he acts.
Deacon however is everything you need in a love interest. He was well built with a handsome character design, polite and courteous, and willing to help where he can. Yet at the same time heâ€™s strong, determined and dedicated, itâ€™s a shame he was just abandoned in the story, especially after he was built up to be Rothâ€™s love rival. I think they realised he would have a bigger following than the lead.
Despite Roth being a bad character, I did enjoy the story, tit makes good use of the genre clichÃ©’s and while they should be tired, I found I did like the the story. Hannah and Joan are what saved it for me. Hannah going from the wishy washy rug she was, to being a strong and dedicated woman out to help people. The way she changes is handled really well in the volume, and while it is done a bit to fast, we at least get to see her change.
Joan doesn’t change really, but then she isnâ€™t meant to. Sheâ€™s the catalyst that changes Hannah and gives her change direction. I really liked the character Kako captures the feel of loveable grandmother perfectly.
The other area I liked was the art, which does have some stunning settings in it. Kako really spent time drawing the garden which I found beautiful. Only one thing would have made it better, if it had been in full colour.
Harlequin have obviously listened to what reviewers have said since the editing of this volume is greatly improved over previous volumes I’ve read. Gone are the to small or to large text, gone are the over justified text boxes. The text this time has a more natural flow to it.
The font used is a bit to big still, and as a result it overruns the bubbles a lot, but thatâ€™s a minor issue I think and one they can easily fix. My only real gripe with Harlequin is that the volumes are to short. These really are â€˜Bite Size Mangaâ€™, that you can read in a few minutes. This isnâ€™t necessarily a bad thing, I just feel that titles such as this one, could have been better if they had been longer.
While this wasnâ€™t a great read, it is a good one and worth reading. Also since itâ€™s bite sized itâ€™s one you can read when on a coffee break or something. Harlequin do seem to be learning the western manga market well, and I’m looking forward to what they come out with in the future.