Manga Review: Beauty Bunny V 1 by Mari Yoshino

Probably Contains Spoilers

I recently subscribed to Comixology Unlimited because there are several Harlequin manga titles that I haven’t read yet. At 7 bucks a month, I figure if I read 2 graphic novels a month, it’s worth the expense. While browsing through the manga titles, I noticed Beauty Bunny. I have never heard of this one before, so I clicked the Borrow button. I think I made a mistake.

This is a high school romance. I think. I hesitate to call it that because the love interest, Iori, constantly berates Kohane, the heroine, and calls her ugly. Many, many times. In class, and in front of their peers. That’s just crappy. From the moment this pretentious prick made his first snotty appearance, I wondered at the wisdom of continuing my read through. Turns out that this beauty makeover themed story is most likely not for me.

Kohane discovers, to her dismay, that she and her mother will be moving back to Tokyo from their rural home in Hokkaido. She is concerned about having to start all over again in high school, but her mother is determined to be the best hostess in Ginza, so Kohane has no say in the matter. Mika, Kohane’s mom, is obsessed with makeup and fashion, while Kohane is – not.

Kohane’s first day at school turns out to be a disaster. Class hottie #1 Otohiko, is a nice guy who proves to be helpful to the new girl. Class hottie #2, Iori, turns out to be a pain in the ass. When Kohane accidently sits in his seat, Iori promptly turns the full force of his wrath on her. Iori is the son of a cosmetics empire family, so the girls in his class all line up for his judgement on their makeup every day. Kohane is not interested in makeup because she thinks she’s unattractive – and because she and her mother are always over-extended because her mom is a spendthrift.

When Mika is fired from her job, and then spends their food money for the month, Kohane goes to grovel to her boss to give her job back. The boss is, big surprise, a big jerk, and he also calls Kohane ugly. Then a beautiful young woman, the daughter of the cosmetics empire family and Iori’s sister, appears and whisks Kohane away. Before you can blink, Iori is there, giving Kohane a makeover. And guess what!? She’s gorgeous! Of course she is!

Okay, there are a few things that really bug me about this manga. The first is the fixation on looks and that the “right” expensive cosmetics are a woman’s best friend. Iori couldn’t have cared less about Kohane until after he gives her a makeover, and then, zing. Nah, I’m just not buying it.

The next is what is up with Iori pretending to be his sister? I guess I’m kind of interested in that, but I am skeptical that nobody has figured out that this famous model is really a guy? And not the sister? It looks like a love triangle shaping up between Iori and Otohiko, and I am so not a fan of those, so that’s another strike against Beauty Bunny. And let’s not get into the whole bunny/slave thing that Kohane thinks she’s tied herself up in. There were no negotiations prior to the makeover, so why Kohane thinks that she’s signed her soul away is beyond me. 

I did really like the art. It’s pretty and expressive. The backgrounds are pretty basic, without a lot of detail to get in the way of the story. But after finishing the first volume of Beauty Bunny, that’s about as positive as I can get. This is a Kodansha Digital First title, so unless this is eventually published in print and acquired by the library, I doubt that I will be continuing it. Next!

Grade: 2.75 stars

Review copy borrowed using Comixology Unlimited

About the book:

Kohane Yuzuhara is a 17-year-old high-school student who doesn’t have any interest in makeup. When her mom whisks her away on a sudden move back to Tokyo, though, Kohane gets called ugly on her first day at her new school by her hot classmate Iori Yashima. Iori’s a rich boy whose family owns Yashima Cosmetics, and he can do makeup like a pro. Kohane’s had it with Iori’s massive ego until, one day, he transforms her by doing her makeup. Could Kohane be starting to develop an interest in cosmetics? This “makeup Cinderella love story” is the latest work from Mari Yoshino, author of Peach Heaven!