Honey Trap Shared House Volume 2: Sweetening The Deal



The art of ecchi is something that feels almost lost to time in this modern era. The act of cramming in as much fan service as humanly possible with as little effort and creativity imaginable has rendered the genre wasteful, lazy, and more boorish than previously thought possible. I can’t say that Honey Trap Shared House isn’t guilty of falling prey to that low effort work, but I think at the very least there’s piece to it that redeem it as a read within the world of erotica.

Before I can really talk about how it handles its work from a narrative perspective, I think it’s important to discuss its limits in the visual department. Surprisingly, Honey Trap Shared House has held on to most of the work that made the series enjoyable through the first volume. Most notably, the panelling and flow of combat remains rather smooth. Though, I do think that there are moments that can somewhat struggle within. Overall however, I doubt many are picking up a manga like this and expecting good action or choreography, I just personally believe that if you want to get the most out of something in this vein, you need to be able to lead the reader away from their “rewards” first.

Yes, most are definitely picking up series like Honey Trap Shared House for the payoff that exists within this genre. Now, I entirely understand that everything ends up to preference in regards to characters and their styling, but I still just can’t see how Maria’s character design works out. There exists a scale with breasts, one that’s already broken and surpasses reality by miles, but it’s still a scale. However, Maria shatters that scale. Forget cannons, they’re basically ICBM missile silos, and I really don’t like it. I get that it’s supposed to be Maria’s whole “thing”, but there’s a point at which size just makes it weird.

Overall though, I’m not that up in arms about the designs of Silphy…. and to a degree Emily. That latter one has a massive red flag attached to it however, and works as a segue into discussing the narrative aspects of this volume.

Strictly speaking, Emily’s character is a bomb. One misstep from the creators and they completely screw themselves due to her character. Now, Emily’s character is meant to read as being sadist and using her figure in a derogatory manner to belittle and mock characters that have interests that lean towards forbidden, but I personally just cannot get past it. It carries too much of an edge, and even just reading the words “onii-chan” coming from Emily’s mouth has me wanting to slam this volume shut. I think Emily could perfectly stand on her own as just a purely sadistic character, and even then still use her sibling-like bond with Hayato. I just think that bringing that kind of “sibling play” into the manga, even when meant as parody and mockery is off-putting. I also think that it remains a damaging view and appeal for women with more slim figures. They can be attractive and erotic without having to play into some weird and twisted view.

Conversely, where I see issues with Maria’s character design, their fan service is arguably the best in the manga. Her aggressive personality leads to “shot for shot” interactions where the ante continually gets upped and things get crazy, and against the typically “plain” antics of Silphy, Maria provides great contrast. Though, I’m not entirely upset with Silphy’s character in that regard as a baseline does remain important, but I wish they were able to branch out a little more like they did towards the end of this volume. Who knows though, maybe after setting that average, we’ll see the creators start to think up some more interesting circumstances for her.

So lastly, let’s talk about those circumstances- in incredibly vague terms due to their material. Strictly speaking, I think the sequences in this volume are far more enjoyable and creative than the last. Fan service is only as good as its set up- without one it is just pointlessly horny. You need a reason to attract a reader’s attention, a reason that a character need to be ogled or sexualized. While there’s a few pieces that are very much just hamfisted into the volume, I think the creative moments really stand out. For example, Hayato and Maria end up having a heavy night of drinking. Of course, many people have heard of the classic “belly shot” where you drink a shot out of someone’s belly button, but Honey Trap Shared House takes it a step further, climbing higher up Maria’s body. It’s an incredible use of circumstance and setting to facilitate something erotic that isn’t just a panel zoomed in on a character’s chest. Similarly, Emily’s sadism works great in that regard. It’s excessive and funny, and Hayato’s direct involvement in basically attempting to talk her down works wonders. And even still there’s quite a bit more.

Honey Trap Shared House is a manga that feels… divisive. Not so much in terms of who will like it and who won’t, but rather the effort and reception of the work. Some moments just click into place and make it great on all fronts, while others are awkward or even off putting. I think the series has undeniable potential to be a good ecchi (if those even exist in the modern era), but I’d say it still has a ways to go on a fundamental level. The art remains solid alongside panelling, and the story itself is more than enough to keep things lively, but the characters at times can really struggle. I’m not exactly hopeful as those characters are the selling point for Honey Trap Shared House, but it would be nice to see the creators fix up some of the weak spots so that Honey Trap Shared House can really take itself to the next level.

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