“Hayato is a master of espionage whose latest job is the Familia Shared House, a sham residence meant to lure enemy agents and turn them to his side. But even Hayato could never predict that the very first resident would be his childhood crush, Seraphy—fully grown and with curves that could start an international incident! Now it’s spy against spy and libido against libido…with other impossibly attractive undercover ladies eager to join the fun!” (Yen Press)
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When approaching titles like “Honey Trap Shared House,” it is vital that you turn off part of your brain that desires meaningful content and instead choose to embrace absurdity and lewdness for what it is. Still, even with lowered expectations as to what constitutes quality entertainment, there are plenty of factors you can consider–not all mature manga is excellent just because it has nudity. With that said, one has to ask whether Masamune Kuji & Koichi Kozuki’s “Honey Trap Shared House” titillates in the right way or becomes another predictable dive into masturbatory fantasy. The answer… lies somewhere in between.
Undeniably, the tone of the inaugural volume is more geared towards hooking readers into its erotic scenario, introducing three different women looking to ‘honey trap’ Hayato (though one gets introduced near the end of the volume). Each housemate has an eccentric, yet familiar personality and *ahem* particular assets. The manga does not skimp on the lewdness and barely a panel goes by without some form of fan service.
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This makes for a rather simplistic and predictable story, though depending on the draw of the work for the potential reader, this won’t necessarily be a hindrance. Moreover, it is essential to note that in Masamune Kuji’s closing notes, he mentions that the series will transition into a love story in the upcoming volumes while still maintaining its mature edge. This is a welcome prospect as the relationship between Hayato and Seraphy is the one element that feels intriguing and worthy of deeper exploration to push the series forward more meaningfully.
Pushing aside the sexual aspects of the work and the hint of a greater focus on romance, the story still impresses with its comedic timing. This is mainly highlighted in Seraphy’s awkward attempts to seduce Hayato. Still, other instances, such as planned ‘sexy accidents,’ provide humorous thrills that blend eroticism and comic absurdity perfectly. If the comedic wit of Masamune Kuji stays consistent throughout the series, “Honey Trap Shared House” will be worth following.
The artwork of Koichi Kozuki is the perfect complement to the writing of Masamune Kuji. The lewd elements certainly hit the notes one would want while allowing the panels to draw the eye to the character’s forms. This extends not just to breasts; the art is stylish in giving the characters unique identities through their fashion sense and body language. Moreover, the comedic timing of Koichi Kozuki is impeccable, ensuring the jokes land with Masamune Kuji’s writing.
Undoubtedly, “Honey Trap Shared House” is a juvenile and silly title that leans heavily into male fantasy. This alone will make it a prospect that either perks interest or evokes disgust. Yet, beyond that initial reaction, readers seeking adult-themed manga will be thrilled to find a sharp visual direction, the potential for an engaging story, and a wonderfully absurd comedic wittiness.