June 18, 2006
by: James Jursudakul
A short but solid sophisticated-romance.
Harlequin Violet: Blind Date. Catherine never expected to win the top prize on Blind Date. In fact, it was the second prize she was after! But sometimes when you least expect it, what you win is what you want.
Harlequin Ginger Blossom titles are the perfect marriage between manga and romance–beautifully drawn stories by renowned Japanese artists adapted from best-loved Harlequin romance fiction.
• Printed in gorgeous deep-purple ink! Dark Horse is the first American manga publisher to use single-color inks in lieu of black-an authentically Japanese touch that no other publisher has offered!
• Harlequin Ginger Blossom's "violet" line is color-coded to denote its more sensual material. Not intended for younger readers, our "violet" books embody sophisticated romance for readers looking for something a little sexier than the rest!
Content: (This section may include spoilers)
Blind Date tells the story of Peggy Dean—a strong, pretty, and very confident Media-Communications major in her final year of college. The manga starts off with Peggy going on the “Blind Date” game show, but she enters not to win a date with the handsome and popular young singer John Gale. Instead, Peggy actually aims to lose so that she can win the second prize—a stereo system. Things don’t go her way however because she somehow ends up winning the game! Now Peggy has to go on a date with the popular singer John Gale!
I really like Peggy’s character. She is not just another girl who falls hopelessly in love with a famous young singer but rather she had no interest in dating John whatsoever! She doesn’t tolerate John’s arrogant condescending attitude and speaks her mind without holding back. There is also a lot of character development because after she realizes that she’s in love, her attitude towards John softens and her personality changes and reflects her desire to be with him. I also found it quite easy to sympathize with Peggy. Character development for John is not as great as Peggy’s but by the story’s end you can tell he has become less arrogant and self-centered.
The romance in Blind Date is quite complex and sophisticated (with mature scenes that reflect the age rating). Though there aren’t very many, the passionate and romantic scenes are done very nicely and manages to get the reader in the kind of heartfelt mood. There are also some funny moments, but they don’t take away from the seriousness of the story, instead they complement it rather well. The part where Peggy was trying to lose on the game show was quite funny and was one of my favorite scenes.
I like the character art in Blind Date–it reflects the wonderful character development nicely. Peggy’s softened character towards the latter half of the story can be seen very well in her face. The artist paid a lot of attention to the character’s hair and eyes when it comes to details and the often blank backgrounds often makes the character's features stand out. With that said however, I do wish there were more background details because most of the time there is nothing to look at beyond the characters. There’s also not a lot of detail in the character’s clothing, often just generic sweaters or suits. The hot-violet ink that Dark Horse used complements the art very well. It somehow seems as if it’s the right kind of color for these sophisticated-romance stories.
Since this is written by an English author, this section will not be graded. There are Japanese sound effects with English translations present though. Also, the name used for the description in the back of the manga is incorrect. Instead of “Peggy,”Dark Horse used the name “Catherine,” which was supposed to be the name of the girl for the original Blind Date story that was planned.
The Bottom Line:
Harlequin Violet: Blind Date is a short but quite solid sophisticated-romance story. It has good character development that is reflected well in the art. I found the main character’s personality to be quite interesting and readers can easily sympathize with her. If you’re looking for a single volume mature-romance story, then Harlequin Violet: Blind Date is a good recommendation.