Manga Review | Smoky Nectar by Akira Minazuki



This review will contain spoilers for the and anime series Smoky Nectar. While the manga may vary slightly from all other forms of media, it may have similar story elements and could be considered spoilers.

Content Warning: There may be references to blood, classism, murder, death, invasion of privacy, violence, sexism, underground society, corruption, slut-shaming, and possessiveness, as it appears in the manga.


Mitsuru has been friends with Annaka (nicknamed Anna) since they were in preschool, and though their lives have gone in entirely different directions, they remain close. Anna has become a successful real estate agent, while Mitsuru is often in the trenches as a field journalist, reporting on various local news. Mitsuru is currently on a story that leans toward the . Still, he's determined to find the truth, whether based on reality or something harkening back to human imagination. A local woman was recently found dead, her blood completely clotted, and with two suspicious bite marks on her neck. The killer is called “The Biter,” a rumored vampire.

Mitsuru is actively seeking the killer, and as usual, he reaches out to Anna, who has a multitude of connections, looking for some information. Anna doesn't have much and spends most of the time insisting that Mitsuru stop inserting himself into such a dangerous scenario. What Mitsuru keeps to himself is that Anna is suspected of being “The Biter,” and while he is looking for additional information from Anna, he's also hoping that he'll be able to prove Anna's innocence. Anna is his closest friend, and Mitsuru wants nothing more than to protect him the only way he can. But if Anna is “The Biter,” what would that mean for their relationship?

More importantly, is Mitsuru safe?


The art in this is so stinking clean. It isn't always consistent, but it's so smooth with perfect lines. It's just pleasant on the eyes. Unfortunately, I don't like everything about the style. I particularly dislike Anna's design. He looks much better in the series than he does on the cover (his ear looks like a fish-gilled bat wing on the cover to me; thankfully, it's much more average-looking in the series itself). Mitsuru is much more consistent and cuter, though his features are huge across his face. Anna, unfortunately, doesn't look as nice or consistent early on. He has a lot of lighter features, which gives him a much sketchier look in comparison to the rest of the characters and the overall style. He just looks really out of place, which is disappointing since he's the love interest. Thankfully, once he's revealed to be a Biter, some of his features are changed to give him a more consistent look (the deeper eye shading did wonders here), but I imagine this inconsistency could throw some people off. The close-up Biter shots are also really ugly to me. They're blocky and flat and seem super out of place compared to the rest of the manga. I am super nitpicky, though, so it's probably just me.

Cover art for Smoky Nectar by

This story is wildly disjointed and chaotic. The lack of transitions is the main problem. Unfortunately, significant scenes feel disjointed from the next, starting with the first sex scene. Anna is revealed to be a Biter, and Mitsuru is totally cool with it, which feels a bit weird, but whatever. Anna licks up a little blood off Mitsuru, makes out with Mitsuru, and then they decide to go to a hotel. It's pretty fast, but this is BL; no surprise there. Anna feeds off Mitsuru. They have some fun foreplay and oral, and just when they're about to do the deed, it skips to right after. We see nothing. I thought, at first, this was a shounen-ai title, and I had missed it (though that'd be weird since we do see some of Mitsuru's mini-Mitsuru before this, but you never know, I guess). But nope, it's 18+, and we end up not seeing any of their first time together, moving on to Mitsuru freaking out about said first time. It's really disappointing. Thankfully, we get some flashbacks to their first time that we didn't actually get to see, but it's not as satisfying as it could've been if we saw it as it was happening. Plus, we see only brief glimpses, not the complete act, which is just a tease. I wish we had either seen it as a whole or not at all because what we get is just unsatisfying.

I do like the interesting variation of the vampire society we get in this, though. It's all underground, as usual, with established families and rules to keep their society private while being able to safely feed as needed. I like that they are recognized as a separate demi-human species, rather than being turned humans (gives Sweet Blood vibes, but underground), and how some of the intricacies of their society are sprinkled throughout the series, such as Mitsuru being given an amulet to hide his scent, Anna blowing cigarette smoke on him to do the same, the whole being set up over a woman's blood being clotted, and the like. However, there are a lot of aspects that are glossed over or thrown at us without much exploration.

They say Nectars can birth Biters and specifically emphasize Mitsuru being a male Nectar. Does that mean he can't breed with other men, even as a Nectar, or is it just not favorable? They mention that Anna is the only Biter in the family. So, does that mean Biters can be born exclusively from humans? Did his Biter relatives die? Also, Biters can make the people they feed from forget. But they mention having to find someone for Anna's first breeding season to maintain his privacy, implying they might talk about the experience. Could Anna not make them forget? Could they not pull a human from the family since it's implied there are family members that are non-Nectar humans? There are just a lot of details I wish had been explored more or more solidified to build out the world and give the story more consistency, but there's only so much that can be done in a single-volume title like this one.

I feel like I've been pretty hard on this one, but I don't hate it by any means. Something I loved was seeing the flashbacks of Anna and Mitsuru back when they were very small. Nothing tugs at my heartstrings more than pining over someone for your whole life but holding back for one reason or another. In this case, it's for Mitsuru's safety. It's so cute seeing little Anna giving Mitsuru his amulet for the first time and Anna saying he bit Mitsuru because he liked him, not because he's a Nectar. But we get very few of those moments. Again, this is a single-volume work, but I feel like it tried to squeeze in many fun and interesting concepts that ultimately feel half-baked across the board. The aspect isn't shown enough to establish their long-lived friendship. The vampire society isn't really seen at all; it's told to us instead, and some aspects mentioned don't feel as fully developed as they should be. The smut is there, but it feels haphazard and disjointed, making their sexual and eventual romantic relationship feel equally as shakey, and while the mystery is solved and we get closure on that front, there is little to no punishment that we get to see for the big bad, leaving that to feel unsatisfying, as well. This desperately begged for more volumes to develop all of the different elements in a satisfying and consistent way.


This was very okay for me. It had a ton of potential with a mystery plot, a unique vampire world, a childhood friends into a scenario, smut, and clean art. But there were so many exciting things that felt underbaked, and, as a result, made the overall work disappointing. This was, personally, a miss for me, but I think it's worth reading to see the art and experience a new variation of vampire lore. I heard there is a continuation that I hope is licensed, as I think some of these things I've nitpicked might be cleaned up, which would be really fun to see. I'm looking forward to it.

Have you read Smoky Nectar? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!

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