Midnight Secretary

Mangaka: Ohmi Tomu
Reviewed on Dec 10, 2010

The story: Brilliant, dowdy secretary Kaya Satozuka takes on the job of working for the company's big boss. While he first seems to be the usual spoiled rich guy, she discovers that he has other secrets besides his womanizing: he's actually a competent businessman. Oh, and he's a vampire.

If you read my last review you'd be surprised I even read a manga like Midnight Secretary. It's not just you. I've stayed away from vampire romances ever since a certain top-selling novel, and I can't even remember the reason why I read Midnight Secretary. Whatever it was, I'm glad I did.

What I liked about the manga is just one thing: the relationship between the characters. If you've read a lot of long-running shoujo manga you'd know that the main couple always has something in the way of them hooking up, like their parents, bullies, rivals, having to move, school, rules of the job, etc. If you've noticed, it's always an external factor. There is never a problem between the couple themselves and if there is, it's just a misunderstanding and it'll get resolved in the next chapter or two. Midnight Secretary said "screw that" and instead the main hindrance to the couple's love is...themselves.

That's right—even with controlling vampire clans and rivals and disapproving parents, Midnight Secretary gives those little attention and instead keeps the couple apart because of the characters' weaknesses: his pride and her stubborn adherence to rules and duty. That's actually a more realistic portrayal of struggles in love. It's not some sappy highschool vampire romance that tries to play up the danger of a relationship with a vampire without the actual tension or even believable romance. It's actually closer to a real life romance. Well, without the vampires. I guess it helps that the manga isn't shoujo, but josei (for older women).

If there was anything bad about the manga that I could see, it would be that it was too long. I mean, I like that the stubborn pride and the jerk personality of the hero actually prevents them from getting together instead of causing the heroine to fall head-over-heels for him, but they did stretch that angle for a bit too long, and it felt dragging. It could've ended in a volume or two less. Other than that, I have no other complaints. Art was fairly good and stylistic, but not over-the-top shoujo, and—if you care about this sort of thing—the characters look good. A word for the young 'uns, though: it contains a fair amount of (non-explicit) smut. Just in case you weren't into that.

Midnight Secretary is one of the few vampire stories I actually liked. I just wished there were more of them as well-written as this.

© Yves Macatangay Dec 2010 Some Rights Reserved.

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