Review of Midnight Secretary (Vol 1)

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Midnight Secretary is a romance manga created by artist Tomu Ohmi. The series originally appeared within the pages of Japanese magazine Petit Comic and has since been brought over to English language countries courtesy of Viz Media. The paperback version of the first volume (which collects chapters one to five) is presently available to buy from online retailer Amazon for just a fiver, whilst the Kindle edition is currently priced at three quid.

The series follows the exploits of baby faced Kaya Satozuka who has recently been appointed secretary to Kyouhei Touma, the director of a renowned tableware company. Much to Kyouhei’s annoyance, Kaya insists on donning a pair of specs and tying her hair in a bun (to appear more mature) whenever she is in the office. The womanising head of the Touma Corporation would rather have a sultrier underling in his staff, but retains Kaya’s services due to her exemplary work ethic. What’s wrong with a presentable outfit and glasses anyway? If you ask me the naughty librarian look is hawt.

Kaya is attentive to her duties despite being irked by her employer’s tendency to mix business with pleasure. Kyouhei’s reputation as a playboy is well earned, as he regularly invites women over to his office for a spot of hanky-panky. Fraternizing in the workplace is most unprofessional, but most worrying of all is Kaya’s suspicions that Kyouhei is using narcotics to coerce unwilling ladies into bed. What other explanation could there be for Kyouhei’s amorous conquests leaving his office looking pale and woozy? Well as it turns out the gals in question are not suffering from the aftereffects of drugs. Their whitish complexion can be attributed to anaemia as Kyouhei is a vampire who feeds on the gals he seduces. Unfortunately for Kaya the blood running through her veins is especially tasty. What will happen when her boss eventually sets his sights on her? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I’m going to give Midnight Secretary a rating of four stars out of five. Even if the artwork can be a little rough in patches I enjoyed both the story and characters. Although not billed as a comedic book I did find myself chuckling at Kaya’s reactions to Kyouhei chauvinistic remarks and found the second chapter, were she coyly tries to test if fabled vampire weaknesses have any effect on her boss, especially funny. It was also refreshing to see that the narrative doesn’t drag things out like many other love stories do. By the end of this book Kaya and Kyouhei are well on the road to hooking up.

Perhaps as the cast is well into their twenties, this isn’t one of those mangas that takes hundreds of chapters for the leads to finally kiss. There are even some brief sex scenes in the book, although nothing pornographic (unless you consider the occasional nipple shot to be overly saucy.) The onus of the story isn’t on whether the main characters will eventually get together, but whether they can maintain a stable relationship. Kaya is a workaholic who pushes herself too hard whilst Kyouhei is too proud to admit that he could ever fall for a mere human, so they certainly have some obstacles to overcome in making their coupling work. I look forward to seeing how they fare in future volumes. See Twilight? Not every vampire love story has to suck (blood.)

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