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September 16, 2013

Bento Bako Weekly: Midnight Secretary volume 1

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Written by: Kristin
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midnightsecretary1Title: Midnight Secretary
Author: Tomu Ohmi
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 1 (of 7), $9.99
Vintage: 2007 by Shogakukan, September 2013 by Viz Media
Genre: Romance, vampires

Yep. Vampires. Well, vampire, singular. At least in this first volume. Secretary Kaya Satozuka has just been assigned to the Tohma company’s Managing Director, Kyohei Tohma. Kyohei isn’t known for being able to keep a secretary, as he works them hard and keeps long, late hours. He’s also a renowned womanizer, with women coming in and out of his office on a constant, regular basis. Kaya’s heard the rumors, and excepts her experience won’t be any different. But Kaya prides herself on being an exceptional secretary, able to work under pressure and do her job well. Unfortunately, Kaya is rather plain looking with hair pulled back into a tight bun and unflattering glasses. Kyohei isn’t happy about having such an unattractive looking secretary work for him, but Kaya soon proves that she’s extremely capable, even completing the loads of work he gives her, and helping to juggle his schedule and liaisons with women. Kyohei soon comes to respect her as his secretary, if nothing else. One night, however, Kaya decides to snoop around in her boss’s office, thinking the women visiting him, who are very pale and weak looking when they leave, must be doing drugs of some sort with him. When she accidentally observes one of his trysts, however, she learns that the truth is far more dangerous and complex. Kyohei is a vampire. Now Kaya has to keep his secret (or risk her mother being fired from a company store) and perform her secretarial duties, which now include added responsibilities in keeping her boss fed and his secret safe.

Like any woman with a vampire for a boss, Kaya grows curious and tries to find out as much about vampires as possible. Partly so she can perform her job better, partly out of her own curiosity. She quickly learns that Kyohei isn’t affected by the traditional vampiric weaknesses in literature, though she soon learns one of his real weaknesses when they dine in a restaurant located inside a church. It’s not the physical symbols that bother him, but the atmosphere of faith generated by humans. To help her weakened boss, Kaya offers up her own blood, and immediately realizes what’s got all those other women swooning all over him. Not Kaya, though, who does her best to remind herself that it was all about being a meal for Kyohei, and nothing more. Protecting him is her duty as his secretary, after all. But when she saves him again at a Christmas party, things get a bit too intimate for them both.

The series has its charms, though it’s nothing special. This is an easy story that could be about anyone and written by anyone. It is well told, though, and an entertaining enough read. It doesn’t fall into too many cheesy vampire tropes, though when it does they’re handled well that you won’t really notice. This is not a bad read, over all, and it’s nice to see that Kaya doesn’t get immediately swept away by Kyohei. Rather she holds fairly stubbornly to the fact that supporting him in such a way (ie: as a meal) is part of her job. Kyohei has his issues, as well. He’s the second son of the company’s president, but by all appearances he doesn’t seem to give a crap about the company. Appearances can be deceiving, however. The art style is rather old fashioned. Not bad, mind you; it’s fine, though it’s not as polished as it should be after sixteen volumes of published manga. Kaya is plenty expressive, but Kyohei isn’t (though that’s partly due to the character not willingly showing much emotion). Everyone else (except Kyohei’s brother, who just looks like a blond Kyohei) is fairly generic. If you like vampire stories, or boss/secretary stories, then definitely check this one out.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.


One Comment

  1. […] Loveless (omnibus edition) Dana Lynch on Me and the Devil Blues (Culture, whatnot, etc.) Kristin on vol. 1 of Midnight Secretary (Comic Attack) A Library Girl on vol. 1 of Nightschool (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions) […]

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