By Ohmi Tomu
ISBN: 978-1421559445 & 978-1421559452
Kaya Satozuka strives to be the perfect professional secretary. Her unparalleled skills earn her the position as the private secretary for Kyouhei Touma, Director of the Touma Company. The director dismisses Kaya at first, citing her simple dress and looks, but her job performance earn his respect. Kaya becomes more than dedicated to her job as a secretary, especially when she learns that the director is a vampire. In order to quench his thirst, the director needs to drink women’s blood at the height of sexual seduction. When the director isn’t able to find a suitable source, Kaya allows the director to drink her blood. Problems arise, however, when she starts to fall in love with him and he starts to consider her more than a meal.
Ohmi Tomu uses the secretary and boss seduction fantasy trope to pull in her readers. It’s a common idea used for Harlequin novels and probably whatever the Japanese equivalent is. Making Kaya’s boss a vampire adds the supernatural twist and also makes the plot more creative. It’s strongest point is that unlike other manga romances that are drawn out for twenty volumes of “will they, won’t they” behavior, Midnight Secretary occurs are at a fast, believable pace that is refreshing, especially if you’ve been stuck in shojo romance.
The characters, though, are extremely hard to relate too. Kaya’s drive to be the perfect secretary and her loyalty to the director are more faults than strengths. She’s too unbelievable and it also gives her a weak personality. She only lives to serve the director? Shouldn’t they be beyond that in the 21st century? The director is more of a character description than a singular dark hero. He comes off as the prerequisite jerk, but deep down inside he’s a good man. It’s a common trait found in many romance manga heroes.
Tomu’s art style is similar to Kaoru Mori, because of her use of dark shading, attention to small details, and character designs. Despite the similarities, Tomu is more mature in feeling and lacks the subtle innocence in Mori’s work. Tomu is much darker and isn’t afraid to go around the corner for more than a slice of cheesecake or eye candy.
Midnight Secretary is worth reading for it’s different take on vampires and supernatural romance. The characters may fall flat on their faces, but the pacing and art is beautiful.