Midnight Secretary – Manga Review

Japanese Title: Midnight Secretary

 

Genre: Vampire Romance

Length: 7 volumes

 

Positives:

  • Sexual energy.
  • Gets better towards the end.

Negatives:

  • Exposition dumps.
  • Lots of telling.
  • No mystery to the supernatural or the romance.
  • Dull art.

Midnight Secretary’s greatest twist was the revelation that this wasn’t the author’s first published manga. With this quality, I expected it to be a first-time author, someone in the early days of the craft still learning the elements of style and plot. Seeing all the marks of a novice writer in an author’s fourth major manga serial came as a surprise.

Midnight Secretary is a romance between a secretary and her boss, the head of a major corporation who also happens to be a vampire. Within the first few pages, as is the case for all novice writing, we find major blunders in the form of exposition dumps. Rather than allow us to get to know these character piece by juicy piece through actions and dialogue, the author has to cram their entire bios down our throats within a few pages. (See the first two images below for yourself.) Not just the bio, but the secretary also has to tell us just how much of a douche he is, something we see a page later. Why tell us when you will show anyway? An editor on her first day of work would eviscerate these amateur mistakes.

Another consequence of this bad writing is the reliance on telling not backed by action. For example, we are told the vampire is an excellent businessman, yet we never see anything to support this claim. I’m not kidding – we never see any actual business take place, despite the company being the central location for the plot.

Midnight Secretary makes no effort in mystery. It presents the boss’s peculiar lifestyle as a mystery, but she sees him biting a woman within the first chapter. It is better to have greater danger and mystery before you lay out all the cards on the table. Have her know of his vampirism, but leave him unaware of this, creating some dangerous conflict, for example. Furthermore, it’s not as though the author is in a rush to show us something exciting, for what follows is repetitive for several volumes. In this lore, vampires can only feed on the opposite sex and the more aroused the partner, the tastier the blood. When the secretary and vampire start dating (even this happens to soon), he still sleeps with other women since she can’t survive daily feeding. So, the main conflict goes: she wants to be his exclusive source of blood, he acts like a douche, they have a momentary tiff, make up, and repeat. Two volumes of redundant material could have gone to building these characters beforehand.

Once past this repetition, the writing improves significantly. I didn’t believe these characters getting together; however, if the story had started with them already together, I could believe they would stay together. Like the writing, the romance works better in later chapters. In fact, one can see the quality improve with each volume, which is why I thought it was a first timer learning as she went. Not the case, as I later learnt.

The sexuality is well done, charged with an edge of Gothic, but I don’t feel it is enough to warrant seven volumes of your time.

Art – Medium

Nice characters in low detail environments. Basic compositions and bland camera work.

Story – Low

A secretary falls in love with her vampire boss. Midnight Secretary has all the marks of vampire romance – handsome vampire, wealth, arrogance, someone she can ‘fix,’ steamy sex – but the poor execution, namely in writing, drains one’s excitement within pages.

Recommendation: Skip it. There must be a better vampire romance than Midnight Secretary out there to read instead. The novice mistakes and repetition made this a difficult manga to finish.

(Find out more about the manga recommendation system here.)

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