By Tomu Ohmi. Released in Japan by Shogakukan, serialized in the magazine Petit Comic. Released in North America by Viz.
I often joke when discussing licenses that the thing most companies tend to look for is “does this manga have vampires in it? And are they hot??”. But of course in general there has to be more substance to it than that. We need smart, compelling characters, we need some intriguing backstory, and of course we do need some nice seductive romance. With Midnight Secretary we get two out of the three, and I suspect the intriguing backstory will come in future volumes as this develops more of a plot.
Kaya is a young woman living with her mother who is highly skilled but has one big problem (at least it’s a problem to her): she has a face that makes her look far too young. So, in order to get the secretarial work that she’s so good at, she does her hair up in a tight bun and wears glasses, looking very much like the cliche of what we think good secretaries should be. Like most Petit Comic heroines I’ve read about, her family has fallen on hard times, and her father has passed away from being incompetent… um, from stress. Luckily, she has a new job as secretary to the company director. Unluckily, he’s a womanizer, arrogant, and unimpressed with her looks. Oh yes, and he’s a vampire.
I am pleased that we get the reveal to this right off the bat, and that, after a bit of soul searching (and some blackmail on Kyohei’s part) she manages to file “vampire” under “things I have to manage in my boss’ day”. Indeed, Kaya takes her job very seriously indeed, and once she accepts what Kyohei is, she’s quick to research everything about vampires (most of which, amusingly, is wrong) and try to deal with the issues. And yes, sometimes that involves his sucking her blood, but only in emergencies. And it’s totally not one of the most erotic experiences she’s ever had, nope.
Kyohei’s brother is the executive director, and Kaya notes he isn’t a vampire, something I was prepared to have be wrong but no, it appears that is the case. It’s amusing to me that most of the drama in this fist volume comes less from Kyohei’s vampiric tendencies and more from the corporate intrigue. Kaya is far more valuable to him for her smarts and her spying ability than as a free meal ticket. Of course, he does eventually get her hair down and glasses off, and we start to see the smoldering passion that will no doubt justify this series’ 7-volume length. Indeed, by the end of Vol. 1 Kyohei is finding that other women’s blood just doesn’t do it for him, and he adds ‘blood for me’ to the endless list of Kaya’s tasks.
This is a fun series, with a more capable heroine than I’m used to seeing in this type of title. I wonder if we’ll get more of Kyohei’s vampire backstory as the series goes on, or if it will stick to corporate intrigue. And of course how these two will fall deeper in love. It’s another spicy romantic josei series from Shojo Beat. Fans of romance and the supernatural will snap it up.