Sunday, October 15, 2017

Manga Review: Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight by Rin Mikimoto (Vol.1) *spoilers*

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight by Rin Mikimoto is a silly shoujo manga series about two people whose true personalities completely mismatch their public personas.

In this romantic comedy our main character, Hinana, is an honor student.  Her schoolmates think she is studious and stoic.  They admire her maturity and have built her so far up on a pedestal that she could not possibly let them down now.  Truthfully, she splits her time between reading fairy tale romances and fantasizing about having her own with a super hot prince.

Kaede is a hot young actor.  His face is in all the adds, and rumors of his charming personality are spreading like wildfire.  In reality he is a crude connoisseur of the female form, with a particular love of butts.

Fate happens on the day that Kaede is filming a movie at Hinana's school.  The production team needs more extras for their shoot so the school requests the student council members to pitch in.  Giving Hinana the most exciting moment of her life, but surrounded by people who can never know the truth about her.  She worries she won't be able to keep it together.

Then, while on break, she catches a glimpse of "the true Kaede" staring at the butts of the girls on the tennis team while they practice.  Hinana realizes that this prince, isn't actually all that charming.

As far as shoujo main characters go, I think Hinana is a solid one.  She understands the implications of the situation she has created for herself by lying to her classmates.  She even understands that her fantasy of finding a "hot prince" is shallow, but it is what she wants, and she is honest with herself.

Beyond that she is also very earnest to her friends, she does get good grades, and she is serious about the student council.

The plot is really ridiculous.  It definitely makes you laugh, but every time Kaede does something cringy my gut reaction was to think, 'oh god, he's such a creep'.  This is actually why plot is quite smart.

Kaede's objectification of female butts is not much different than Hinana's objectification of men who are "hot princes".  Both characters have a shallow obsession which will not help them in their romantic pursuits.

In this first volume, a relationship between the two characters does occur, but it does not set a clear indication of where it will go next.  I hope that the rest of this series will explore these two having a realistic relationship where neither of their expectations are met. 

Hinana will have to realize that perfect fairy tale romances do not exist.  And Kaede will have to realize how his fetish affects the people around him.

Pick this series up if you want to laugh.  I think there is plenty of room for hilarious, yet sweet, absurdities to arise.  The character designs are very pretty, and have a positive impact on the overall reading experience.

Volume 2 will be released in English on November 14, 2017.

Thanks for reading!

All photos in this post are my own

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

T5W: Five Witchy Book Recommendations for October

T5W is a Goodreads Group with over 5,000 members.  They create topical blog prompts for every Wednesday of the month.  Check it out here

October 4th 2017 Topic:

Books Featuring Witches whether they are the main character or not

I love books about witches and could recommend many ^.^ but here's five.

Number 5
The Tiffany Aching Series by Terry Pratchett

These beautiful gift editions just came out this year.

The series follows Tiffany Aching on a coming of age journey from being a farm girl on the sheep herding planes of The Chalk, to becoming a Witch.  Tiffany makes many clever observations about the world around her as she expands her horizons.

She battles all kinds of magical creatures and learns much about the importance of doing the things that must be done in life.  Witchcraft in this series involves a lot of "Going 'round the houses" -- the mundane tasks which keep the elderly alive, bring new babies into the world, & mitigate family conflict.

The Tiffany Aching Series was the last that Terry Pratchett wrote.  The last book in the series, published in 2015, was released after his death.  This series is aimed at a young adult audience, but can be enjoyed by anyone.  

Number 4
"The Witches Story Arc" in Terry Pratchett's Discworld

Image Source | Google Image Search Unseen University Collection

There are many books in the Discworld series.  One of the story arcs being about The Witches.  Like the rest of his work, these are full of satire and societal critiques.  Many of the witches featured here show up again in the Tiffany Aching series.  

The witches in this series can be arrogant, argumentative, and not very helpful at all--but in a funny way.   

“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.”
Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

Getting into reading in the Discworld is overwhelming.  There are many different routes in that one could take.  Here's a helpful map:

Number 3
Flying Witch by Chihiro Ishizuka

Image Source | Goodreads

This slice of life manga series is about a young Witch who moves in with relatives in the countryside.  Makoto may have a cat familiar, but she really does not know much witchcraft at all.  

Throughout the series she will learn to fly.  Learn basic magic spells.  And appreciate the nature found all around them.  We meet many different witches and other supernatural beings in this series.  These witches are tranquil, and friendly, but also few in number.  Witchcraft does not pay well anymore.

There is also a Flying Witch anime, which I highly recommend.  This story that celebrates nature really comes alive in color, and the music is extremely tranquil. 

Number 2
Toil and Trouble by Mairghread Scott

Image Source | Goodreads

This Graphic novel retells the story of Shakespeare's Macbeth from the point of view of the three witches.  It breaks down the drama between them and how they will use others to meet their goals.  Its violent and passionate.  The illustrations by Kelly & Nichole Matthews really set the tone.

Number 1
Atelier of Witch Hat by Kamome Shirahama

Image Source | Goodreads

My last witchy book recommendation is the new manga series Atelier of Witch Hat.  In this world witches draw magic with their fountain pen wands and magic ink.  Because technically anyone can use magic, and magic can easily be used for great evil, the witches have hidden magic away from the world.

Somehow a young non magic girl has been sold a magic pen and a book full of destructive spells.  There is something suspicious going on in this world.

This manga is not currently published in English.  Hopefully we will get either an English manga release, or an anime of this series.

Are you drawn to stories about witches?  I certainly seem to be.  Have you read any Terry Pratchett?  Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

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