Hanazawa Hinana lives her life in a very well-disciplined fashion, and everyone around her thinks of her as a "earnest student who focuses only on studying." But in secret she absolutely "adores" the girls in fairy tales who get the handsome guys. Just then, Ayase Kaede, a popular actor appeared in front of her just like a prince...
Kiss me at the Stroke of Midnight is yet another take on the shoujo trope of a girl ends up dating a celebrity. I think this one is a reasonably high quality one of this type. This is also one of those shoujo manga where the characters start dating early in, which is the fashion these days. This particular take is more of a realistic drama in tone.
The art is mostly pretty decent and clean. There are some minor issues with human anatomy, and the dog is rather questionable.
The main pairing feel like unique individuals with discernible personalities rather than cardboard cutouts
like in many shoujo. They are very likeable on an individual basis, and as a couple.
The main relationship is very healthy. They communicate to clear up misunderstandings and build trust, they don't kink shame, they talk about jealousy, they try to make each other happy. It's none of that relationship drama that frequently happens that often makes me question why these two characters even be together in the first place.
But that leads into the downside to having such a positive relationship is then the conflict must come from the outside, in the form of various characters that have various reasons for breaking them up, which I personally can find very aggravating depending on how it plays out. The protagonist to me comes off at that typical shoujo heroine of too nice and oblivious when the audience knows the other characters are being horrible or extremely self serving, and I find myself wishing she'd call them out on it, rather than let it continue until it becomes an drama avalanche.
Also as a result, I personally find many of the other characters to be rather unlikable, as they just continue to do awful things in order to intefere with the relationship, and not necessarily for any reason that makes any sense from the character's perspective, but simply to cause conflict. The worst example being a particular character who is a textbook example of the "nice guy," who hangs around saying he's doing things in her best interest when he clearly has completely selfish motives. It also makes it hard to take the idea of such a character as being a potentially better partner for her seriously when he's secretly acting is such an awful way.
In conclusion, I think this one is worth reading as I find the main couple very enjoyable to read, but wish the author would do a little better at the drama parts.
Overall a typical but still quite solid shoujo manga. Not overly clichee, but nothing really new either. If you like shoujo, and early romance, give it a try.
Well, the main plot really isn't that exciting. High school girl meets celebrity and they start dating. What I disliked:
- Nearly all the drama so far was solely revolving around the fact that he's a celebrity and thus they have to keep their relationship a secret. Somehow, they don't have any real problems or insecurities between them, so all drama initiates from outside influences.
- Most of the drama got resolved in like no time, to the point where
it is ridiculous. Love-rival appears, gets to know female MC, gives up and instead befriends her. Some of the drama really felt unnecessary, I mean there's no point in having it when it doesn't even give them the slightest push.
What I liked:
- They start dating very early on, so you get to see a lot of moments between them, and they also aren't as 'pure' as many other shoujo characters are.
I think the characters really are a strong point about this manga. At first, I wasn't convinced by either of the two main characters. She seemed like a completely ordinary student who wanted to date a hot dude, and he like a random hot celeb. But as the story progresses you'll see that there's more to them that it seems, it explains quite well how they became the people they are. Although there is still that tragic (?) background of her which is going to be revealed in the next volume.
I especially liked that both are in some way pervy, making for some funny situations.