It's almost time to leave for Anime Expo, but we can't go without posting a review first! So here it is, our review of Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight 5! Spoilers ahead.
Our week has been nonstop work almost all week, but today (Friday) featured interrupted momentum, which gave our brains enough time to violently reject the idea of working any more. Technically we should be working on our actual job right now, but we just can't handle it anymore, so we're being semi-productive and writing reviews instead!
This volume featured our very first successful Disneyland Office day! Woohoo! Oohhh yeeeeaahh! We knew it could be done! The secret, apparently, is not to find small hidden restaurants, but to find hidden corners of big, unhidden restaurants. This time, we hung out at the restaurant over by where they do all the Lunar New Years stuff, which had the added benefit of us being there whenever Mulan's procession came by. But the corner we were in was so hidden that we didn't really get to see anything. That's okay, though, because we watched it as part of our first break, and this is the true benefit of Disneyland Office. We get to a good stopping point, and we can take a break to watch a show or go on an attraction. Of course, this is also why Disneyland Office only works when we're not in a hurry to finish something. Technically, we were in a hurry to finish this book, but! we also wanted to go to the Lunar New Year celebration, and this was a good way to kill two birds with one stone. And since this series tends to be very easy to translate, we knew we wouldn't lose out from wasting time. Also, we have enough will power that we only took one big break, and that was to see the Lunar New Year shows. After that, we mostly focused on our job until it was done, and it was done so quickly (thanks to this series being what it is) that we had time for a few rides and to go hang out with Farley for a while afterward. Also, we didn't realize how
much doom was in our future schedule until we got home. This is why Disneyland Office would benefit greatly from the addition of a smartphone.
But let's talk about the actual volume! What happened in it again? Ooohhhh yeah, Shu is evil, that's what! I mean, she did a pretty good job of making herself seem maybe not evil entirely
on purpose, but we find the whole stalker thing to be a bit spurious. Oh, and Athena just remembered that the tagline we wrote for this volume was "If the Shu fits," which is so perfect. We hope they kept that. Speaking of Shu, we did watch The Princess and the Frog before we got to work on this volume so we would be prepared, but we actually didn't see Tiana in the park that day! That's okay, though, because we were thinking about her. We did remember, though, that we had another theory about Shu's dialect that we didn't mention to our editor when the dialect discussion got brought up, because we'd forgot. She (our editor) has a connection to a native of Kyoto, so I kind of want to run the theory by them to see if it holds any water, but on the other hand, we're not really good enough writers to deal with it in English, so I also kind of feel like asking would be pointless. The theory is this: Shu uses the elegant Kyoto dialect most of the time, but when she goes full-on fujoshi, she uses the less classy Osaka dialect. If anybody happens to be an expert on Japanese dialects and can figure it out for us, please do!
Anyway, Shige-chan is nice enough to warn Hinana that Shu has declared her rivalry. Apparently Kaede is the only one who doesn't get to know. That makes sense, I guess, since if Shu really wants him, she really should communicate her feelings herself. Instead, we suspect subterfuge. She tells Kaede that she has a stalker, and she even conveniently let him see a bruise on her arm earlier to prove it. I find two things to be suspicious about this. Okay, one thing. Why would wardrobe give her a costume with short sleeves if she really had a bruise there? Hello, she's there for a movie shoot. Of course, makeup could have covered it up, but in that case, while the rest of the crew was setting up, Shu would have been in makeup getting that taken care of. But conveniently, Kaede is the only one who notices. ...At least, so we assume, because it wasn't covered up. Maybe other people noticed it later? I don't know. But it was a pretty big bruise, so it's not like people would see it and think it was a smudge or something. Athena points out that if she did get the bruise that morning, it might not have shown up until later in the day, but we're just not buying it. Why? Because the bruise conveniently led to her weaseling her way into spending the night at Kaede's apartment. And of course this all happens after we found out that she's going to try to get Kaede back.
Kaede, of course, like the imaginary boyfriend that he is, lets her stay the night but insists on sleeping in his car, even though he could easily just never tell Hinana anything about it. He's just too perfect. But! Shu manages to ruin things anyway, because when he comes back to take a bath and call Hinana, she makes sure to say something within hearing range. That was one of only two overtly evil things that she did, but I suspect she's much worse than she lets on. Or I just have trust issues, which is another likely scenario.
Meanwhile, Hinana's all mopey because here she had finally convinced herself that Kaede wasn't going to leave her for Shu, and now she finds out that Shu's going to try to change that, and she can't get any reassurance because Kaede's so busy and they can never get together and sadness and despair, and then Akira comes along. Oh my goodness, Akira. I'm glad you have some self awareness, at least, because you are the master of self-sabotage. On the other hand, it's really sweet how he puts Hinana's needs over his own, even when it means getting her closer to another guy. It's series like these that make me wonder if shojo manga is setting unrealistic standards for single ladies like us. These guys are waaaaaaaaaaaaay too perfect to be true. And yet, I want to believe that there are guys in the world who can care that deeply about women without demanding sex. But anyway, it all comes to a head because as Akira continues his nice guy act, Hinana continues to obsess over Kaede, and eventually he just can't take it anymore, so he fesses up that he loves her! Finally! Man, Akira, I've only really been engaged in this series for this volume and the last one, and even I
think it's about time. (I did read
the previous volumes, but one and two were months and months ago (probably more like a year), and three was a rush job.)
And then their relationship (his and Hinana's) manages to magically go back to exactly the way it was before he said anything. I guess it's not too
unrealistic since he's been shoving his feelings aside for four years already, and she's too obsessed with Kaede to think too much about it.
But the important thing is that Kaede has to explain himself about Shu being at his apartment, and he wants to do it in person because I guess that's how you get people to believe you, so he goes to Hinana's house, and they talk, and he sees how much she misses him, so! he takes her to the arcade for some print club. Oh my goodness, the name of the print club machines. We might have made them juuust a little over the top in English, but the Japanese wasn't much better, I promise. But the machines aren't working, so they have to give up on the idea. As they get ready to leave, Hinana notices that there's a claw machine that actually has pair rings in it. I don't know if that's a reasonable thing to expect in a Japanese arcade, but they did have some pretty interesting things in the one we went to in Ikebukuro. The butt series Kaede keeps going for seems totally realistic. Also, apparently in English we usually call them "couple rings," but it seems so silly, since the wordplay is RIGHT THERE in English, to not call them pair rings. So I call them pair rings. And Hinana is being the typical shojo manga heroine, all, "Oh, I want them, but Kaede won't want them, but it would be so nice, but it's just so childish," and back and forth in her head until Kaede notices because he's Mr. Perfect Shojo Manga Man, so he gets them for her to surprise her. Awwww. (Sorry for the spoiler.) It was a cute scene, anyway.
And then, it's time for the school festival, which happens to be on Kaede's day off, and Shu was like, "But your girlfriend told you she can't see you because she'll be at her school festival," and he's like, "Yeah, well, I still can't make plans with you," and we're all like, "Because he's going to the school festival duh." And she's like, "Oooohhh." and follows him. And then there's more cuteness and fluff as Kaede surprises Hinana (seriously, I almost feel like this series is more fluff than plot, but sometimes that's really okay), and then! dun dun DUN! Shu surprises Hinana, too! By saying, "If you don't break up with Kaede, I'll expose your relationship to the world!" Dun dun DUN!
And that's the end of it. I seem to remember earlier volumes setting it up so that the exposure would be some kind of super horrible thing, but I'm kind of like, "Well, if you say so." Anyway, Hinana should really talk to Kaede about that before she makes any rash decisions. Shu never said Hinana couldn't say anything to Kaede (unless she says it in the next chapter). But really, a decision like that should be made with both parties understanding what's going on.
Oh, and also, Akira declared his rivalry to Kaede, and Kaede takes it seriously because they both know that it's hard to date a movie star, and Akira has a more stable future in store. Also, Kaede keeps telling everybody that he used to be an emo kid, and I'm guessing he hasn't quite shaken that. I'm sure we'll find out all about everyone's dark pasts eventually. In the meantime, this was another cute volume. I like this series because there's a lot of stuff that you're like, "Wait, what?" and there are so many questions to be answered, but the journey is fun, too, so we're not too
impatient waiting for answers.
Aww, what a nice series. This week we once again have no new releases, but that's okay, because our backlog is huge, and there are going to be more releases later this month. Anyway, that being the case, I think we might start doubling up on these reviews. It may be a little much to read two on the same day, so maybe we'll do a Reviewsday and a Review Rednesday, or maybe a Revursday. At any rate, join us next Tuesday for our review of Wake Up Sleeping Beauty 4! And soon after that (day to be determined) we will review Forbidden Scrollery 3!
Today I'm thankful for being just about ready to go to Anime Expo, being all caught up on writing reviews again, having emergency candy rations to help us keep our blood sugar up (I mean, obviously we're planning to feed ourselves, but what with all the wandering around conventioning, it's hard to do it properly), the potential for super exciting things to happen, and the fact that I think we have enough room to pack all the stuff we'll need.