But! today we're reviewing Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight, and we're super excited about it! We haven't read the review yet, so we don't remember if we're excited about that yet, but! but! oh my goodness, you guys!! The newest volume of this series is coming out very soon in Japan, and there's going to be a limited edition with a CD drama! And can you guess who plays Kaede!? Can you!? YOU GUYS!!! It's our beloved favorite voice actor!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!! It's funny, because the thought did once occur to me that maybe they would put voices to this series, like with a drama or an anime, but I never stopped to think who might play the characters. I never would have pegged Yuki Kaji for Kaede, but now here he is! And we're very happy about it.
But let's get to the review, shall we? Spoilers ahead!
My brain is fried. This is not the review for In/Spectre 8, and maybe we'll mention this in that review, too, but we were doing our final read through of it, and there seemed to be so many more weird typos than usual, and they cropped up more in the area that we knew it was getting to be the end of the day and we'd been working and working and working... Anyway, the point is, we considered working more today, but in light of this recent fact, we decided it might be more healthy to do something a little less worky. And it really is just a little less worky, because it's probably the most work-related recreation we have (aside from reading manga for work). And the other point is, I don't remember this volume at all. To the point of, "Wait, we translated Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight recently? Nooooooo..."
Fortunately, as soon as I typed that up, it jogged Athena's memory that that's what we were reviewing, and she was able to summarize the beginning thus: He just showed up at her apartment to tell her about his past, and we were like, "Uuuuugh, monologuing!"
I think that's a fair assessment, but the "ugh" part was more during the second draft, where we had to make it actually sound good. Monologuing is one of the hardest things to translate. People say it's comedy, but oh my goodness, comedy is so far from the hardest thing to translate. But actually, monologuing is really only hard when it's expositiony, because exposition is the hardest thing to translate. I think it disguises itself as being easy because it's an info dump, and as long as all the info is there, it's good, right? Wrong! It still has to sound like natural dialogue! Suddenly I'm reminded of Galavant, "Yes, we discussed this at length last night. There's no need for your clunky exposition." I like that show when it's not being crass.
But yes, Kaede has finally come along to reveal his past (wow, that's kind of how the most recent Fire Force volume we reviewed started, too), and I gotta say, there was a whoooooole lot of stupidity in this past. My goodness, it was ridiculous. I mean, I understand that talent agencies may or may not do ridiculous things, because when anything is "corporate" it tends to be stupid. Kaede's like, "We all worked super hard to be successful so Yo could join us someday," and we were like, "And when they interviewed you on TV shows and in magazines and stuff, you would always talk about this friend of yours and how talented he is and how you can't wait until he joins the group, right? You know, so your fans will be interested in seeing him, too, so Corporate will have no choice but to put him in?" Well, there was no mention of that, so it's possible that they did it, but considering everyone's shock at the idea of six members in Funny Bone, I'm guessing they didn't. You guys have no idea how to work the system. [ETA: It now occurs to me that Corporate may have given them some kind of a gag order...]
That's not to say that I don't think Yo was treated unfairly. He absolutely was. I have to wonder, though--were there no other decent teachers at that school? What the heck is wrong with you people? And then there's the rest of Funny Bone. Kaede starts thinking maybe the whole idol gig isn't for him and he says, "So, guys...I'm thinking of leaving the group," and instead of saying, "No! Why? We need you in the group! We'd miss you! Can't we work this out?" they get all mad at him and start hating each other. And why did they even bring him into the group in the first place? They already had a decent group of five, and it almost seems like Ayami scouted him. I'm pretty sure we'll learn more about that in the future, but at this point, it doesn't make any sense. They drag this random guy from Ayami's school into their far-fetched dream of being a boy band, and then when he wants out, they get all offended. Real mature, guys.
And then there's the "suicide" thing. I look forward to the chapter where we learn that Yo didn't actually kill himself, because frankly I think it's a stupid thing to kill himself over. For one thing, I still don't understand why nobody thought of telling Corporate that Kaede was ready to leave the group but maybe if they put Yo in, Kaede could stay, too, and rekindle his love for boy banding. Then if Kaede still didn't like it, at least they all would have accomplished their dream of being a six-man band. Well, Kaede isn't proud of his past, so maybe he's reviewed that possibility in his head. Maybe that's what Yo was hoping he would say, and Kaede didn't say it, so Yo went off and killed himself. I'm actually pretty sure that Yo didn't really commit suicide. I think something distracted him while he was driving, like maybe a text message from Mitsuki. I think either Mitsuki or Ayami knows the truth (maybe both of them), and we'll find out later. I hope. I mean, this is fluffy shoujo manga, so it stands to reason that Kaede's conscience is going to be cleared by the end of it.
Well, anyway, now Hinana knows all about Kaede's dark dark past, and she's not turned off by it and still loves Kaede, so they continue to be a happy couple...until! Kaede spots her with Akira shopping for a birthday present. That part was really cute on many levels. I mean, I know that guys being jealous can escalate and turn really scary really fast, but in this case, he didn't do anything to stop her--he trusted her, but he still didn't like it. I think that's fair.
At Christmas time, Hinana is thrilled to be invited to spend the day with Kaede. And Suzu is invited, too, and Suzu really is very cute. She has a heart-to-heart with Kaede and confides in him that she really wants to see Hinana happy, and that's why she likes Kaede so much, because when Hinana is with him, she really is happy. Awwwww.
Meanwhile, Akira has entered an unholy alliance with Mitsuki. For some reason, I always want to see the rivals do that voluntarily. I'm not sure why... (We get a bit of that in Waiting for Spring, though! Aya and Reina are awesome.) But in this case, Akira was manipulated, as usual. It's a good thing that he's sort of maintaining his scruples. His mission is to get a picture of Hinana and Kaede together. And through sheer luck, he manages to do it! What! And then he has all kinds of internal agony to deal with, but we don't dwell on it much, because!
It's time for New Year's! And this is where we learn how very much not a part of the family Hinana feels in her adoptive home. Aww, poor Hinana. She didn't want to go see "Grandma" at New Year's, and I wonder if there's some sort of bad blood between her and the extended family. But anyway, she makes excuses so as to stay home alone, but then! Kaede invites her to visit his family, and all sorts of adorableness ensues. Kaede's father is the cutest. And the main important thing about that is that Hinana confesses that *gasp!!!* she lied when she said she got tired of the piano. Wow, major shock there. No, seriously, though, this is something I'm very curious about. It also seems to tie in to how Akira fell in love with her, or at least when he realized he already had. It makes me sad to think of people giving up on their dreams against their will. I mean, if you lose interest or find something you're more interested in, that's fine, but that doesn't seem to be the case with Hinana. But I guess we'll learn more about that later.
As usual, it was an adorable volume, and I hope you all enjoy(ed) it!
Awww, this series is so cute. We're definitely looking forward to getting volume nine!
This week's releases...do not exist! I mean, they do, just not with anything we translated. Except that psych! Just kidding! Athena reminds me that Edens Zero 1 came out today! You guys, this series is so much fun! We're not writing reviews for it because that seems like it would be tricky to do for a weekly simulpub, but seriously, it's great! Shiki is hilarious. And in the simulpub version, they just introduced Homura, who is also hilarious. I love her so much.
And tune in next week for our review of Wake Up Sleeping Beauty 6! Eeeeeeeee!!! So much good manga to review! You guys, if you haven't finished Wake Up Sleeping Beauty yet, seriously, do it, because it's sooooooo good!
Today I'm thankful for finishing our work today, having a hilarious episode of Gakuen Basara to work on this week, our favorite voice actor being cast as Kaede, getting to remind ourselves of a ton of great manga that we get to work on, and getting to work on so much great manga.