Alethea & Athena (double_dear) wrote,
Alethea & Athena

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Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight volume 9

Wow, today was a really good day. But I won't be telling you about it until tomorrow, because it's Review Rednesday! (No need for suspense, though. It was a good day, but not, like, life-changing or anything.) So here's our review of Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight 9! Spoilers ahead!

We finished our first draft of Sailor Moon volume six and we have half a CD left, so we figure it's a good idea to make sure we're caught up on writing reviews before we let ourselves get caught up in Kingdom Hearts III, our copy of which arrived a couple of hours ago. We were planning to take tomorrow off to play it, but since it's already here now, the temptation is a little strong.

But anyway, we're talking about Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight! This is the volume that had a limited edition that came with a CD drama featuring our beloved favorite voice actor as the voice of Kaede! And it's surprising how much a casting choice like that can make you forget all the silliness in this series. Like for real, this series. Let's get into it!

We start with Akira finally revealing Hinana's past. I guess it makes sense to do it this way, because Hinana would never confess her dark secrets without some kind of prompting, and there just weren't enough external forces acting on her to make that happen. But first, because Kaede knows his audience, he decides that the best place to talk about Hinana is in the communal bath. I'm not sure if I'd rather roll my eyes or say thank you. (At the time, I said thank you, because I was still starstruck by the casting.) I mean, he almost sort of made it make sense. But the important thing is that Akira commented on the "what the...?"-ness of it, so at least the story knows it's a bit of a stretch.

So Hinana's past is pretty much exactly what you expected. She found out she was adopted, then Suzu came into the picture, so she decided she needed to be the perfect daughter and sister, and she loved to play the piano but stopped. The only real mystery was the why of the piano quitting, and now we know what it is--her grandmother told her to cut it out. But there was another mystery, and that's why, if her mother seems to genuinely care about her (from an audience perspective, anyway), she seems to have such a hard time with her family. We don't learn the answer to that until the next chapter, so let's go back and talk about something that came up in this chapter, which is the child neglect that Hinana went through. That's kind of a huge deal, but the way it went down, it almost seems like they might not go into it anymore. I mean, it's true that she was adopted into a happier family and one would hope that the jerks who neglected her are out of the picture entirely. I mean, they obviously didn't want her around, so it doesn't seem like they're going to try to come back into her life to cause trouble or anything. But that kind of thing can leave deep emotional scars, especially when it's with your real family. So I guess the effect it's having on current Hinana is that it's part of why she's so careful with her family now. Now that those memories and traumas have been revived, she would be desperately trying to avoid causing her new family to do the same thing.

And basically all of that means that Hinana doesn't tell anyone what she's feeling anymore, and Akira realizes that's not healthy but he hasn't been able to get her to get over it, and that's where he wants Kaede to help. So Kaede takes drastic measures! He goes to Hinana's house! I feel like this was supposed to be a shocking development, but it really seems like the sensible thing to do. He already knew Suzu, and as a celebrity he's used to talking to people he doesn't know, so it shouldn't have been that big a deal to him...except that he had to apologize for the paparazzi fiasco, and he would be worried about making a good impression, since Hinana's mother had already expressed her disapproval of the relationship. He was pretty gentlemanly about the whole thing, and I really appreciate his willingness to answer all of her questions, but jaded skeptic that I am, I think Hinana's mother was being naive. He's all, "I've only had one other girlfriend, and I don't like to party." I mean, we all know that's true, but she has no reason to trust him! Of course those are the answers he's going to give if he wants to continue to prey on her daughter, and he's an actor, for crying out loud! They pretend fake things are real for a living! He would need way more than that to convince me, is what I'm saying.

That's not to say I'm not happy for Kaede and Hinana, and I really loved her mother's secret fangirl behavior. And I'm glad that Kaede is living up to his promise to report to Hinana's mother whenever he and Hinana get together. And it's so cute how he was like, "Remember when you did this for me? So now I want to help you." Awwwwwww!!!

Anyway, the discussion he and Hinana have after this is where Hinana reveals that she overheard her mother once imply that maybe she does regret adopting Hinana. See, people say that this is the problem with eavesdropping, but I say the problem lies in not eavesdropping on the entire conversation. Hinana heard her adoptive mother tell her adoptive grandmother that it was too late to suggest that adopting Hinana was a mistake, and we're preeeetty sure she went on to say, "I love Hinana and that's that." or something sappy like that, but of course Hinana ran off as soon as she heard the first part. For crying out loud, there's any number of directions that conversation could have taken. But now she doesn't trust her mother's love, and given her previous family experience, I can't entirely blame her. The frustrating thing is we know that Kaede knows how Hinana's mother really feels about her (that was a pretty bold question to ask, but also one that seems like it wouldn't be that big a deal under normal family circumstances), and he's not telling anybody. The art very ominously suggested that the mother said, "You know, I just don't really like her that much," but come on.

So I think the reason Kaede's not saying anything is that he knows that just telling her isn't going to necessarily help her get over her anxiety, so instead he wants to inspire her. Awww, how sweet! And to do it, he's going to try to make amends with the old band! What! I sense popcorn-worthy drama! Woohoo!

But first, a birthday trip to a hot spring. This chapter. Ugh, this chapter. I mean...just. For one thing, this is the book we...remember the time I said it was kind of a dream of ours to bring our work to a cafe on a rainy day? Well this is the book we took when we made that dream a reality! And the cafe was at California Adventure. We were surrounded by small children. Translating this scene. You guys. It was a little awkward. I mean, we're pretty sure no one was really paying us any attention, and there were no graphic descriptions in the text, so we didn't have to worry about saying anything explicit out loud for any Japanese tourists who happened to be along, and frankly, of all the people there who would have been bothered by the content, we were probably pretty high on the list. But fortunately, Shige-chan walked in on them and we were all spared. We're just like, "Hinana. Let us tell you about the law of chastity and how it's designed to prevent situations like the one that caused you to need to be adopted." ...I mean, there's a good chance her biological parents were married, but I think if we would all remember that having sex makes babies, and so maybe treat the act with a little more respect and caution and commitment (<--that one's super important)... Also, I'm pretty sure Hinana and Kaede are going to end up getting married, but let's not go jumping into bed with guys just because you think they're "the one."

So anyway. Shigeo's interruption was brought to us by the good folks at the Tokyo Fashion Party, who wanted to book Kaede as a model. And Funny Bone's going to be there, so now's his chance to make good on his promise to Hinana. This chapter had some more silliness for two reasons. First (and maybe this was actually at the end of the previous chapter), we learn that Hinana hasn't been able to thank Akira for asking Kaede to help because he's been down with the flu. ...I don't remember all the details, because we translated the book a little while ago, but we seem to remember it sounding like he was sick for like six weeks.

The other thing was that Hinana was thinking about going to the Tokyo Fashion Party for moral support, but she didn't have a ticket. Then Shu calls and says she wants to talk, and Hinana's like how about Sunday?, and Shu's all, oh, I have a fashion thing...hey, you want a ticket? And we're like, "Why couldn't Hinana get a ticket from Kaede...?" Maybe Kaede didn't want to make Hinana feel like she had to go or something. And then there was a super cute thing about Kaede being able to spot Hinana in the crowd. She showed up at the event thinking, "I don't think he can do it..." and we're like, "Of course not, with you wearing that hat!" But then she took it off when he came on stage, so we all felt better. And of course he did find her, because hello, this is shoujo manga. But it was really cute.

Finally, a string of events leads to Hinana being taken hostage by Funny Bone! Dun dun DUN!! What will they do to her!? Oh no!! Find out in volume ten!

And I just wanted to mention the chapter title page contest, because dang Mikimoto-sensei's readers had some great ideas. We wonder if Yuki Kaji got to participate in the judging, because we know he's a fan of Taisho Era stuff. The angel and devil picture was adorable, and I hope that Mikimoto-sensei does draw some of those other ideas, because '80s cosplay would be awesome. Or should I say, "Totally rad." Rockabilly sounds interesting, too. So I hope we get to see that someday!

Awww, what a ridiculous but fun series. ...And you guys. We're out of reviews! We don't have any more new releases until September 24! What are we going to DO!? Oh no, oh no... Maybe we'll talk about simulpubs. ...Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. (Or maybe we could do a Re-Wind Re-Wednesday, and post a review we've already posted? I don't know, we'll figure it out.)

Today I'm thankful for getting just a little more work done than it seemed like we would, getting to rewatch the Miraculous season two finale, the absolutely beautiful weather we had today, Page not being mad at us for leaving her alone most of the day, and remembering to charge our Chromebook last night.
Tags: kiss me at the stroke of midnight, reviews

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