Midnight Stranger, Vol. 1 by Bohra Naono

*This Review is Spoiler Free* 

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Midnight Stranger is a Yaoi/BL Manga that follows, Roi and Xiu. Roi is a black goat spirit and is responsible for exorcising foul spirits and healing the sick. At the beginning of the manga, Roi is being attacked by villagers in a town plagued by illness. As the villagers see Roi’s ugly “goat” body they believe that this hideous creature must be the cause of the illnesses and they decide to kill Roi. Xiu saves Roi from the humans and grants him the ability to take human form. The story jumps forward a handful of centuries and the reader sees Roi and Xiu living together after all that time as Roi had decided to serve Xiu when he saved him. Xiu is incredibly apprehensive about humans and slightly despises them, but regardless of Xiu wanting very little to do with them, Roi is unable to deny his duties as a black goat spirit. The story progresses with Roi trying to suppress his romantic feelings for Xiu, going behind Xiu’s back to help humans, and an unlikely friendship. 

This story is totally Roi’s story, although the manga greatly revolves around both Xiu and Roi, Roi is definitely the star of the show. There honestly isn’t anything incredibly amazing or mind-blowing throughout the story that allows this manga to stand out from the rest in this sub-genre. BUT…it did stand out for me personally because 1. It was that first BL that I read with two main characters that were spirits/gods and 2. IT DIDN’T HAVE “RAPE OCCURS, THEN RAPIST CONFESSES FEELINGS TO VICTIM…because supposedly these feelings (of like or love) were there all along, the rapist just didn’t know how to act on said feelings and instead decides to rape….AND THEN VICTIM IS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH IT BUT AGREES TO RELATIONSHIP, OR AT THE VERY LEAST, CONTINUED COITUS” SYNDROME! On the other hand, if you read this critically, you will notice other instances and scenarios that obviously display abusive behaviors. However, as I’ve said in other Yaoi/BL reviews, BL will ruin your moral compass and as much as it pains me to admit this…most of the abusive behaviors and unhelthy relationship dynamic can be mentally glossed over and kind-of ignored. It’s like once you’ve read so much BL you go into it with very low expectations for consent and/or good examples of relationships and sex. 

Although I have read BL mangas that have an additional or side story besides the title/main story, I wasn’t expecting the “Hollow Romance” chapters to be as long as the were. Both parts of “Hollow Romance” collectively took up almost half of the manga. So just go into reading it knowing that. There is a second volume of Midnight Stranger if you would like to read more about Roi and Xiu. Although this BL is not the most memorable/impactful that I have read there are some really good moments and enough things happening throughout the plot to keep the reader entertained. The story also gains points with me for not succumbing to the SYNDROME mentioned in the above paragraph. Overall, I give Midnight Stranger 7.25 Unicorn Horns out of 10. 

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