Posted May 25, 2013 by Elaine Cepeda in Anime/Manga

Manga Review: Twelve o’clock Bell Rings

Twelve o’clock Bell Rings Mangaka: Kishimoto Seishi
Genre/s: Shoujo, Horror, Fantasy
Publisher: Kodansha
Serialized in: Aria

From MAL
In this story, we’re treated to a twisted, gothic-horror remix of the classic Cinderella story as re-imagined by a shounen author for a shoujo audience, where we find, in the end, that nothing comes free, and if it sounds too good to be true, well, there’s usually a catch. (You’ve never seen Cinderella like this!)

Recent movie adaptations of our favorite fairy tales have turned the sweet, sparkly, and happy-ever-after stories into action-packed films with kickass characters. In this one, Kishimoto Seishi — brother of Naruto’s manga-ka, added some twists in the popular Cinderella story.

The storyline followed the original Cinderella story. Cinderella, being the slave girl of her step-sisters, can’t go the the Royal Ball since only nobility are invited. Luckily (or not) for her, a witch grants her wish and transformed her into a fine young lady. The witch tells her that there is a time limit for that and she’ll go back to her normal outfit once the clock ticks midnight. She then meets the Prince…and you can probably guess what happened next. The question is will she ever have a happy ending?

I love how Cinderella isn’t the Cinderella that we know. She is far from being the Miss Goodie-two-shoes. Kishimoto’s Cinderella is prideful and despises being bossed around by her sisters. She wants to go the the Ball so badly because she knows that she is more deserving to be the next Queen. She yearns the grandiosity that comes along with the Royal title. This is the reason why I am attracted to her character. She can be any of us — the ones who are blinded with money and fame. That strong lust that can be the root of the evil within us.

Though you might think that Cinderella here is dense for accepting an offer from a Witch nonetheless, well she isn’t. She is reluctant at first, thinking it’s just another scam. But in the end, her strong desire wins and her judgment clouded from the cloud nine feeling of being in the palace. Sometimes, there are things that are too good to be true.

The unique gothic setting is endearing. I’m not a fan of horror nor gothic stories but the art is both lovely and creepy at the same time. The character design and their outfits reminded me of Toboso Yana-sensei’s Kuroshitsuji; although the latter has a simpler background and used heavier lines. Sometimes, the characters are a little too thin like they are anorexic or something. Also, I see Alice (Alice of Wonderland) outfit from Cinderella’s outfit. That caused me a little confusion at the start since I keep on thinking this Alice instead of a Cinderella story.

If you are a fan of they-live-happily-ever-after stories, be ready to be disappointed. For a quick read, this is so worth it and extremely enjoyable. I liked how Cinderella retorts. Same goes with the bizarre design since those never failed to crack me up no matter how many times I re-read this one-shot.


Elaine Cepeda