I told myself I wasn’t going to read more high school based shojo manga. I am a liar. I was inspired to give this series a shot from The Wonder of Anime’s review back in September 2021. Admittedly, much like Oshi no Ko, I put this on my plan to read list, but quickly turned around and bought the first two volumes. I was so smitten that I rushed out and got the third volume when it came out too!
So now, I’m going to give you a plot synopsis and the four reasons you should give this series a try!
Yoi Takiguchi is handsome girl, whose been dubbed a ‘prince’ by her peers. She’s pretty indifferent to the title,usually ignoring being misgendered or gawked at. At least she thinks she is until Kohaku Ichimura, a senior prince, calls her beautiful to her face. Kohaku seem to revel in his title, which allows him to act how he pleases including but not limited to pursing the stunningly beautiful regardless of gender, Yoi. Yoi is flustered, not use to any sort of male attention and assuring herself it’s probably a joke given Kohaku’s nature… Still she can’t deny her developing feelings.
So without further ado, the four main reasons you should give this a read.
1. Yoi is a ‘boyish’ protagonist, who doesn’t ditch that immediately. Having a female lead be somewhat androgynous/boyish in appearance isn’t a new feature to shojo manga. There’s plenty of characters, who are introduced that way for effect, and then ditch it within a few chapters. Yoi even three volumes in, hasn’t physically changed her appearance or personality. She still manages to make girls swoon, guys jealous and it’s honestly refreshing to see. Yoi is really relatable to the girls who are ‘handsome’ but not ‘pretty’. She isn’t made fun of, but she’s not exactly being pursued by anyone up until Kohaku.
2. Kohaku isn’t your standard male protagonist. I mean, he’s still pretty for a dude and kinda your typical popular high school boy but hear me out. He’s very morally grey as a shojo protagonist, subverting his princely title by doing his own thing. He’s dubbed in a prince for looks, not actions. Kohaku’s pretty cheeky since he’s clearly more experienced in love then Yoi, and teases her more then once…. but never takes it too far. He never makes fun of or belittles her for how she’s navigating their relationship which is pretty admirable given what we know about him. And that back story bubbling in the background? He’s certainly got my attention.
3. In the Clear Moonlit Dusk is engaging. It’s that simple. It’s only in me writing this blog that I fully realized this myself. I typically skim to recall overarching details, but found myself more then once stopping and reading an entire chapter instead. Sometimes I’d stop on a page due to it’s layout, and flow on top of it’s structure being perfect. Other times it’d be to read the narrative parts, or dialogue, which is well incorporated to keep the manga moving, and of course the art itself – Yoi or Kohaku’s princely faces flustered or dramatized expressions are too good.
4. The dynamic Yoi and Kohaku have. Neither of them are dumb, or overly naive but rather just a fairly normal girl and guy. They just happen to be stupidly prince-like that it’s almost comical to watch them interact. There’s more tension based expectations being subverted due to their individual lived experiences, rather then outright drama. Kohaku expects Yoi to do one thing based on other girl’s he’s dated, and she does the opposite. Yoi anticipated Kohaku acting a certain way due to his ‘image’, and he does something completely different. These are reasonable teenage conflicts, that really show that image rarely reflects the true nature of someone.
And there you have it, the four big reason why you should be reading In the Clear Moonlit Dusk. I’d love to know your thoughts on this series, so be sure to drop those down below!