Shizuku Mizutani has always been a bit of a loner. Most of her life has been focused on getting good grades, and as far as she’s concerned, she’s been all the better for it. However, when a teacher asks her to deliver school work to the delinquent Haru Yoshida, she becomes inexplicably involved with him as he takes an interest in her.
Haru Yoshida is convinced that he is in love with Shizuku Mizutani, and although she just wants to study for her tests, she is forced to hang out with him as he follows her everywhere, and is unable to avoid getting caught up in issues created by the socially dysfunctional Haru. Over time, this rapid change in her life causes Shizuku to question both her preferences socially and her feelings towards the boy that always seems to cause trouble for her.
Anyone interested in romantic comedies could potentially enjoy My Little Monster, as it has its fair share both of romance and comedy in the interesting relationship between Shizuku and Haru.
My Little Monster is a very endearing story in the first volume, and this is primarily because of the relationship forming between Shizuku and Haru. The romance worked well for me because it has a sort of balance between the common ‘will they, won’t they’ aspect of romantic comedy as well as actual progression in the characters’ feelings for each other, primarily through the main character Shizuku. The resulting relationship between the two is interesting because of this, and while it’s hard to say how well it will go long term, the pairing has thus far been a very solid development.
The characters themselves are handled well. While Haru’s character is periodically fleshed out, Shizuku has constant development throughout the entire volume, and we get to see how her isolated and grade-focused personality is challenged by the fact that her relationship with Haru one way or another is pretty much inescapable. Although the primary focus at this point is on the main pair of characters, the others, such as the academically challenged Natsume, add to the story through their interactions and are a suitable addition.
No romantic comedy would be complete without fulfilling the ‘comedy’ part of the genre title, and My Little Monster managed to have quite a few hilarious moments without detracting from the primary story. Haru, having rarely attended school in the past, has a hard time behaving normally in school and thus creates quite a few comedic moments. The contrast between his and Shizuku’s personalities creates a slight disconnect between their though processes that serves to aid both the romance and the comedy, and is highlighted at times such as Haru’s insistence on pulling an unwilling Shizuku away from her studies to get food after school.
All of the positive elements of My Little Monster are tied together quite well by the author Robico’s illustrations, which are both pleasing to look at and excellent at capturing the emotions both within he characters and in the scenes they portray. I am particularly fond of Shizuku’s character design, as her facial expressions are very well drawn and add greatly to the narrative.
For all that it does right, there are two areas in particular that I found slightly troublesome when reading, the first being the general pacing of the story. While engaging, there were moments where I felt like the plot was rushing slightly, and this wasn’t so much because it actually was rushing, but more so because while some events are given quite a few pages, others occur very briefly, despite taking a similar amount of space temporally as the longer ones. One example of this would be the introduction of the baseball-loving Sasayan, an introduction that takes three pages total before quickly switching gears. I wouldn’t consider this too big of a problem overall, but it definitely generates a slight whiplash for readers with the abrupt shifts in speed.
The second problem has to do with Haru himself, primarily because certain elements of his awkwardness come off as a bit too creepy, and might potentially ward off some of the audience. The narrative often features Haru being slightly socially dysfunctional, and this is actually a very endearing quality at times, but the ‘monster’ side of him pushes this dysfunctionality a little bit too far both because he will sometimes seem actually dangerous and creepy and because it occasionally hurt my sympathy towards him. Since a major theme of the story is the misunderstanding many of the students have for Haru, the narrative relies on the audience to have a certain amount of understanding towards him, and some scenes of this excessive creepiness merely serve to hinder this connection.
My Little Monster is an interesting romantic comedy that has well-developed characters and a certain charm that you don’t see too often so quickly. It’s wonderful mixture of both comedy and romance is handled very well, and although it sometimes takes different sized strides and errs towards the creepy side, I would highly recommend it to any fans of romantic comedy.
My Little Monster Vol. 1 was authored by Robico and published by Kodansha Comics USA on March 11, 2014. My Little Monster was an ongoing series in Kodansha’s Dessert magazine, and received a single-cour anime adaption by Brain’s Base in Fall 2012. Volumes 2-8 are currently available in English and volume 9 will release in North America on July 21st.
For more reviews, keep an eye on AniTAY as well as Taykobon, our new page for reviews of manga and light novels. You can also follow us on twitter @taykobon for more updates! If you’ve read this work or have any questions or comments, we would love the hear from you in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this review, you make like these reviews as well: