Shizuku has been through quite a bit with Haru, but she has yet to wear a full body bunny suit or an elegant dress. Fortunately, both of these things happen in the latest installment of the excellent shoujo series My Little Monster.

The school festival is coming up and the classes all gear up for their various activities. Meanwhile, Yuzan plans his own birthday party at the request of his father to help his political image. Unfortunately, his father needs both his sons to attend to look good, and getting Haru to attend is going to be a challenge...

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 has become one of my favorite shoujo series of all time, and parts of the story like the moments in volume 10 are the reasons why. The primary focus this time around is Haru’s family and the reasons his relationship with his brother Yuzan is the way it is, but even with this focus the story manages to progress its entire cast at the same time.

As I just mentioned, Yuzan is by far the most developed character in this volume. Previously, while there has been some hints as to his deeper personality, Yuzan has primarily served the story by antagonizing Haru, but the reasons for this have been unclear. However, by delving into the brothers’ past via flashbacks it is revealed that at one time they were actually quite close. Yuzan has always struggled, much like Haru, to find a place to belong, but when he was younger the wild and smarter Haru always managed to outshine him, even if it was in a negative way. Yuzan’s own desire for attention and his family’s affections drove him to distance himself from Haru and over time their relationship soured. Yuzan’s own acknowledgement of his jealousy and his slight regret have ironically led him to antagonize Haru, and seeing the growth of a relatively minor character was definitely a highlight of this volume.

It’s not just Yuzan that progresses over the course of these chapters, as Shizuku and Haru’s ever-progressing relationship continues. I’ve always enjoyed the depth of both the characters and their relationship with each other, since the nuances make the relationship one of the better romances I’ve read in a manga series, something that benefits the series greatly considering that the relationship is the center of the plot. Haru and Shizuku, as I said, are complex characters, and as such they have marked similarities and differences. While they think that their differences are what brings them together, I feel like it is mores so the similarities under the surface than anything. That being said, because they don’t quite understand each other on this level consciously, there is a disconnect between them that comes to a head in this volume during Yuzan’s birthday party. Haru’s stress at being forced into this situation with the family he wants nothing to do with, combined with Shizuku’s own stress over her crisis of self-identity she is facing over how empty she feels for solely pursuing school create some of the biggest tension their relationship has seen thus far and sets up quite nicely for the next volume.

Interestingly enough, the true motive force for the plot in this volume can be primarily attributed to Haru and Shizuku’s parents. Haru’s father, having finally entered the story directly, devotes zero time to his sons and more time than he should to women, and because of this he caused Haru’s relationship with his brother to deteriorate. Shizuku’s mother, who never comes home and spends all her time working, is the figure that pushed Shizuku to pursue her grades so avidly in effect caused her to be so empty. Yuzan’s party in this sense basically is a familial battleground as is highlights the absence and its affects for both the Yoshida and Mizutani clans.

Although the character development is the biggest highlight story-wise in this volume, it is most definitely not the only one. The little moments such as Sasayan and Natsume’s conversations, which are sweet, and Takaya Mizutani’s visit to the school fair, which was amusing, all help tie the volume together nicely and provide some balance. While Yuzan’s party in the second half of the volume was definitely the stronger and more emotional between it and the school fair, the volume was decidedly solid throughout. Robico’s illustrations also continue to be on point, especially with Shizuku’s forced ‘dressing up’ for Yuzan’s birthday.

My Little Monster is always a guarantee of quality every time you pick it up, and this time around is no different. Both Yuzan and Shizuku and Haru’s relationship continue to progress while the drama and comedy duo that makes the series so appealing continues to shine. If you’re a fan of previous volumes, be sure to pick this one up as well.

My Little Monster Vol. 10 was authored by Robico and published by Kodansha Comics USA on September 29, 2015. 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. It is currently available in English and volume 11 will release in North America on November 17th.

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