My Little Monster follows Shizuku Mizutani, an uptight honors student whose life is thrown into disarray when juvenile delinquent Haru Yoshida seemingly falls for her and refuses to leave her alone. Forced to confront her own feelings, Shizuku realizes that life isn’t as simple as she originally imagined.

Haru and Shizuku have finally gotten together following Haru and Yamaken’s faceoff, but Shizuku isn’t sure exactly what being in a relationship means and feels like nothing has changed yet. Meanwhile, Natsume and Sasayan get into a fight, but this time is a little bit different from usual...

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.

Needless to say, it’s about time that Haru and Shizuku actually got into a relationship. If there’s anything that needs to be established about the ninth installation in the series, it is that it is nice to finally have made that big step to officially dating. However, Shizuku makes a point early on that it doesn’t really feel much different from before, and she’s right. But that’s a good thing! My Little Monster is a series that excels at what would normally be called a back and forth plot in other stories, and the fact that little has changed between Haru and Shizuku is actually quite telling of the manga’s quality in multiple ways. For one, it helps add to the depth of the relationship and thus avoid the ‘happy ever after, now they’re dating and everything is just perfect’ sort of arc that is so often trod by other series.

On the other hand, it also highlights the fact that the progression of Haru and Shizuku’s feelings have been written so well that it literally doesn’t feel so radically different because both they and the audience have become so well acquainted already. My Little Monster’s story thus far has been, as I said earlier, a back and forth in the sense that at one moment it’s Haru that seems to be pursuing the relationship and then the next it’s Shizuku. The disconnect between the two has been a primary motive force for the plot, and although this usually would have annoyed me by now like in most other rom-com manga, the intricacies of the character interactions and thus character development felt so natural and intriguing that I never once got frustrated with the writing style.

Haru, for all of his ridiculous idiosyncrasies, manages to get things right sometimes, and the romantic moments that he and Shizuku share now that they are an official couple are top notch. That being said, the comedic moments where he gets everything completely wrong are just as hilarious as the other moments are romantic, and thus both the romantic and comedy portions of the story continue to deliver in this volume. However, I think what really made My Little Monster stand out in particular in the ninth volume was how it managed to parallel the progression of the main relationship with equally effective progression for the side characters.

Natsume and Sasayan’s relationship has gone through some interesting and dramatic shifts, and even minor moments from characters such as Yu (Oshima’s friend) and her recollection of the time she spent with her boyfriend over the summer tend to shine through in what is already an excellent story. Even Iyo, Yamaken’s younger sister who has an odd tendency to refer to herself in the third person (something Japanese girls will do to be cute-sounding in many manga series), which would usually be more awkward for Western audiences, is handled by Kodansha’s translation notes and is optimally presented for English readers. The volume even managed to end interestingly as hints of Haru’s family troubles have begun to resurface more alarmingly and are set up to likely pose a threat that will make for interesting reading in the next volume.

My Little Monster’s ninth volume is most definitely a solid addition to what has quickly become one of my favorite manga series. The complex and intriguing writing and fleshing out of the characters both in and out of the primary relationship of the series has yielded excellent comedy and drama, and the book even set up for future conflicts in an interesting fashion despite already progressing so much in such a short time. My Little Monster is a series that feels like it has greater volume per volume, and I most definitely recommend it to any rom-com or shoujo manga fan.

What do our scores mean?

My Little Monster Vol. 9 was authored by Robico and published by Kodansha Comics USA on July 21, 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 10 will release in North America on September 29th.

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*Copy provided for Taykobon by publisher.

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