There’s the type of shojo manga where a girl really can envision herself as the heroine. And then there are those where the characters are constantly going off the deep end. My Little Monster falls into the latter category, and if your taste in high school romance leans toward the improbable and wacky, this title might be up your alley.
Back Cover Blurb
Mizutani is a self-absorbed overachiever, concerned only with maintaining the highest grades in school. Haru is an impulsive short tempered brute, who scares everyone with his explosive bursts of violence. Haru gets suspended on the first day of school when he encounters some bullies harassing a student and dispatches the bullies with great bloody violence. Mizutani is tasked with delivering school materials to Haru who interprets this as an act of friendship and latches on to Mizutani, much to her dismay. And so begins a strange and potentially combustible relationship!
The back cover touts this manga as an-opposite-attract high school romance, but it isn’t exactly. It’s more accurate to call it a story about the gradual socialization of two people with different forms of dysfunction. The heroine, Shizuku Mizutani, is an extremely driven student who studies to the point of obsession. While she functions perfectly well among other people, she has no desire to make friends or cultivate a social life. As a character, her personality is boringly simple. Contrast that to the male lead, Haru Yoshida, who is a bewildering mix of contradictions. He’s a whiz at academics but can’t tell when people are taking advantage of him. He’s strong enough to beat up the school bullies, but he’s terrified of other students. When he first meets Shizuku, he flees from her, jumps her, and declares her his friend in quick succession.
The events of Chapter 1 that bring them together are a bit of a stretch (I can’t really see Shizuku standing up for a weirdo that poured soda on her head), but if you can swallow those first pages, you can enjoy the subsequent journey of two awkward teens changing one another and expanding their horizons together. Coming alongside them on this endeavor are Asako Natsume, a super cute idiot who’s struggling to make female friends, and Sasayan, a member of the school baseball team who attended Haru’s middle school and the one normal person in this cast of misfits.
While this is a romance, Robico places a higher value on comedy than tender moments. The first kiss takes place in Chapter 2 and is a laughable affair rather than the stereotypical shojo fond memory. So while our couple does grapple with the newness of love, Robico-sensei generally uses those feelings to spark some kind of crazy outburst, usually on the part of Haru.
For those familiar with the anime, the manga covers the same general territory with some minor rearrangements. It also provides additional commentary and details not included in the anime. For instance, it spells out the reason Haru drops his pants when he hears about gym class, which wasn’t clear at all in the anime.
Extras include four-panel comics interspersed through the book and translation notes.
It’s the angst of adolescence with a healthy dose of impulsive insanity. Haru and Shizuku may be at the top of their class, but when it comes to human relationships, this duo is way behind the pack. While there is an element of first love, this story’s more about the characters exploring beyond emotional boundaries that have been in place for years. So if you like unstable behavior with lots of internal introspection, give My Little Monster a try.
First published at the Fandom Post.