My Little Monster anime review (eps 1-5)

I’m not sure how exactly I came to start watching My Little Monster (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun). I think I may have downloaded an episode by accident when looking for Tonari  no Seki-kun episodes, or maybe I got it back when it was first airing and forgot about it. Either way before I knew it I had the first episode on my laptop, so I proceeded to watch it a few days ago.

StoryShizuku Mizutani only has one thing in mind: getting good grades. To accomplish this goal, she has little interest in anything else. However, after delivering lesson notes to her resident delinquent classmate Haru Yoshida, the latter is convinced that they are friends. Initially, Shizuku is intimidated by such a troublesome person, but she gradually notices that Haru is actually a kind person. When Haru confesses to Shizuku, an unlikely romance begins to blossom between them.

tonari no kaibutsu episode 1I liked: The blunt honesty of the main characters. Haru is a very silly guy, but he’s very open about his feelings for Shizuku. Shizuku is also a nice change from the usual cowardly, simpering, brainless shoujo main character. She actually has a spine and an agenda outside “Get guy X to like me”, at least at first. I also found it unusual but intriguing to have the main guy confess to the main girl so early in the show and then have her return his feelings just an episode or two later.

I didn’t like: Unfortunately we can’t have anything so refreshing in a shoujo series, so instead of building up the relationship from there, the two confessions somehow cancel each other out. Huh? Only in anime, eh? Thus instead of the different take on shoujo romance I was hoping for, we end up with the same old “He loves me, he loves me not, maybe he loves this other girl, maybe I don’t love him” merry-go-round that we’ve seen 20,000 times before. My Little Monster, I am disappoint.

What’s worse than that is the downfall of Haru’s character. He started out a little wild but basically a good guy… for all of 10 minutes in the first episode. Then he turns into the kind of guy who smacks Shizuku in the face and never apologizes and regularly seizes her by the collar but somehow he’s still her love interest anyway. “He hits me but it’s okay because he loves me?” Not only is it not okay, but he doesn’t even love you!

my little monster haru punches shizuku and she likes itEvery other episode she’s like “Haru’s such a kind person.” What kind of kind person would punch a girl and not even say he was sorry? Even your garden-variety domestic abuser can muster up a few crocodile tears of apology every time. Up to the end of episode 5 it still wasn’t clear what exactly Shizuku saw in Haru. It seems like she would have felt the same way about any other guy with a nice smile who confessed his love and kissed her within a few days of meeting her.

The other issue with Haru’s personality is probably less his fault and more my problem for being sick and tired of every single shoujo manga love interest having some kind of family issue and some kind of dark history and some kind of trauma somewhere. It’s like an edict was passed around 1995 stating that no sensible, decent, well-adjusted guy was allowed to be the main guy in shoujo manga ever again. They all have to be messed up somehow, no exceptions. Well 1995 was 20 years ago, can we go back to ordinary, likeable, relateable male characters now? Please?

my little monster natsumeThat way Haru could have stayed the funny, naive, happy-go-lucky guy (with a violent streak) that he started out as instead of having to deal with all this drama with his dad and his brother and who knows what else in his family. I don’t want to watch all that, it’s boring. I’m sure Shizuku will later turn out to have issues of her own, equal opportunity and all that. She’s already lost the focus on grades that made her interesting and become the usual “Squee, he smiled at me *blush blush*” kind of heroine. *sigh*

Long story short, I don’t want to see anything more from this show. My Little Monster is just the same old shoujo tropes dolled up slightly differently but ultimately working out the same way. If you like shoujo manga, you’ll probably love it since it’s more of the same with a slight twist. If you’re not a fan of the old “going round in circles for 10 volumes rigamarole, avoid. For me it’s dropped after 5 episodes. On to the next show!

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