Manga of the Month: My Little Monster (Have You Seen My Love?)

My Little Monster (となりの怪物くん) by Robico

narutaki_icon_4040 I think there have been a lot of noteworthy romance manga of late, and this is one of them. It starts off seemingly simple but grows a lot over the course of the series.

Shizuku is single-minded in her pursuit of academic success to the point of ignoring all else. Haru is, well, sort of a mess, with a long school absence, a quick temper, a complicated family situation, and a lack of understanding of social cues. Those factors are what lead Shizuku to visit him on a teacher’s orders. Haru quickly professes his love to her as casually as someone else might say, “I’m hungry.” And for her part, Shizuku dismisses him as acting on momentary feelings, causing Haru to dig in his heels.

It is rather refreshing to have the feelings out in the open so early in this series. While there is still the occasional uncertainty, it comes more from Shizuku not trusting her own feelings and not trusting those around her. Shizuku’s ongoing conflict within isn’t just about Haru either; she makes more connections with others as the story goes on, which causes her to reevaluate her approach to people.

The series also boasts a fantastic supporting cast. Lonely blogger Natsume who feels she can’t become friends with other girls practically steals the spotlight. Perceptive Sasayan who isn’t phased by the conflicts (both wacky and true) emerges as the last sane person. Cool Mi-chan who acts as a father figure to Haru takes everything in stride. And there are many others who come into Shizuku’s orbit.

I like that My Little Monster is about friendship, what that truly means and how to nurture it, as much as it is a love story. At first, it may strike you as the story of a good girl taming a wild guy but it is a lot more. Despite how different Shizuku and Haru seem at the beginning, inside they are actually quite similar.

~ kate

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #196

narutaki I have started watching Fullmetal Alchemist (eps. 1-14), the first series by Bones. I had actually seen about 20 or so episodes a couple of years back, but I’m starting again from the beginning. It is a show from a period of anime where I was a little out of the circle so it has been on the “to watch” list for a while.

I was really impressed that the first scene is so dark and intense and gets right down to business to show the heart of the series. It has an ominous feeling from the get-go. In general, I’m was appreciative of the weighty questions the show brings into the story from the outset dealing with morality, ethics, politics, and religion. It has its silly moments here and there, but it doesn’t shy away from all of these topics which makes me even more impressed that the series was as popular as it was.

I also really like that there is a bit of an investigation bent to the series, at least here in the beginning. The mysteries of Al and Ed’s father as well as that of the Philosopher’s Stone and the military plus many others keep me speculating every time we get another tidbit of information.

I’m nearing where I stopped before, which really had nothing to do with the show being bad, so I’ll be curious to see if they series changes a lot past that point.

P.S. Mustang is the best.

sep-anime

As the season is wrapping up it is a great time to talk about some series that just finished.

My Little Monster just ended its 13 episode run. It was definitely a cute little shojo series with a distinctly energetic vibe. It was always a refreshing treat every week. Sadly you could tell it was also a series based on an ongoing series.

The funny thing is that the first episode left me this distinct impression that the last episode was going to be the conclusion of some majorly important story arc filled with tears and confrontations. If you were waiting the whole series for that you were going to be very disappointed.  The penultimate episode takes place around new years and has a very transitional feeling. Nothing is definitively resolved. Unrequited loves mainly remain unreciprocated and strange relationships  are still quite unusual and somewhat poorly defined. But there is a feeling that things are changing and that the status quo will not remain that way for long.

That also means if you were hoping for an anime original ending you were just out of luck. The last episode even felt more like an extra episode OVA than a finale. There is a little bit of a personal  revelation from Shizuku but realistically that awareness could have happened at any point in the last 3 episodes without missing a beat.

I may be in the minority but with the fact that manga is much more prevalent in English I am far more accepting of a “go read the manga now” ending to an anime. So really I just saw My Little Monster as a great way to introduce me to a quirky shojo series that will hopefully make a great read if it is ever licensed.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.

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S.W.A.T. Reviews: Autumn 2012 Pt. 2

The premise of these reviews is simple: watch the first episode of a series and then immediately sit down to record a review mini-podcast. The reviews are five- to ten-minutes long and entirely off the cuff. As always we only review new shows (so no sequels or continuations) and try to avoid anything that just looks outright awful. Here are 8 of the new season:

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Listen – Episode 1 of From the New World from A-1 Pictures with the opening “Wareta Ringo” by Risa Taneda and is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Listen – Episode 1 of My Little Monster from Brains Base with the opening “Q&A Recital!” by Haruka Tomatsu and is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Listen – Episode 1 of Kamisama Kiss from TMS Entertainment with the opening “Kamisama Hajimemashita” by Hanae and is streaming on Funimation.

Listen – Episode 1 of Lychee Light Club from Kachidoki Studio and is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Listen – Episode 1 of Hayate the Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You from Manglobe with the opening “CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU” by eyelis and is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Listen – Episode 1 of K from GoHands with the opening “KINGS” by angela and is streaming on Hulu.

Listen – Episode 1 of BTOOOM! from Madhouse with the opening “No Pain, No Game” by Nano and is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Listen – Episode 1 of Blast of Tempest from BONES with the opening “Spirit Inspiration” by Nothing’s Carved in Stone and is streaming on Crunchyroll.