First Impressions: My Little Monster

Manga adaptation of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun by Brains Base
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise: After bringing worksheets for a suspended classmate, Ice Queen Shizuku Mizutani finds herself entwined in the life of delinquent genius Haru Yoshida. As they come to understand each other, a strange friendship and an unlikely romance grows.

Marlin’s Verdict: Monster Hit

This was one of those shows that by the time I watched it I totally forgot any plot premise that had been told to me prior to starting the season. I’m really glad I came into this blind, though, as it was a real surprise. I ended up loving every minute. These characters are really off the wall and I’m really enjoying this quirky vibe they are giving off.

Now, the huge elephant in the room is that one line. You know what I’m talking about. I don’t really know what possessed the mangaka to use that line or the writer to keep it in, or really even CR to translate it that way. Still, I’m not going to let that one line ruin what was otherwise a cute first episode. Let’s just chalk it up to Haru’s almost Asperger’s like social skills I guess?

After watching, I saw this show being described as an unconventional rom-com, and I think it can actually deliver on that premise. Its characters and their interactions are adorably awkward, and I can’t wait to watch more.

Iro’s Verdict: No Monsters Here

The Most Socially Awkward Guy meets Apathetic Straight-Laced Girl, and cue cheesy romance at rapid speed. It’s almost a bit depressing just how ridiculously awkward this guy is, to the point where he can barely function in school. While I can appreciate the unorthodox progression of the relationship, I’m also not interested enough to keep watching – even with the twists, I think the main plot beats are going to be the same old shoujo.

Dragonzigg’s Verdict: Sleeping Monster?

I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. The whole ‘delinquent guy meets straight-laced girl’ plot has been done before, but there’s a winning charm and surprisingly sharp sense of wit to this endeavour, with more care paid to the details than you’d normally expect from the average boy-meets-girl setup. Shizuku is an intriguing enough protagonist to subvert a lot of the normal clichés that we normally see from shojo heroines, and it’s quickly apparent that her serious, no-nonsense attitude isn’t just a facade, but a genuine aspect of her personality, though that’s not to say no emotion lies beneath.

Haru meanwhile is an utterly unexpected delight, less a delinquent than a lost boy unable to interact with anyone on a meaningful level. His quirky, often childish antics help create sympathy where we might expect to feel resentment and create humour out of awkwardness. Yes, his already infamous threatening line is totally unacceptable on any level, but it also seems radically out of character, and for now I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt and chalk it down to crass writing rather than any actual dark edge to the character. And let’s not forget studio Brains’ Base, who bring their trademark spindly, slightly flat look to the show, but also light it up with bright colours and strong animation. Romance shows are always difficult to predict, but this one looks to have the wit, heart and jokes to go the distance.

Jel’s Verdict: Monstrously Awkward

I kind of liked how this episode threw a lot of romance anime conventions out the window, particularly the forthrightness of our incredibly strange male lead. That being said, he reminded me of Yui from K-ON! if you swapped her personality into some good looking, booksmart dude. Yes, he was that dumb and naive, and to be honest I found him quite obnoxious. But I guess that’s the whole point. This being a shoujo series it will be all about reforming this delinquent into the lovable, dateable guy of your dreams. THAT’S WHAT ALL THE LADIES WANT, RIGHT?

Looking forward I could see some potential for a sweet romance down the line, but the main guy is just so not believable as a human being it makes it hard to accept what’s happening. I may give it another shot if I have time.

Lifesong’s Verdict: Better Than Your Average Monster

There was a lot of personality in this first episode, however; that also brought with it quite a bit of controversy from some of the more vocal pieces of anime fandom. There is a rape line that really set some people off, and for some the male lead is already on the top of their sexual deviant of the season list. Personally I think there is a lot of chilling out that needs to be done, and that people are reading far too deeply into something that is in my opinion clearly not.

Frankly I was fairly impressed with this first episode. I usually hate shoujo anime, especially shoujo manga adaptions; it’s the pacing, drives me insane. The first episode actually had a full self-contained story right off the bat, and managed to avoid most of the cliches I expect to see shoujo manga fall into; color me impressed. I have a few concerns going forward; for one I am concerned about the direction. Going forward I really have no idea what to expect here. I will be giving My Little Monster a few more episodes to get a bearing on what it will be all about, but so far I’m on board and hoping for good things.

2 thoughts on “First Impressions: My Little Monster

  1. This is a very promising anime in my book so far, at least based on my initial impression of the first episode. I want to see more.

  2. It definitely has potential. It seems like a show that really can buck traditional shoujo pitfalls if it’s played right.

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