Recap: Putting all seriousness aside, the last episode focuses on Haru’s mad search for something inexplicable that inadvertently brings the gang together.
From all that I can tell, this episode was completely filler, unrelated to anything that actually happened in the story. It really shows for how little actually happens in this episode. Natsume’s vague confession to Micchan-san is put on hold as Haru arrives like the New Year’s Miner in some strange union worker’s outfit. Ironically the best line in the entire episode comes early from Shizuku as she muses about the technicality of seeing the first sunrise, “Why does this feel like a big, unsatisfying cop-out?” Consequentially, this was a very empty episode and I really don’t feel like ruminating upon it for very long.
At least, in the usual fashion, as much as I felt it wasted my time it had a cute ending. It’s really felt like these two are finally reciprocating the same feelings for each other. Now, the only problem lies with their natures. While Shizuku, the more collected of the pair, has mostly figured out what she wants, Haru is still being difficult because he has abandonment and anxiety issues that need ironing out.
It’s a shame that this last episode was so disappointing in comparison to the rest of the show. I was ready to give it my #1 slot for how much I have enjoyed this show over the past season. Still, this show did so much to surprise and impress me this season otherwise that I can’t help but still love it. The show was billed as an atypical shoujo romance, and the story of Shizuku and Haru managed to blow even that high praise right out of the water.
From the very get-go we are launched into the tangled mess that happens when Shizuku and Haru’s worlds collide. There was never any wasted time filled with asided glances or embarassed half-confessions. Even when Shizuku seemed to be denying her feelings like so many shoujo shows use to cop-out, she turned it around on its head by the end of the episode to completely blow me away. These characters realized they were attracted to each other, and didn’t shy away from engaging the issue. What really drove the drama was their expectations of each other and ultimately of themselves.
I loved Shizuku’s character arc early in the show. Instead of some impractical problem creating a divide between her and Haru, it’s really one of simple expectations. She is a student and she expects herself to succeed as her mother did. By hanging out with Haru and the gang she is finally experiencing the love of true friendship and the experiences that come with it, but this starts to be at a cost to her schoolwork. In finding the proper balance she learns how to accept herself and Haru, even if Haru starts to become stubborn just as she comes to this realization.
I can’t say enough about Shizuku as a character. She was my hands down pick for the best heroine of last year and for good reason. She constantly proves herself to be strong, dedicated woman in a genre all too full of meek damsels. While she may be strict, it means once she understands something it really sticks with her. She is someone that sticks by her convictions even in the face of the one person to ever fluster her.
Haru is quite enigma himself. Shown to come from a troubled past and a broken family, it’s hard not to sympathize with him even as he acts out. Haru is as intelligent as he is belligerent, but because of the way he was raised he never got to connect with people. It’s this shared isolation that ironically brings him and Shizuku together, and what makes them so well matched. However, even with such understandable personality flaws it does not forgive him for becoming dependent and needy around Shizuku. He doesn’t seem to understand her and is afraid her want to focus on her own needs means she might drift away from him. His story is truly a tragic one, and unfortunately one that was not fully elaborated on by the end of the anime’s progression through the story.
Even beyond the fantastic main pair, we were given some supporting characters in Natsume and Sasayan. Natsume was such a great comedic foil for the two, with both the social awkwardness to be able to relate with the two oddballs and a charm that really gave any scene she had a lot of life. She definitely had some of the best comedy scenes out of anyone. Natsume’s story, too, was one that remained regretfully unfinished. If there is to be a second season at all I am sure it would start back up on the bombshell she laid on Micchan-san.
I’ve noted on it before, but Sasayan really is quite the oddity in this bunch, if only paradoxically for his complete normalcy. He has friends, he gets along well in class, he even participates in clubs. Still, he chooses to hang out with these three with all the complications and eccentricities. I suppose something could be said for an attraction towards Natsume, but as far as the anime shows that is yet to really be laid out in full. Still, he performs the job of support well. He occasionally doles out advice and generally performs a very good job as the group’s straight man.
Even with so much going for it, an anime can quickly become unwatchable if put in the hands of a subpar studio. Thankfully, My Little Monster was put in the capable hands of Brains Base, and it really shows. There’s so much life in the broad color pallet they used in painting this story. Not content to simply put out flat colors, every background seems to have its own texture, giving a great artistic look that really complemented the characters. My favorite scene by far had to be as Shizuku was waking up on Haru’s lap, and the camera pans to a beautifully painted sky, not a single blue but a slowly cascading gradient as it reflected her thoughts.
Overall, I’d say if there’s one shoujo show to watch in the past few years, it has to be My Little Monster. It had so much charm, such lovable and engaging characters, such an enthralling romance, that it would seriously be a shame to say otherwise. As I look on to the winter season, the temptation to read ahead in the ongoing story is quite high, but as long as fellow successes in the genre like Kimi ni Todoke and Chihayafuru can get their second seasons, I have high hopes this show will not be done so soon.