Seeing that I’ve mentioned this animated series several times on my blog in the past, it seems inevitable that I would get around to reviewing it! After rewatching the series in almost 2 years and picking up the latest manga volumes for it in English (of which there are currently 3 available via Kodansha USA), it’s time I immersed myself yet again into this realm of a slice of life anime.
My Little Monster (better known in Japan as Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun) brings us into the world of Shizuku Mizutani, a pigtailed antisocial high school girl who has spent all of her life studying her brains out. However, when she is forced to come across the alleged desk neighbor of hers at school, Haru Yoshida, her entire world gets turned upside down! With this new boy in her life, will she come clean with her feelings for him, or get absolutely annoyed by this uninvited pest?
In case you didn’t know already, this is a shoujo series, meaning the target audience for this one appeals mostly to young girls, as is obvious with both a main female lead with funny faces and a couple of slender pretty boys. However, where I come from at least, this series has also been welcomed openly by a male audience too. The story overall takes a much more gender neutral approach to its character development and certainly has a few elements that appeal to both boys and girls.
In the immediacy, the monster (kaibutsu) of this series refers to Haru Yoshida. Ever since he was younger, he was never really in control of his emotions and often got into fights in his oafish behavior. There are countless cases of him inexplicably beating up everyone from upperclassmen to the poor guy with the baseball cap (seriously, he gets the short end of the stick) to Shizuku herself; and as such, he is often branded as the scariest guy on campus.
What people don’t realize, however, is that Haru is also the top of his class, had he actually came to school, took exams, and wrote his name on every test! Needless to say, this annoys Shizuku Mizutani to no end, since she has been used to being the top of her class for as long as she can remember.
Of course, if you like to dive into other possibilities, the subtle “Little Monster” could also refer to Shizuku Mizutani’s inner quarrel with having to cope with this new boy in her life. I think I recognize this a little more myself, as I have come across many people (mostly guys) who have annoyed me to no end because of qualities they had that I lacked, or were just simply too bullheaded for me to want to deal with them. However, every time I got annoyed with these people, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the one being the monster instead of them. Shizuku likewise has a knack for shunning people away, being given the not-so-endearing nickname “Dry Ice” (in English, I might add) and having an extremely short temper for people like Haru.
Truth be told, I actually started watching this because as a male feminist, I wanted to dive deeper into the mind of the feminine complex, hoping to better understand how girls/women might think. What I got out of this, however, was a much stronger appreciation for boys/men who I used to abhor because they were so annoying! Haru may have easily been my rival in school too, but just like Shizuku, I’ve come to realize he’s not all that bad. Dare I say, I might have actually had a man crush on him.
But then I realize after a while that I’m still a heterosexual male and forget about the whole thing altogether. I’d still be his friend though.
But whether or not I think Haru is an attractive guy, I can’t ignore the third monster of this series; that is, the mascot of the series: Nagoya!
That’s right! Fear the chicken! This bird beast is so vicious, even cats are afraid of him! And if that doesn’t scare you, his chicken coop complete with a barbed wire fence, named after a certain pigtailed girl (uhm… SPOILERS), will prove that no one messes with Japanese poultry. Consume at your own risk!
So if you’re looking for a great romantic comedy or a great shoujo series to watch that’s full of laughs and characters you can relate to, watch My Little Monster. If slice of life is your thing, this anime will be very much enjoyable!