Shizuku’s got a lot on her mind, but she’s about to get a lot more!
Yuzan’s birthday party was the site of a decent amount of turmoil. Haru and Shizuku’s resulting fallout caused both of them to leave unhappy with each other, but now Haru’s been missing for two weeks! Shizuku isn’t sure if she is able to come to terms with her own feelings yet, and still struggles with the implications of the fight. Meanwhile, Yamaken still hasn’t given up on Shizuku yet...
How Was It?
My Little Monster’s eleventh volume picks back up two weeks after Yuzan’s party. Haru’s been gone for two weeks without a word to anyone, and Shizuku is severely stressed out as she tries to process what happened and who was at fault. As it turns out, Haru’s absence has little to do with Shizuku and during his time away he is just as concerned as her, but thinks that everything is his fault instead. This sort of disconnect between the two characters of the primary romantic pairing is a classic narrative frame that is very common in shoujo stories. It’s what My Little Monster does with this kind of disconnect that makes it work: the characters are developed enough so that the misunderstanding feels reasonable given Shizuku and Haru’s personalities, and they go about resolving the problem in their own unique and interesting ways.
This volume is full of emotional moments between characters, from Shizuku and Haru to Natsume and Sasayan. I’m a big fan of dramatic scenes provided that they make sense, and My Little Monster has this in spades. The series is able to handle emotions so well because it handles the buildup and actual events so masterfully. Both the male and female characters feel like they received equal attention from Robico both in aesthetic design and personality, and it is very easy to get emotionally invested in most of the cast because of this. Each member is visually striking in different ways that make it easy to attribute separate feelings to them. During the actual tense scenes, however, the character designs really feel like they come into their own. The facial expressions and the use of different tones and shades to accent emotions work to make what would otherwise be decent drama into a far more intense experience for readers.
While Haru and Shizuku have to sort out their own disconnect (and make no mistake, the resolution to this portion is absolutely fantastic), the continued progress between Natsume and Sasayan is a definite highlight to the volume. Natsume’s distrust of boys and past loneliness both come into play in big ways, and Sasayan gets much more progress as we get to see more of what goes on behind the cheerful and friendly exterior he often exudes. On top of this, romantic rival Yamaken makes a reappearance when he tries for one final time to ‘take’ Shizuku for himself. I’ve always found the relationship between Shizuku and Haru/Yamaken to be an interesting dichotomy. Yamaken and Haru treat Shizuku very differently, and it’s interesting how both seem like bizarre matches for Shizuku in theory but work well in practice. Of course, Shizuku’s decision between the two of them is an obvious one, but the point of Yamaken is less to serve as a legitimate alternate and more to be a foil for Haru, something that the story handles quite well.
While the drama of this volume is definitely on point, comedic moments still crop up plenty, which makes sense considering the general narrative dynamic the series has been employing up to this point. I appreciated the cut in drama at moments for slightly more lighthearted bits, although it would be fair to say that the comedy can sometimes slightly undercut moments briefly with emotional whiplash. However, there are many times where it just fits, as if the comedic moments are a natural extension of the characters despite what is otherwise a serious situation. Either way, if you are concerned about one overwhelming the other, both dramatic and comedic moments maintain their integrity in this most recent volume.
My Little Monster is one of the best shoujo series out there right now. Needless to say, I recommend this volume to anyone who has been reading the books already, as this volume is pretty much a guaranteed hit. If you’re trying to gauge just how much you will like it however, the answer is probably quite a bit. The emotional scenes are littered all over the volume as dramatic relationships between the characters (especially Shizuku and Haru) make advancements, and many of the mainstay emotional and comedic elements are done quite well.
My Little Monster Vol. 11 was authored by Robico and published by Kodansha Comics USA on November 17, 2015. My Little Monster was an ongoing series in Kodansha’s Dessert magazine, and received a single-cour anime adaption by Brain’s Base in Fall 2012. Volume 12 released in North America on January 26th.
Date of Publication: March 29th, 2015
Translator: Athena and Alethea Nibley
Publisher: Kodansha Comics USA