The wonderful story of My Little Monster comes to a spectacular conclusion in its twelfth and final volume.
Shizuku and Haru’s big fight after Yuzan’s birthday party made it very apparent that they had a severe disconnect in their perceptions of each other. Fortunately, after finally getting the courage to talk, Shizuku confronts Haru and they have an emotional reconciliation. Now the big question looms: Where do they go from here? What happens after high school?
How Was It?
If you were wondering how My Little Monster would conclude, the front cover provides a clear indication. Haru and Shizuku’s previous disconnects with each other have resolved themselves spectacularly, and Haru is no longer the misunderstood monster next door. If that’s not a way to end a story called “My Little Monster”, then I don’t know what is. Although naturally the lead pair had their wonderful ending, many of the character relationships were also tied together nicely this volume. It’s the details that really make this final book an excellent read, as the story and presentation definitely don’t leave readers wanting.
Of course, Haru and Shizuku’s moment from the previous volume does not go to waste in the opening pages of this one. The dynamic panels, artful use of shading and tones, and (above all) the characters’ expressions make for incredibly moving scenes. The developmental buildup over the past eleven(!) volumes has really encouraged audience investment. Author Robico knows this, and uses it to maximum effect in many of these final scenes. When I read the first volume of the series, Haru and Shizuku felt like an odd pairing, but over the course of the story they have both grown on each other and as characters. Shizuku’s tearful apology to Haru and her moment of weakness more or less concluded her progression from the cold and overly-focused student of the first volume into the much more outwardly emotional and caring person she has become.
However, the reconciliation was merely the first scene of the entire volume, which was another strength of the book. While most series tend to reach a happy ending and then have a small bit at the end (“This happened and they all lived happily after!”), My Little Monster actually gives details from the final year of high school and the life that came after. After Haru and Shizuku reach a better point of mutual understanding, Haru makes the decision to participate in research abroad for a year, and so the manga briefly highlights the year that he is gone. The separation of Haru and Shizuku for a period is an excellent classic setup for a romantic relationship, and Robico handles it quite well. The wordless montage of events over the course of their year apart is effective in portraying the seasons and characters in a way to build reader anticipation for the inevitable reuniting. In fact, one of the best parts of what is already an excellent volume, the amusingly romantic letter Haru mails, comes from this section.
As if the high school graduation and time spent apart weren’t enough of an excellent ending, the final portion of the book is dedicated to telling what happens after high school for all the characters, including Haru and Shizuku’s long term relationship. I absolutely loved this part, as it managed to provide endings not only for the more main characters such as Shizuku and Natsume, but also provided details for more minor members of the cast such as Oshima and Takaya. If there was one way I would describe this volume, it would be incredibly satisfying. The book somehow manages to end excellently over and over again, with each new chapter somehow better than the last.
To put it most simply, My Little Monster ended with a volume that was a great service to fans that have stuck with the series for so long. When I say that the story finished with a bang, I really mean it. Especially considering its romantic comedy nature, My Little Monster really provided a satisfying and relatively thorough ending. The way the cast’s development arcs reached conclusions was especially effective for Haru and Shizuku, providing some extra payoff for the characters that really made for excellent reading. Even more fortunate for us, Kodansha Comics USA will be releasing the special 13th volume (a collection of stories for the characters after the series ended) in the US this month, so there is even more to look forward to.
Editor’s Note: My Little Monster is one of the more beloved series Matt and I have covered on Taykobon (in case the scorecard didn’t make that clear), and Matt wanted to share some of his thoughts on the finale as well:
“My Little Monster Vol. 12 is a tremendous finish to this series, providing a wholly satisfying conclusion to Haru and Shizuku’s story together that warms the heart. I loved how tangibly this volume brought together their own respective character arcs – we’ve seen these characters grow so much in these 12 volumes and I loved the way that Robico was able to reflect this in the final chapters with some emotional moments of tremendous impact. They are still fundamentally the same people, but markedly more mature and well-rounded thanks to their experiences, and I have to appreciate the deftness this is shown with. Thankfully, this extends to the rest of the cast as well – it’s rare to find an extended cast that is so genuinely likeable yet treated with as much care as the main couple, I’ll definitely look fondly back upon this cast of characters for how enjoyable they were to follow. Bravo Robico, you nailed the landing with this volume.”
My Little Monster Vol. 12 was authored by Robico and published by Kodansha Comics USA on January 26, 2016. 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. It is currently translated by Alethea Nibley and Athena Nibley in English and volume 13 will release in North America on March 29th.
Date of Publication: January 26th, 2016
Translator: Alethea and Athena Nibley
Publisher: Kodansha Comics USA