My Little Monster Volume 1 focuses on two Japanese high school students. One is smart girl who is driven to succeed and hasn’t felt a need for friends, while the other is a boy hardly comes to school but ends up trying to become friends with the girl.
Volume 1 introduces Mizutani Shizuku, an intelligent first-year student who is trying to stay at the top of her class. Because of this, Shizuku has trouble relating to people and doesn’t really have any friends. In order to push herself in her studies, Shizuku needs to acquire a study guide, but is unable to afford one. A teacher offers to pay for a study guide if Shizuku will do a favor for her.
Shizuku is sent to deliver handouts to a boy in her class named Yoshida Haru, who has been absent since the first day of school. Before the day started, Haru had beaten up some upperclassmen and was immediately suspended from school. Haru is quick to pick a fight, but it turns out that he doesn’t really know how to relate to other people, either. After some initial misunderstandings and awkward moments, Haru tells Shizuku that he’s in love with her, and Shizuku has no idea how to handle Haru’s sudden declaration of love.
After interacting with Shizuku, Haru begins coming to school. However, he seems to have no clue about how to act at school and tries following Shizuku around. Haru’s awkwardness contributes to the humor in My Little Monster Volume 1, but there turns out to be a twist about his character that I didn’t see coming. But in a lot of ways, that twist adds a little more humor to the series when you think about his actions earlier in the volume.
During Volume 1, two other characters are introduced: a girl named Asako Natsume who comes to them for tutoring to improve her grades, and a baseball player named Sasahara who went to school with Haru in junior high. Over the course of this volume, Shizuku finds herself making friends and becoming part of a group, even though she never set out for that to happen. As she sees Haru and Natsume longing for friends so badly and not understanding why, she ends up in situations that ultimately forge friendships. She’s still rather awkward about interacting with others by the end of the volume, but I suspect that will likely improve.
While the setup for My Little Monster may not sound as if its breaking any new ground, it was actually still a compelling read. By the end of the first volume, I really came to care about both Shizuku and Haru. I especially think their interactions with each other are rather cute.
When it comes to the art, there’s nothing about the overall style that truly makes it stand out. However, Robico still finds ways to capture Shizuku and Haru’s emotions and make the reader take notice.
My Little Monster Volume 1 should appeal to manga readers who enjoy stories that focus on high school students awkwardly navigating relationships in a humorous way.
The reviewer checked out a copy of this item through the King County Library System