You know that feeling where you want to talk about something, but are torn and filled with mostly minor feelings, because the “something” is stuck in a variation of limbo? As well as not having an ending at all? Well, that’s where I am with My Little Monster, a show I originally desired to use as mouth wash for Sword Art Online, but made me question if it was the same studio who brought me one of my favorite series more than anything.
My Little Monster Season One Review
Studio: Brian’s Base
Length: 13 episodes
Availability: Subtitled on
My Little Monster (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun) is a not-quite-a-romance story between an unempathetic studybug named Shizuku Mizutani. And a delinquent with poor social skills, a heart of gold, and remarkable book smarts, Haru Yoshida. After causing a ruckus that suspended him from high school, Haru is met by Shizuku in an attempt to bring him back to school, with the unspoken condition that Shizuku will be Haru’s first true friend. Paving the way for an on and off relationship between the two, with back and forward feelings, unintentional domestic abuse, and rooster raising between two brands of the high functioning autistic character model.
Normally, the setup of a relationship between two oddballs is something that doesn’t make me do much beyond shrugging. Mostly due to how media in general presents love as something that makes every individual lose all rationality and have their biological clock tick like a nuclear bomb. Yet, in My Little Monster, the two leads manage to remind me of a bitter, but still loving old married couple, and just two friends. Meaning that neither of them plan on making some infants for the next few years. Both of the leads didn’t come from a “normal” life, or have even had real friends growing up due to how they isolated others. It weirdly makes the characters feel more plausible and more human, despite being social outcast, or perhaps because of it.
And as much as I would expect this show to be primarily sunshine and rainbows with fun as every side dish. The show has an odd habit of having the first half of each episode be a very lighthearted romp through everyday life, with maybe a rooster or additional character thrown in. And it is certainly enjoyable, assisted greatly by a colorful range of expressions, and some genuinely funny lines, despite being a mostly direct translation, at least from what I can gather. With the emotion exerted by the Japanese voice actors being icing on the cake. In fact, there were a remarkable amount of still frames that I loved so much that I wanted to reuse them in someway because the scenes that were set up had so much memetic potential.
A remarkable amount of them were from one of the several additional characters, Asako Natsume. Another socially confused highschooler, who has difficulty speaking with most people, preferring online communications, and pretty much sums this show up in a nutshell. Possessing boundless amounts of energy, but also a quick shift from emotional extremes, she is certainly a very fun character to watch. However, when it comes time for her more dramatic scenes, most of which are crammed in during the last two episodes, her character raises more questions than answers. Namely that we never know what is the reason why she is uncomfortable in the real world, and if it is implied, it is vague at best.
We don’t even get a good idea of how her life works, seeing as how all we know about her parents is that she needs to get decent grades to please them. Which serves as her main conflict until the last two episodes, where a ton of depth seems to get dumped on her. This isn’t even exclusive to the minor characters. During episode seven, Haru is thrown a thick block of background, but it is pretty much it after that, with at least two subplots about him unresolved. All because of how this show is based on a 12 volume manga series, and just the first half.
There was no explicit “To Be Continued” at the end. But with the last line being a question, I’m pretty sure it is a given that there will be a second season, but the first one just lacks the necessary closure to feel like a full experience. Which leaves several minor characters with unfinished arcs, and the only character who I mostly understand, being Shizuku. It is a very large harperment towards the potential enjoyment provided by this show, but never really destroys it. Despite how Sōhei “Sasayan” Sasahara does next to nothing, while he is considered to be a main character. He literally wanders into the show because it looked interesting to him, when all I know is that he’s a nice enough guy, who likes Baseball.
I suppose that one could easily say that this is a common issue in anime, mangas, and light novels, where many stories are unfinished, but that doesn’t make it a non issue. The first part of My Little Monster is more of a wind-up than anything, and a pretty mellow one at that, with the potential to go any way by the end. It is a good wind-up, but its sights are set on a conclusion that just isn’t there, so not much feels like it was accomplished near the end.
However, the other aspect that I judge with anime series, the audiovisuals, certainly helps the show along. Keeping in mind how lovely the expressions and emotions are, I really enjoy the look of the show. I am not aware of the proper terminology to describe the look, but captures a nice medium between something colorful, and something similar to reality. With solid character models, backgrounds that look like they were mostly drawn with a colored pencil, and a variety of outfits for most characters, which I always appreciate. Although, I do think that the music supports the mood of being serious a bit too much in many of the scenes about Shizuku and Haru’s relationship.
I can safely say that I enjoyed my time viewing My Little Monster, but I don’t have a very strong reaction to anything it did. Even beyond the lack fo a conclusion, there seems to be something I can not pinpoint, missing from the show. Most of the show’s contents are far from bad, but ignoring my big issue with stories that just stop, there is only so much good. It is a fun show that manages to do relationships well, but as its own entity, I struggle to find solid feelings other than, “It’s pretty good”.
A solid title that may be lacking in an infinite amount of different ways, or just a few big and difficult to ignore issues. Varies based on the medium. But still worth giving it a go!