Monday, January 18, 2016

My Monster secret Volume 1: Review

Kuromine Asahi a boy who cannot lie or keep a secret so much that he is known as the "holey sieve" finds out the secret of his crush the cool beauty Shiragami Youko that not only is she a vampire but actually an ebullient Kansai-Ban spewing vampire. So now not only does he have to keep her secret safe so she won't have to leave school. Wich isn't easy due not only to his legendarily bad poker face but also the attempts of his childhood best friend the school newspaper editor Akemi Mikan who lives to make people miserable. While also learning the secret of his previous crush that shot him down preemptively the taciturn and straight-laced Student representative Aizawa Nagisa a 6 19/64 inch tall alien who's regular body is a full bodied android she commands on her mission to research earth. In short it is a wacky gag manga with a romantic plot that is more of a backbeat to the wacky hijinks that ensue while Eiji Masuda's character design makes for an odd gangly art style that looks more modeled after early Yoshihiro Togashi. None of the girls are traditionally Bishojo with overwrought reactions and rubbery facial features. While Asahi as a protagonist is a welcome respite from the Ataru Moroboshi clones that have seemingly infected Shonen Romance for years. With Asahi seriously trying to do right by Youko while also growing to appreciate her hidden personality or their mutual stupidity. While the localization of Youko's Kansai-Ban is handled well never being overstated but noticeable enough to match the difference in speech patterns between formal Japanese and dialect. It's a balance of learning to love someone for who they are and appreciate friendship above love it's touching. Yet the romance seems a lesser point than the comedy based for this volume around Mikan trying to pry information out of Asahi or his friends about his relationship with Youko while the end of the volume sets up a inadvertent love triangle between Nagisa and Youko it's this sort of mixture of utter cluelessness with Nagisa's emotional awakening along with Asahi making what he thinks is the right choice it is nice to see a potential couple start out as friends and overall feels exceedingly chaste and old-fashioned in the best sense of the word. While I also have to complement the use of panel layout displaying Youko's isolation or the fact that each page feels full with only one use of a two page spread to good effect. A promising start to a series that ably balances romance, friendship, and the often cringe elements of growing up.

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