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My Little Monster, Vol. 2

Welcome to the weekly manga review here at Sequential Ink! Before we get this week’s review of My Little Monster, Vol. 2, let’s see what interesting tidbits we can dredge up from the San Diego Comi-Con flood, shall we?

 

 

 

 

 

And now, onto this weeks review of My Little Monster, Vol. 2!

My Little Monster, Vol. 2My Little Monster, Vol. 2
By Robico
Kodansha Comics, 168 pp
Rating: Teen (13 +)

When we last left Shizuku and Haru, their relationship had taken an odd turn as Haru rejected Shizuku’s request for a date, causing her to vow to make him love her! Robico’s My Little Monster, Vol. 2 picks up immediately after this and continues to explore the tangled and awkward relationship that Shizuku and Haru’s share, while adding further complications such as a potential romantic adversary, and ominous hint about Haru’s home life.

With it’s first volume My Little Monster was off to a good start, but I’m sad to say that the second one fails to capitalize on what made the initial volume so charming. A large chunk of the volume is spent continuing the will they/won’t they dynamic between Haru and Shizuku, with Shizuku struggling to grasp her feelings for the mercurial Haru. Unfortunately much of it feels like we’re just retreading the same ground from the initial volume. To make matters worse, the little group of friends Haru and Shizuku picked up in the first volume are largely relegated to the sidelines, appearing infrequently throughout the book until the later half. Unsurprisingly it’s this later half of the book where the story starts to come alive once again. It’s during this second half where the wonderful theme of oddballs finding each other and finding themselves through their burgeoning friendship finally returns as Robico introduces Oshima. She’s yet another awkward social outcast that is pulled into Haru and Shizuku’s orbit, and she also seems poised to be Shizuku’s rival for Haru’s affections.

For the most part, Robico does a very good with the visuals. The artwork does a nice job at conveying the characters emotional reactions and driving home their intensity by letting certain moments linger in the air, or allowing images to bleed across panels with toning and other effects emphasizing their import. If that wasn’t enough, Robico’s handle on body language adds another nice layer over emotional resonance to the artwork. The aggressiveness of Haru when he confronts his brother comes through pretty clearly, as does the terrifying and crippling shyness of Oshima. The backgrounds tend to be a bit scarce, forcing the reader to focus solely on the characters and what they’re going through instead. This normally isn’t too bad since most of the book is set in school or a small town, but when they venture outside these areas it does hurt things a bit, as it rarely feels as if they’re elsewhere or out of the element.

My Little Monster, Vol. 2 isn’t a bad book by any stretch, but I expected a little more from it. The emotional heart of the first volume and the group of friends that helped highlight the changes taking place within and between Haru and Shizuku were lacking, and as a result it just felt like a fairly standard relationship drama. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of the supporting cast and moving the relationship between Haru and Shizuku forward a bit more in volume three.

My Little Monster, Vol. 2 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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