My Little Monster Series Review: He’s Been Misunderstood Forever But Now The Girl Who Doesn’t Understand Anything About People Has Entered His Life

Overview:

I couldn’t believe when I drafted my post of top 5 characters who love their darling to death that I hadn’t actually reviewed this series previously. So here we are. This is the story of Shizuku Mizutani who is known for being cold as ice and doing nothing but studying who is one day asked by the teacher to take some handouts to Haru Yoshida’s home because he hadn’t come back to school after being suspended on the first day. Haru latches onto Shizuku after some initial misunderstandings and quickly declares that he is in love with her, something Shizuku finds bewildering.

Review:

No matter how you want to slice it, this story gets off to a rough start. First we have Shizuku’s narration which tells us that this is a story about all of these different people who we see briefly in cut scenes and then she tells us it doesn’t make sense to start the story there. While plenty of stories do this, give you a glimpse of what is coming or a flash of who the characters are, they normally do this to generate interest or suspense. In this case, it is just distracting from getting into the story. What makes this particularly opening worse for the show is that a lot of these characters serve a very peripheral role in the overall story. Yes, they are in it, and we do meet them and learn about them, but this is very much Haru and Shizuku’s story with everything else sidelined. Even after you’ve watched the show through once, the opening doesn’t improve the second time round when you know the characters you are seeing.

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Don’t get me wrong, these guys are fantastic support characters. But it isn’t their story.

Then we follow that up with Haru and Shizuku’s meeting which involves him first jumping out a window to get away from her and then grabbing her off the street and threatening to rape her if she makes a sound. A lot of people would stop watching the show right then and there and to be honest I couldn’t blame them.

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But…

After the show gets through this rocky start, what follows is an intriguing and fairly serious look at two people who for different reasons don’t really fit in and don’t know how to interact with others learning how to build a relationship. It is sweet at times, hilarious at others, and super dramatic and cute when needed. The only thing that stops it from being the perfect romance is that Haru remains a fairly unstable guy and while he maintains appearances for Shizuku after the first half of the story is done, his actions towards others are outright concerning. So the fact that a lot of his antics are played up for laughs concerns me a little bit, even while the show on the whole is pretty enjoyable.

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I’m thinking this would be an easy show to recut to turn it into the story of a serial killer stalking the girl and that probably isn’t the best thing to say about an anime that from its upbeat opening song really wants to just be a bit of fun.

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What does work very well for this series is that none of the characters are stagnant. Each has their own issues and baggage and all of these characters are working towards a goal or trying to find a goal or a way to live in the world. They give advice, take advice, try things, fail at things, and continue to evolve both individually and within the group as the story progresses and it all occurs fairly naturally.  The other thing I like is that there are no instant fixes for any of their issues. While each character improves and works to overcome certain issues within themselves, they remain true to who they are. Shizuku learns to be more social and slowly accepts other people into her sphere of awareness but she still knows at heart that she’d rather be at home studying and that there are still only a handful of people that she’s comfortable around.

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Likewise, Natsume continues to be shunned by most other girls but does find comfort with Shizuku and Haru and starts to get over some of her social anxiety. She still lives a lot of her life online, hampered by her poor spelling, and she still struggles with school and studying, but she takes little steps throughout the series and seems much more accepting of herself at the end. Early on she would fiercely defend her choices but it always seemed like she was trying to convince herself that she was happy.

Haru’s backstory is really the only one that gets explored in depth and even then it is still missing a lot of pieces, though the picture that is painted is pretty bleak, as you would expect given how messed up some of his views are. It would have been nice if this show had been given a longer run so more of the characters could have been explored as it feels like we’re just starting to get to know some of them when the show draws to a close.

However, in terms of romance, this story does work as long as you don’t instantly hate Haru after his antics in episode 1. If you can’t get past that it is unlikely you will enjoy much of what comes after, but it is actually pretty sweet.

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I definitely enjoy this one for a light hearted rewatch. I can’t take it too seriously because if I start thinking about everything that is wrong about the central relationship it would just pull the entire show apart, but basically this is good fun with some serious moments mixed in with some very silly moments. Kind of the perfect thing to binge on a rainy weekend.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Characters Who Love Their ‘Darling’ To Death

Yes, this post has been inspired by Darling in the Franxx’s Zero Two, unfortunately she doesn’t get a place on the list due to the uncertainty about how her character will develop from here.

Certainly she has all the traits of the characters below so far. Obsessively possessive of her chosen ‘Darling’, not entirely needing consent though does appreciate the thought, and willing to cut other people out of their ‘Darling’s’ lives if necessary. I’m pretty sure you can guess some of the names below but as always, I’d love to know who you would have included on your list. Which anime character do you think loves their ‘Darling’ to death?


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Honourable mentions: Zero Two of course.

Number 5: Misa Amane from Death Note

There is no surprise that Misa made this list. The cute, sweet idol obsessed with Kira. She latches onto Light and promises to be helpful. She’ll follow his every command and do as he says. But no, he cannot date anyone else and no he cannot even pretend to be with other girls. Why? Because she’ll kill them in an instant and does not care that they may bring the police down on both of them. Misa was never one for a strategy. She went straight after what she wanted and what she wanted was Light’s absolute loyalty. And while Misa never did get Light killed, that was more good luck than good management. If it hadn’t been for her he would never have had to go through the whole confinement thing which would have made life a lot easier for him later.

Number 4: Haru from My Little Monster

Now, Haru is an interesting character and a lot of the time his bizarre actions are more a lack of understanding of norms than actual malice, and yet threatening to rape a girl the day after you met her is kind of extreme. The fact that these two end up being an adorable couple is kind of terrifying when put in that context, mostly because Shizuku spends a lot of time putting some very clear boundaries in place, particularly when he did punch her (technically an accident but still not cool). However, while Haru becomes far better at moderating his behaviour as directed toward Shizuku, Kenji Yamaguchi, who also kind of likes Shizuku, is not so lucky. At one point Haru nearly pushed him off a flight of stairs and was only stopped because he was distracted by Shizuku and another time Haru made it clear that his change in behaviour only applied to Shizuku. Not exactly an amazing example of reform or healthy relationships really. Fortunately though, no deaths in the show. It is a romantic comedy despite the serious doses of ‘what’ going on in Haru’s character description.

Number 3: Creed Diskenth from Black Cat

The guy is just obsessed with Train. That’s literally hit entire motivation and reason for being. He follows Train within the Chronos organisation and when Train leaves he completely loses it. The fact that Train left after being influenced by a friend (possibly closer than a friend) truly infuriated Creed and so Creed killed her. And then made sure Train knew that he had killed her. A lot of the time it is unclear is Creed is trying to kill Train or confine him or just mess with him but basically Creed is pretty stable as a character (as much as possible for a villain), until you throw Train into the mix and then he is a complete and utter psycho. I guess it never really occurred to him that Train legitimately did not care about him at all until he killed Saya. And even then, Train didn’t actually care about Creed. He just wanted to destroy the person who destroyed Saya. It didn’t matter that it was Creed. Again, Creed doesn’t manage to kill Train but he does come very close on multiple occasions.

Number 2: Yuno Gasai from Future Diary

I can already hear people asking, why is Yuno not number one on this list. And certainly, if we were just going with being crazy, Yuno is definitely a good contender. Still, in terms of loving their Darling to death, Yuno’s got some fierce competition. Mostly because I’m not entirely certain how much Yuno actually is in love rather than just obsessed with Amano. On the other hand, she’s one of the few people on this list who did in fact kill her Darling, even if it was in another timeline. So, basically, she swears to protect him in the death game, but mid-way through she tries confining him by tying him to a chair. Afterwards we learn that previously these two were the last two left standing and she killed him in order to be the victor and then she’s killed her past-self, inserted herself into that life, and done the whole thing again. You just have to wonder if she expected it to end differently the next time.


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Number 1: Road Kamelot from D Gray Man

It absolutely had to be Road. She is a truly sadistic character who is, unfortunately for Allen, obsessed with our white haired exorcist friend. Mid-battle she can go from attacking him with kisses to shoving a spike through his eye in about the space of a heart beat and she sure doesn’t care about anyone near Allen, unless she thinks she can torture him by hurting them. Her obsession runs deep and she’s more than once allowed him to live when she could have killed him, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had a fair go at inflicting quite a bit of pain on him. D Gray Man Hallow saw her assisting him from her doll form, though whether that will continue or whether she is just leading him to yet another disaster is anyone’s guess unless we get another continuation of the anime (or, you know I could eventually read the source material). Either way, Road was the first character I thought of for this list. She is ice cold, completely obsessed, and has a real taste for pain.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

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Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.