Warning this review may contain spoilers:
So this is my review for 'Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun' or in english 'My little Monster'. This story is quite close to you typical high school story but at the same time it's not, weird right. The story is basically a developing love between the main two characters Haru, who has a past full of twists and turns and fights, and Shizuku, a study nerd who can't leave studying. Along the way a bunch of other characters who come in to surround these two and each had their own part to their love story. The story is actually quite well developed and there is room for a second series. I think they brought each character into the story at the perfect times which in the end helped to create a very good anime which might now be in my top 10. The animation was just spot on, I didn't see any problems and like the manga had a very detailed art. I liked how they stuck just about to how the manga was; the story is quite similar in this way.
The music, I loved the opening had a fast tempo and fun to listen to. The ending I listened to a couple of times just to get to the previews or I would of forgotten about watching them (which made me laugh every time). The voice acting was spot on I think that each voice was quite different and fit each character pretty well. To me the characters were varied and there wasn't really one character that you would hate, each character seems to grow on you even the ones that are meant to be the bad guys. This is a great feature in my opinion.
So in conclusion this is not your typical high school anime, the story as amazing and I personally really enjoyed it. And if maybe it was 25 episodes or in the near future we get a second series that Mark might go up. So that ends this review here, thank you for reading!
My Little Monster, yet another romantic comedy in a season stuffed full of anime trying to fit into that genre, the sad thing in My Little Monster's case is that it isn't strong enough by any means to hold its own against the other, arguably better, shows it was put against. Even if it hadn't fallen into a season like this, it's still quite weak for its genre.
We have our lead female character, Shizuku, and our male, Haru. Shizuku mets Haru after being asked to get him to come to school (he's the type of guy who gets into fights and generally isn't liked all that much, and thus has decided to stay at home). Shizuku succeeds in what she sets out to do, however after spending so much time around her, Haru quickly falls for our young student and all madness breaks out. But this is really where the show begins to struggle, the first couple of episodes work up to the big moment where Haru tells Shizuke that he loves her, to which she turns him down for the moment, and then things go very slowly. It's clear the two characters have some feelings for one another, but not a lot of progress is made in their relationship, which isn't really helped by the fact the two just don't seem suited to one another, and Shizuke would much rather study than get too involved with Haru. The show seems to hope that the comedy it offers will make up for the lack of real romantics, but it tends to get old after the first few episodes and can't continue to hold your interest as much as it may have done at the start.
So what does the show offer to keep viewers? Well, it has to be said that Shizuke actually is quite an interesting character. Watching how she works through problems, such as why she gets so hot and bothered around Haru, or what it's like to have friends, is always amusing and she feels very real in what she thinks and feels. Of course, the fact she'd rather look after herself and study hard can only be looked on as a good thing too. That said, one interesting character doesn't really make a show and nothing else will grab you off the bat and the rest of the side characters, while interesting in their own right, aren't enough to grab your interest. A rival for Shizuke's love is introduced halfway through the series, and while seeing Haru's reaction is highly amusing, the move backfires on itself because again Shizuke is just not interested in a relationship with either of them even if she does have feelings for Haru, to have her really act on them seems to be asking a little too much of the show. But then, summed up that is the show; a slow moving love story which never quite gets there in the end. The characters, setting and story are an interesting idea, but it just can't hold its own against the better shows out there, especially once its comedy loses its charm. The ending is suitably cute and touching for what the series set out to do, but again it isn't quite enough to make it feel like the story was worth bothering with.
When it comes to animation the show actually is quite nice. More attention has been put into character designs than it has any scenery, but that isn't too much of a bad thing as it tends to suit the overall feel quite well. The animation doesn't feel as lifelike as other shows of the genre, but that too works in its favour offering fans of the genre a nice change if they want it.
Where music comes into things the show has a very nice opening and ending theme which suits the overall fun feel of the show quite well. Anything used within the episodes tends to feel overused (even if it isn't the same piece of music, they'll often feel alike), and certain tunes feel just a little bit too soft for a show which is trying so hard to be a somewhat crazy comedy, but it doesn't ruin things by any means.
Overall the show tries its best, the romantic side of things may feel quite lost, and the comedy gets quite old fast, but if you can overlook that and become fond of the many characters it isn't an awful show, just one which got a bit lost on its path and feels like it would have suited just being a comedy perfectly well, at least then enough focus could have been on that side of things where it could have worked really well for all 13 episodes.
I tried to watch this, really. I'm honestly surprised I got as far in as I did. But oh god the lack of a plot, or any redeeming quality for that matter. Absolutely nothing made any sense to me and I could not even pretend to believe that this story was realistic in ANY WAY. This is the last time I listen to anonymous reccomendations, let me tell you. Like, I'm actually pretty mad about this. I'll explain my reasoning:
The story is impressively bad. The first episode has a very sudden love confession between the two main characters, which is a pet peeve of mine already. But the one in Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun has absolutely no context. Broken down, it would look something like this:
And then they switch places. A lot, judging by the other reviews written for this anime. I didn't stick around to find out, but apparently nothing gets resolved romantically (even for the side characters, which is pretty sad). Oh, and the forced drama. Some.....thing happens with delinquent's family and he hates his brother and dad and he lives with his cousin to go to school but his dad wants him to quit school and come home and his brother comes to retreive him but his brother wants him to go to school and this apparently makes him evil and adukhdyftukseutierlatorwgjnjkfdhgdf. This is the part where I gave up. They tried to create tension and instead made everyone look really, really stupid.
But yeah, story sucks. NEXT!
The animation is pretty decent, all things considered. It's probably my favorite aspect of the anime overall. The drawings are quite consistent. I think I only noticed a handful of derpy faces during the 5 episodes I saw. The actual drawing style itself is quite nice, not moe at all, a delight for those purists out there I'm sure (wink wink nudge nudge). Honestly, everything seems pretty standard to me, but then again I was kind of distracted by the glaring faults that are THE STORY AND THE CHARACTERS, A.K.A. THE MEAT ON THE BONES, SHALL WE SAY.
Pretty much the same story with the sound as with the animation, pretty average. I'm notoriously bad for not really paying attention to the sound quality/soundtrack of anything ever. Like, it has to be good, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt good, before I'd notice a thing. However, I did note that the voices did not seem to fit the stereotype of the characters they were protraying. Whch is good? I think? I mean to say that they did more for the characters than the writing did, they made them feel 1.5 dimensional rather than just 1 dimensional. No whiny "Oniiiiii-chan!"s to be heard!
Wow, after writing all this I almost feel bad about being so negative. Almost. The characters of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun basically took the weird storyline and made it difficult to explain to sane people (and on top of that you have to explain why you're watching it, too!). I don't even know where to start about the characters. Time for more handy bullet formatting!
I don't really have anything left to say at this point. Obviously, I severly dislike this anime, but I hope my super opinionated "review" doesn't sway you from watching this if you really want to. With that being said, feel free to commiserate with me in the comment section if this review moved you to tears, that finally, someone understands the emotional pain that is Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. Now, I stayed up waaaay later than I intended to just to vomit angry words onto the internet, so I'm going to lay my sad soul to rest now.
(I've never written one of these, can't you tell?)
- Animated by Brain’s Base, a studio with very good production values and a mostly mediocre roster. Their best works to date are Baccano and Penguindrum and even them were just lively and colorful but not exactly masterpieces.
- Directed by Kaburaki Hiro, who has experience with the romance genre but didn’t produce anything amazing.
- Based on a manga by someone whose this is the only work adapted.
My Little Monster is in a way like Kare Kano, one of the most memorable school life anime of the 90’s. It has characters that are pretending to be someone else, or even to actively not enjoining their teen lives. All that for the sake of being likable to others and to increase their chances of success in their goals. It is a very commonplace and reasonable thing most teenagers do and it’s nice to see how they would deal with the psychological pressure such issues create.
The comedy factor of the show is very high though, so most of the conflict is presented in a comical and light way. They address them but don’t expect a realistic handling of them. Take the main two characters for example.
- Shizuku, the heroine, cares only for her studies, until she meets Haru who completely messes her organized life.
- Haru, the co-protagonist, is a crazy teenager with extremely anti-social behavior, violent, vulgar, never takes something seriously, and acts as he likes without thinking much. He comes to the conclusion Shizuku is in love with him, just because she cared a bit about him and never leaves her side thereafter.
A thing you must accept right away is Haru’s behavior. He does some really horrible things from time to time, such as threatening to rape Shizuku, punches her hard to the point of bleeding, undresses in public, and constantly gets into fights for close to no reason. Normally such problematic people would not be allowed in typical schools, but since the show is mostly comedy whatever he does never has negative consequences. You must also accept Shizuku’s passive acceptance to all that. You would expect she would be devastated and would hate Haru for all the terrible things he constantly does to her. But instead she just becomes his best friend (and possible sweetheart) without much of consideration.
There isn’t much of a plot; it’s basically the small daily problems teenagers face while trying to socialize or get good grades. There is close to no continuity and character development is close to zero. So in case you are watching this just to see the two main characters getting all serious in their relationship, don’t expect anything to happen. The characters are eccentric and full of emotional angst for you to like them right away but they are otherwise bricks when it comes to simply saying “I love you” or the more expected “let’s mate like rabbits, since we are crazy”. It is questionable how far they can remain interesting without developing their relationship or something actually important happening in their lives. I for example lost interest in 4 episodes before the lack of serious handling of its themes and the commonplace setting made me lose interest. This didn’t happen with Kare Kano, thanks to its weird animation (or lack of it).
Ok in terms of colors and character figures, but don’t go looking for anything special in them. They still have lots of choppy animation and the setting is just another typical high school with typical teenagers. Voice acting is very good for the roles each one of them has and the songs are ok for this sort of show, but still overall nothing memorable.
Just like all romances, it’s a good time waster for the slice of life or comedy fans but nothing that will be remembered in a few years from now.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (average)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 2/10
Premise 1/2 (simple)
Pacing 0/2 (loose)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (doesn’t exist)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (eccentric)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 0/2 (none)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch)
Memorability 2/4 (the main duo make it slightly memorable)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
Art 0/1 (looks typical)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 0/3 (what story?)
Characters 2/4 (eccentric but don’t develop)
Colourful and amusing, the characters are very unique and I could relate to certain aspects of the series. Overall fun ride.