Friday, April 04, 2008

Monkey High!, vol. 1

Story and Art by Shouko Akira
Released in the US by Viz

Slugline: Monkey's aren't usually this subtle about relationships

Haruna has had to transfer out of a prestigious school due to her politician father's scandal. She has learned from that particular harsh experience that school was a like a hill of monkeys, always jockeying for position. Unfortunately for her, the most monkey-like of all the boys is Masaru draws her attention. But despite both of their intentions they start exploring a relationship with each other.

What is nice here that there isn't huge declarations of love or emotional intent, mostly just two people trying to figure out what, if any, their emotional connection is. For once it is not an environment that is working against them, normally it seems that school classes are filled with people trying to destroy each other's relationships. Also, they both make mistakes, step forward, step back and wonder what the hell they are doing with no saints here. It feels like a while since I have read a shoujo that felt organic rather than needlessly contrived with over the top stakes (which means considering our review output means it was less than three months ago.)

I went back and forth on whether or not this was 3 1/2 or 3 stars, but while competent, even enjoyable, it hasn't quite started hitting all cylinders, with that spark, so to speak. I suspect that it will be clear within a few volumes, but after being down on the last few weeks of reviews, I am trying not to see what is not there for the titles that don't make me want to poke out my eyes.

As for my promise of all ages manga review today, it turns out there are very few all ages manga published, so I went for the next closest age bracket, 13+.

Monkey High!, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.


No comments: