Monday, June 09, 2008

Manga Monday: Monkey High!

Monkey High! (Volume 1)
Shouko Akira
Monkey High! is a shojo manga that follows one of the more memorable characters I've encountered in manga recently: Haruna Aizawa, the beautiful daughter of a politician recently engaged in a scandal. Following her father's downfall, Haruna transfers to a new school, where she observes that things are pretty much the same as at the prestigious K Academy where she attended previously: the students act like monkeys, bickering, establishing hierarchies...she finds it all tedious and obnoxious. Unfortunately for her, the popular boy Atsu has taken a shine to her, and likewise, all of the girls have decided to dislike her. But the short energetic boy Macharu (whom she thinks looks like a baby monkey) seems to be the only one who can melt through the standoffish front she's put up to keep others at a distance.
I really enjoyed this book. It's a great romantic story with very human characters. Like I said before, I love Haruna. She's a little bitter and quietly disgusted by those around her, but ultimately, she does care about how people perceive her as much as she'd like to pretend she didn't. She doesn't really know where she belongs in the scheme of things, but she's content to blend into the background, if only the people around her would allow it. Akira's pacing and the tension she creates is pretty much perfect. there isn't a dull moment throughout the story - it just kind of draws you in and doesn't let go. The supporting cast is pretty great, funny at times and tender at others. This is easily one of the best shojo manga I've read all year.

1 comment:

ahavah said...

I love Monkey High as well, and feel its unfortunate that its not as recognized as it should be, perhaps because it's overshadowed by so many great Shojo Manga that have come out this year (and some overrated titles as well) such as High School Debut, Love*Com, Honey & Clover, etc. I was thrilled to see this title (along with Sand Chronicles, another great underrated manga) in your "Top Manga of 2008" list and equally thrilled with your review. I just hope that the author delves into some of Haruna's family drama in future volumes, so that the plot gets a bit deeper, because light shojo romance comedies tend to go stale after the second or third "rival" arc. Except for in Love*Com. Have you reviewed that title yet? ;)