Monster Musume Volume One Review

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Last week I wrote a blog about how I discovered Monster Musume and why it became one of my all-time favourites. =D In that very same blog I mentioned that I was going to write a review of it. Fast forward one week and I’m very excited to share my thoughts. =D

CONTENTS

1. Summary of the Plot…in my own words!

1.1 Plot

1.2 Themes/Genre

2. Self-Awareness

3. Art

4. Characters

4.1. Kimihito Kurusu

4.2. Miia

4.3. Ms. Smith

4.4. Papi

4.5. Centorea “Cerea” Shianus

5. Constructive Criticism

6. Voice Interpretation

7. Behind the Author

8. Bibliography

9. Conclusion

1. SUMMARY OF THE PLOT…IN MY OWN WORDS!

It came to light many years ago that hybrid species, liminals, exist in the same world as humankind. In order to reach a truce and understanding with these hybrid species the world government created the Interspecies Cultural Exchange Accord. This accord is a homestay programme where a monster-girl would live as a guest with a human host to accustom and adapt to human society.

Kimihito Kurusu becomes an involuntary “volunteer” and ends up being a host for monster-girls. His first resident was Miia the Lamia, his second was Papi the Harpy, and the third was Centorea “Cerea” Shianus. It’s imperative for Kimihito to keep his libido in check since intercourse and breeding between humans and liminals are considered forbidden. How will he cope? Does he give into his natural urges? Read this to find out! =D

1.1. PLOT

I honestly didn’t think there was going to be much plot since it’s just a slice of life story involving monster-girls adapting to human society. But by the end of the volume, we all learned the story’s plot- marriage. Now, everyone is fighting for the affection and attention of Kimihito.

The underlining plot, or as I call it, the ‘hidden’ plot is all about acceptance and equality. Sure, the visuals are enticing but there is more to the story then just cheeky innuendoes and illustrations. The monster-girls live in Japan on this special accord programme to see if they can integrate into human society and blend in with no problems.

Fortunately for girls like Miia, Cerea and Papi they’re settling in very well because of Kimihito. They maybe monster-girls/Liminals but they’re just normal human girls like well…human girls! That’s the other thing. Liminals is obviously a pun from animals but I wonder what the ‘Li’ part means?

Ahem-

Kimihito made a huge speech at the end and told his residents that they should be ‘themselves’ since they’re like a family and all family members need to be themselves. It is somewhat cheesy but it doesn’t take away from the fact that that was a very heart-warming moment.^^’ Another heart-warming moment came when Kimihito said that he sees Miia as a girl before he sees her as a lamia.^^’

1.2. THEMES/GENRE

  • Comedy
  • Ecchi
  • Fantasy
  • Harem
  • Mature
  • Romance
  • Seinen
  • Slice of Life

2. SELF-AWARENESS

One of the things I noticed after finishing the volume for the first time, was how self-aware the manga is. There are many puns in the dialogue that associate with certain characters. E.g., Miia mentioned to Cerea that she was “galloping away” because Cerea is a centaur. And Miia said to Papi that she’ll make her into “chicken noodle soup” after they were horse-playing. XD!

This manga, has many clichés. One of those cliché, a common one in comedy, is the whole female-on-male violence. Why do the ladies hit the gents? There are several reasons for this. It can be due to;

  • Embarrassment
  • Jealously
  • Surprise
  • Anger

One may wonder why there’s a lot of comedy that include female-on-male violence. I have a theory about this but I intend to talk about that in another blog since I just want to focus on this review for now. =D

Whilst Monster Musume has this female-on-male violence, it’s not necessarily done in a deliberate manner. Whenever Kimihito is on the receiving end of a hit, it is accidental. It’s always accidental.

To be honest, this is my kind of comedy. It’s the sort of thing you see in an episode of the Simpsons. Homer will make a statement how he would never do something, then literally contradicts his words a second later. XD! If this is applied correctly then it can be very funny, and just as I find those moments in the Simpsons funny, I found this moment in Monster Musume funny!

3. ART

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The art, in my opinion, is very pleasant on the eye. Okayado does a great job with the design of the characters, especially when it comes to facial expressions and clothing.

It probably won’t win the art of the year award but it has a style and the style is very good. Okayado has cemented his own style of drawing. I’m confident that his style will definitely be worldly recognised very soon. =)

4. CHARACTERS

4.1. Kimihito Kurusu

I think he’s really cool. He’s not your run-of-the-mill male protagonist, at least not in this kind of story.  In this kind of story the main male characters are depicted as perverted, clueless or slightly cowardly. So far, Kimihito hasn’t shown any of these traits.

He’s manly and interested in a girl’s body by all accounts but he can control himself which is very admirable considering he’s a young man going through adolescence.^^/

Kimihito is fully aware of how Miia feels for him. This is very unusual, because most young male characters seem oblivious to the signs of love.  It seems however,that he doesn’t mind Miia fancying him. Why would he? I certainly wouldn’t! =)

Most of the time he acts like a house-broker, or as I call people like him, a modern man. I believe the whole modern men trend started in the 1990’s. I’m happy to say that there are quite a lot of modern men in Anime/Manga as well, I’m talking about male protagonists like Ryuushi from Toradora, Kodaka from Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends, Eita from Oregairu and Ayumu from Is This a Zombie? Kimihito is now one of the latest modern men in the manga world. =D

I do feel sorry for him though. Whenever he gets hurt at Miia’s expenses (albeit accidentally) he never gets cross with her and he never sells her out to the Coordinator, Ms Smith. =) Ms Smith, I suspect, does take advantage of his good nature. That’s why she keeps coming over to his house uninvited. XD Really, she is far from fit to become the coordinator. Haha.

4.2. Miia

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4.2.1. Profile

I think the humour in this story is absolutely brilliant.

I mentioned before about the humour being similar to the Simpsons. For me, the hilarity comes from the cheesy puns and one of the leading characters, Miia. Miia is one of the main reasons why I love this manga. Miia, you may or may not guess, is a pun from ‘lamia.’ 😉

She is a fun and beautiful character. Some of her traits are cliché but she’s also a refreshing type of character. All because she is a Lamia.^^ I find her to be a very versatile character. She can be very cute one minute, sexy the next, jealous the next, awkward the next, and most important of all, extremely funny.

Her design is especially good, particularly her face and the snake part of her body. Because of her personality she’s the type who can pull off any kind of clothes whether it’s general trendy clothes or cosplay. Personally I think she looks good with fashionable clothes. I reckon she’d be good in fashion retail.

One of her best traits, at least in my opinion, is her facial expressions. Whenever she pulls certain comedic expressions I literally laugh out loud. XD Every single expression, from being annoyed, speechless, shy, lustful and touched are all wonderful.^^/ Her loved up/touched mode are especially nice.^^

4.2.2. Debate about Miia

I was part of a discussion on a forum once talking about Miia’s appearance. One user said that by having yellow/snake like eyes she loses her appeal and personality. Because having yellow eyes make her look monstrous and not cute. I respect this view 100% but I also disagree with this 100%.

Granted, girls look stunning with either blue, green, brown or hazel eyes, we all know that and accept that as a fact of life. =D  And yes, having common eyes like blue and hazel are nice, but different coloured eyes is one of the things that make Manga, Manga.

Miia would suit blue eyes but having blue eyes wouldn’t really make her unique, it wouldn’t feel like Miia. Being a half snake is who Miia is. I find her eyes majestic and beautiful.

4.3. Ms. Smith

With a name like Ms. Smith you know she’s got personality. Haha.

Even though she’s in such a high position with the government she is pretty useless. She’s lazy, unreliable and passes her job tasks on to others, i.e., Kimihito. XD She doesn’t mind dissing out the rules but she doesn’t seem the type who will follow the rules herself. I hope we get a chapter dedicated to Ms Smith. I have a feeling there’s more to her then her addiction to caffeine. ^^’

4.4. Papi

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A birdbrain with a lovely and charismatic personality, that’s Papi! XD

In myth culture harpies are considered “birdbrains” and will forget everything after taking three steps, Papi is no exception.

I see her as the very mischievous little sister type. She has a very good heart but she is rather hyperactive. She can’t seem to stay still and constantly runs off, i.e., she kept running off from Miss Smith. XD Sometimes we all do enjoy rebellious type of characters who don’t always obey the rules. For Papi though I would say that it’s more that she doesn’t understand rather than being rebellious for the sake of it.

The funniest part is when she implied that Kimihito was “stupid” for asking her why she took her clothes off to bathe in the fountain. It was ironic because she doesn’t have a clue about society yet she called him “stupid” for “not-knowing” that you take off clothes before you wash yourself. XD

4.5. Centorea “Cerea” Shianus

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What is there not to love about Cerea?

I can understand why some might be turned off by Cerea since she is half human half horse. Personally I don’t see it like this I just think that Cerea is both badass and cute.

She comes from the famous species of centaurs. She has some special privileges because of the fact that she’s a centaur.

Her introduction was most amusing. Bumping into Kimihito, seemed more like a “car crash” according to him. XD!

I think she’s really cool. She knows how to use her weapons. She’s very proud of her race and her abilities and self-confidence is a very good thing. She’s very intelligent but perhaps a little naïve, which is not surprising since integrating into Japan is a learning curve for all monster-girls. She fell in love with Kimihito and has decided that she will serve him.^^

My favourite moment was when she blushed and smiled after Kimihito held her hand.

5. CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM

Hmm, if I was to give this any constructive criticism, and I emphasize ‘if’, it would be the shading in the art.

I say constructive criticism but really it’s more about me noticing the littlest of things. XD! I have the tendency to look at art and study it in great detail, most of the time I do it subconsciously. Because I like to draw I look at art and compare it with either other artist’ work and my very own.

I have noticed that the toning (shadowing) is not always consistent. In some of the pages, like when Papi goes into the fountain, the fountain is covered in dots. My artist’s intuition tells me that those dots, just by the way they are scattered, were actually supposed to be a tone/shadow/shade. This tells me that this was a mistake. I know from experience that if you’re not consistent with the toning, especially in an art programme like MangaStudio, the result will be black dots instead of a toned area.

My next point is more of a niggle than a criticism. It is the scene where Cerea runs to the park with Kimihito, and you see a small Cerea and Kimihito walking in the park. If you look closely on the page you will notice that the trees in the background are actually overlapping Cerea’s face! XD

These little inconsistencies/mistakes hardly matter though. I only noticed these because this is probably the tenth occasion that I have read the whole volume back to back. So, it took me ten goes to actually notice. It doesn’t matter and it certainly doesn’t bother me in the slightest! =D

6. VOICE INTERPRETATION

Like most people I hear certain kinds of voices and tones whenever I read the dialogue of the characters.

Whenever I read Miia’s dialogue I immediately hear Haruka Tomatsu. I think Haruka would do an amazing job as Miia. Undoubtedly she is known for her role as Asuna from Sword Art Online but she also plays one of my favourite Anime characters, Lala from To LOVE-Ru. I see quite a few comparisons between Lala and Miia in the sense of naivety, humour, affection and the tip of her tail being sensitive. Also, Miia sings harmoniously and Haruka’s a talented singer, so, I can picture her as Miia. Kana Asumi I think would also do a decent job as Miia.

Papi, being a harpy, will no doubt have a nice voice. Whenever I read Papi I always hear a harmonious kind of voice with a hint of cheekiness. I described her personality as the mischievous little sister type, so, I think her voice will be slightly high pitched. Ibuki Kido tends to play characters who are little sisters/young cheeky ladies like Akiko from OreAi, Kasumi from GJ-Bu and Yume from Pupa. Other good candidates to portray her voice, in my view, would be Ayane Sakura and Nao Touyama.^^/

Centorea has a truly wonderful personality. For me it screams to be played by Marina Inoue. Marina Inoue is known for playing kickass females who have very soft/cute sides to their personality. A brave and heroic female who will not back down and is not afraid to show her soft side to the man she loves/admires. Of course, Yoko Hikasa also plays these roles well. Look at Houki from Infinite Stratos, Seraphim from Is This a Zombie? and Rias from High School DxD.

For Ms Smith I imagine a lady who is confident, self-assured, mature and sexy. She can boss people around, takes charge when she needs to and becomes very playful. That’s how I imagine her voice to be and the only person who screams to my mind for that role is Eri Kitamura. I think she’ll do a good job for Miss Smith.^^

Kimihito is cool yet uncool. He can be very masculine when the time calls for it but he can also show his sensitive side. XD I’m thinking someone like…Ryota Ohsaka perhaps? He’s been getting a lot of roles recently and is doing a very good job indeed!

7. BEHIND THE AUTHOR

I can tell that Okayado (real name Takemaru Inui) is a funny person in real life. =) His sense of humour translates through this manga. I read in my writing course that your personality and sense of humour can influence your style of writing.

I did a little background research on him and I found plenty of interesting facts. It seems that he started off as a Hentai Artist.[1] He has drawn a lot of monster-girls or hybrid humans that look very similar to girls in this manga. It also explains why there are a lot of rude innuendos in this manga. Since it all, or at least some of it, stems from his days as a Hentai Artist.

8. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Okayado., 2013. Monster Musume Volume One. Los Angels: Seven Seas.

Okayado Twitter Page., 2014. @Okayado1215. [online] Available at: <http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=267014&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2014]

Okayado Pixiv Page., 2014. [online] Available at: <http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=267014&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2014]

9. CONCLUSION

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I pretty much shared my honest thoughts throughout this review. So, out of the options of a thumb’s down, a thumbs up and two-thumbs up, I give this…

Two-thumbs up!

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Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and opinions, I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. I hope you enjoyed reading it! =D

Sayonara!^^/

Ryan.


[1] Hentai Artist: Hentai is basically animated or cartoon porn.

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