Monster Musume Volume Three Review

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Konbanwa.^^/

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for giving your time to read my reviews on Monster Musume. I’m still learning and developing my own style when writing reviews. I do enjoy expressing my feelings, blogging thoughts about my favourite things like Monster Musume as it makes me feel happy. However, it is a massive bonus when the reader takes their time to read what I have to say. For that, I am truly grateful.^^/

MonMusu[1] Volume 2 seems to be especially popular and it has given me extra impetus to blog about Volume 3. =)

Here it is.^^/

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

1. MY SYNOPSIS

Up till now Kimihito has been a host to four liminals; a passionate Lamia, a playful Harpy, a proud Centaur and an illegal species, Slime. Life has been kind to Kimihito; he has liminal guests who adore him and continue to pursue his hand in marriage. The competition is getting tougher though since the arrival of the courteous and gentle Mermaid, Mero.

In the same breath the darker side of the liminals started to show. A group of erotically charged orcs emerged and caused a commotion at a local otaku shop, offering gratuitous demands. Due to the interspecies Cultural Exchanged Accord the police can’t legally touch the orcs… but all is not lost since Ms Smith has a plan to solve this problem, but whether it will work or not is a completely different issue!

2. STORY

The pace and flow of this story was well thought out and applied cleverly. Not only is the timing of the story good, but the comedy and the quirkiness of the characters are well placed too.

At first glance it appears that Suu is nothing more than a background character that just happens to be there for the sake of adding more humour to the story. But actually she has played many pinnacle moments. Because of her the plot unfolded in certain chapters. I will talk more about this in Suu’s character section.

There are no small parts in a story; even the smallest part in the story can create the biggest conflict. Look at that young boy from Home Alone. When the sister did a head count and mistook the neighbours boy for her brother, it led to Kevin McAllister being all by himself. Thus, home alone.

*

Mero is really growing on me- her development was completely unexpected, in a good way. From our point of view, Mero being up to no good was all just in Miia’s head, since we come to learn that Miia has a very hyperactive imagination. Then, when Mero smiled in an unnerving manner, it made us think that Miia was right to be wary. It came to light that it was all in Miia’s imagination and that Mero isn’t after Kimihito, at least not in the normal sense.

*

It’s rather fascinating how the topic; fairy tales was brought up. Mermaids are probably one of the more popular legendary creatures, look at the book and film The Little Mermaid. I for one would be excited to meet one if they existed in real life. It’s clear in Monster Musume that this manga is very self-aware so it’s quite interesting that they delve into fairy tales- more specifically mermaids.

Mero spoke about how mermaids love the story the Little Mermaid. Miia then confessed that she too likes fairy tales and yearned to have her own prince… we see a flashback of Miia reading her fairy tale books, she looked mighty cute when she was little. All of this deep conversation developed a more one-sided rivalry between Miia and Mero. At the end of the chapter it was established that Mero’s ideal love is rather…unique. Turns out, the entire time, she wants to be a mistress rather than a wife. Haha! That was unexpected but in some ways it makes a lot of sense. XD

*

My favourite part of this volume is when Kimihito holds Miia in her arms, like a damsel in distress. He looks very good too. That’s probably the best image I’ve ever seen of him, he looked cool, strong and you could see his eyes. His eyes are never visible unless he’s part of a serious scene. It was a sweet moment too because Miia’s dream of being held came true, right after she dived in to the water to save him, even though he didn’t need to be saved. It was sweet and brave, considering the fact that she’s not good with cold temperatures, especially Mero’s pool.

*

Chapter 12 focused heavily on Ms. Smith and her new MON squad. You could say that it detracts from the main story but I personally think it’s a nice change of pace. So far we’ve been seeing Ms Smith’s useless side but here we are seeing that when confronted with a crisis, she is on the ball. She can be serious when the situation calls for it. I suppose we see more of her familiar side when she’s with Kimihito and co…

*

The baddies were fairly decent.

I usually prefer baddies or catalysts to be serious but due to the themes and style of this manga, they were perverted. XD You have the Orcs who ransacked a shop with silly desirable demands and a ‘TV crew’ who just wanted to get their hands on Papi’s egg so he can become rich. They were perverted and stupid but it would be inappropriate to expect anything else.

I’m sort of hoping that- if this manga gets serious- we’ll have a proper villain introduced who is not cheesy or perverted. He/she would be allowed to be funny but not cheesy. That’s just me though. XD

*

Up until now we just saw baddies who were narrow minded and purse snatchers but here the author is exploring a darker side of both humans and liminals. It looks like that may continue since the creepy director is on the run.

*

I like how Mero’s fetish side is coming to the surface. I can see her visions becoming animated, like she is daydreaming in her own imagination. Rather funny and cute. It’s also funny how Mero trusted Miia’s cooking and fainted, with a creepy grin on her face. You wouldn’t have thought that someone with a high class background would have such an improper fetish. XD

*

The extras and facts at the back are fun to read, I especially enjoyed Mero’s facts. Kimihito appeared to be very conscious about what food he buys since Papi is half bird (chicken) and Mero is a mermaid (fish). It turns out that it was all wasted worrying since Papi eats chicken and Mero likes fish…all perfectly fine with cannibalism. XD!

*

Chapter 14 was very engaging. It had good pacing with a very solid ending. It’s the kind of ending that makes you want to read Volume 4.

I knew the TV crew were dodgy straight away, so did Kimihito. They felt obliged to comply because of the uneasy tensions between humans and liminals.

Paper was certainly important in this chapter. I was as shocked as the characters in that scene when Papi announced that she was going to lay an egg…later revealed that it was unfertilised…Of course, this announcement led to hilarious consequences, poor Kimihito…

I do wonder how harpies and lamias reproduce. Birds and snakes do usually reproduce through eggs. I did see a documentary that certain snakes do mate. The female snakes’ stomach would turn pink, indicating that it’s going through a lovey-dovey season. 😉

It was a pity that the creepy director went on the run, but fortunately he got his come-uppance by a mysterious Arachne.

I feel quite excited yet nervous for Kimihito. It seems clear that she’s going to come after him…

Maybe she’ll join his ever expanding harem? But on the other hand she might become the latest villain.

From my initial impression I think that she’s cynical. I’m just basing this on her mannerisms and demeanour. Her design also suggests that she is. The art isn’t always about the style but the designs within the style. Her clothes are very bold, dark and suggestive.

3. THEME

  • Comedy
  • Ecchi[2]
  • Fantasy
  • Harem[3]
  • Mature
  • Romance
  • Seinen[4]
  • Slice of Life[5]

4. ART AND DESIGN

I feel that the art and story blend well together. It’s appropriate for this kind of story with plenty of cheeky situations.

All the characters have glowing presentation to their appearance. Miia is casual, Centorea is formal and Papi is…Papi. XD Mero’s gothic lolita design is pretty cool and gives off the aura of an aristocrat. Her pink hair and mermaid part of the body is very feminine and pleasing on the eye. Pink is definitely a good choice for her, I sort of pictured her fins and hair as aqua/turquoise based coloured, since she’s a mermaid. Pink is definitely the right choice, I feel. =)

I like also how Miia’s headband (representing Lamia’s eyes) varies depending on her hairstyle or what she wears on her head. It sort of reminds me of Sena Kashiwazaki from Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends. She has butterfly clips in her hair, but it changes depending how she styles her hair. Miia is very much the same in this regard.

The colourful pages were especially good. The background in one of them was designed in scales coloured red, obviously representing Miia.

It was a just a cameo but I really like that red haired mermaid that appeared in Mero’s vision. She’s like a carbon copy of Miia.^^

5. CHARACTERS AND RELATIONSHIPS

5.1. MIIA

Miia really is a gem of a character and is my favourite from this manga.

She might be a Lamia but she’s cute, sexy, caring and very hilarious. Someone so cute should not be able to show various facial expressions like she does. Before the competition ensued she was portrayed as someone who is passionate, loving, affectionate, shy, a touch naive and lovey-dovey.

Since the arrival of Papi and Centorea we started to see additional sides to her, funny sides. We’re starting to see vices in the form of jealousy, possessiveness and competitiveness. They tend not to show when she and Kimihito are alone together.

In some ways she has a bit of a vindictive and cunning streak. When she comes up with plans to stay as Kimihito’s “number one” it tends to back fire badly, especially when Kimihito had to carry Mero around.

My favourite moments do actually involve Miia, especially her comedic reactions to situations and they’re so easy to visualise. Every time she goes “waaaah?” I can just picture her shouting “naaniiii?” in Japanase. XD

It’s a shame how terrible she is at cooking. We do learn that her speciality is boiling eggs, mostly because eggs are her favourite food- as she is part snake.

5.2. MERO

On the surface Mero is pure and lady-like.

It is suggested that she could be of noble blood. If she is of noble blood then it makes sense why Ms Smith assigned her to Kimihito’s household. She knows that Kimihito treats his guests with utmost respect and affection. Someone of noble blood would probably have to receive the best treatment in the best possible way, and who more appropriate to be her host then Kimihito?

5.3. SUU

Suu is an absolute brilliant character. I was really excited when a character like Suu was introduced but I find that I like her more the more we learn about her. Her quirks in transforming, reading people’s minds, mimicking and general abilities are very unique.

In fact, it is her uniqueness that has provided many pinnacle moments in the story.

  • Her ‘attack’ on Mero led to Miia being saved by Kimihito and a heart-to-heart between Miia and Mero.
  • She was able to enter Kimihito’s room, when ill, without the worry that she will catch his ‘virus’. Of course that led to many comical situations.
  • She read Kimihito’s mind when he was ill. She ‘nursed’ him back to health.
  • She read the creepy director’s mind which confirmed that he was filming with evil intentions. It wouldn’t have unfolded had it not been for Suu.

You will note that in those situations Suu was nothing more than a background character that made a sudden appearance, i.e., a sudden impact which changed the dynamics of the story line.

It was only Chapter 13 that she played a pivotal role. Not only did she play an important part but we also got to see her personality develop.

It was very touching to see her speech and declaration of love for Kimihito. It seems as though every time we see her, there’s more to her personality. Her feelings started to grow more affectionate to, the more she starts to develop a mind of her own. She had her own personality to begin with; we’re just seeing her grow as an individual, even if she is just a Slime.

5.4. MON SQUAD

The MON (Monster Ops Neutralization) Squad are a very good addition to the series.

You have an overzealous captain, Zombina, who is the undead, or zombie. Her specialism is raiding. It’s appropriate for her to charge into dangerous situations since there’s no danger of her dying.

Then there’s Manako, who is a Cyclops. A very shy type of character who cries easily due to her oversized singular eye.

You then have Doppel who can transform into anyone that she desires. This can be very handy for when she goes under-cover. It especially helps when she pretends to be that pinup type character girl as it certainly fooled the orcs.

I especially like Tionshia. I describe her as a gentle giant. I think she’d be more suited to being on a catwalk rather than as part of the MON squad.

5.5. MS SMITH

It’s very easy to take Ms Smith at face value but I can’t help but wonder if there’s more to her than meets the eye. We’ve seen her in bad light plenty of times but she showed that she can be reliable in dangerous situations.

I question her views towards Kimihito. It’s not clear if she harbours a deep affection for him but it’s clear that she sees him in a positive light. Since the young lad became an impromptu volunteer she became very familiar with him and his house. I don’t think this can be swept under the carpet.

Sure, we could say that she’s taking liberties and uses him as an excuse to get away from work and hang out for coffee and dinner. But, she could use any other hosts as an excuse to get away, so why is it Kimihito? She teases him sometimes through flirting. She assigned a noble like Mero to his household. And she turns a blind eye to any wrong doing that involves Kimihito, including the illegal species like Suu. Is she slacking off, or, is she giving him special treatment?

Whatever should happen I think it is worth keeping an eye on Ms Smith’s relationship with him to see if something happens.

6. BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL / SELF-AWARE

We established that one of the many charms of this manga are the puns and its self-awareness. Miia’s “Fire for fire, slime for slime” was one of those glorious puns. And “Get your filthy fins off my darling2.” Haha

Then you have moments where I feel like the manga breaks the fourth wall. In two of the cases it was Kimihito and Miia who broke the fourth wall.[6]

One where Kimihitio said “look, I don’t care how much the fetishists get off on this…!! I still don’t wanna drown!” when Suu is suffocating him, and the one with Miia…

“Anyone who gets that excited over my skin… is the worst kind of pervert!”

I couldn’t stop laughing when I first read that. I initially interpreted that as Miia insulting herself. However, when I read it again, I actually think it’s a joke between the author and the reader. I think it’s implying that we, the reader, have a ‘fetish’ over Miia’s skin which is why we are reading it.

Regardless, I think it’s hilarious. XD

7. CONCLUSION

The pace of the story was very good throughout.

One story focused on Ms Smith and her crew to give us a glimpse as to what she’s like at work. It was good. Certain characters like Suu were important in order to conclude parts of the stories. If Suu and her uniqueness didn’t exist then none of the stories could have unfolded and have a decent ending, even if they appear to be a background character. The one-sided rivalry between Miia and Mero had an unexpected and funny ending and the ending finished in a dramatic way which whets my appetite to read the next volume.

Most importantly though, I laughed a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it and I am most looking forward to Volume 4. If something makes me laugh and smile then it becomes very precious to me.

I give Monster Musume Volume 3 two thumbs-up.(My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

8. OFF-TOPC RAMBLE: 12 BEAST

12 Beast Volume 1

This week I have learned that Seven Seas are going to release the manga, 12 Beast, on 14th April 2015.[7] [8]

12 Beast is another manga by Okayado and by what I’ve heard and seen, it’s somewhat similar to Monster Musume. I would say it looks more of an adventure fantasy rather than a slice of life like MonMusu. I’m very excited about this announcement and it’s something that I’m looking forward to in 2015, that and Avengers: Age of Ultron. 😉 I like Okayado’s work and style of writing and I get the impression that I’m definitely going to like 12 Beast. =D

For those who are interested, it is now available on Amazon.com.[9]

9. OFF-TOPIC RAMBLE: HIGH SCHOOL DXD

High School DxD

I’m also pleased to hear about the news of High School DxD. The TV Anime is going to have a third series and OVA within the next year. Yen Press publishers have also licensed the spin-off of High School DxD starring Asia and Koneko. It’s called High School DXD: Asia and Koneko’s Secret Contract!?[10] It’s released sometime in December so this is going to go on my Christmas list! =D

I’m twiddling my thumbs in anticipating for the novel to be licensed.^^/

I wonder what the DxD stands for in the title. Does anyone know? Judging by the theme and what I’ve read it’s probably something like “Devil x Dragons” or “Dragon x Dragons”… I’m hoping for the latter, it sounds cool. =D

THANKS FOR READING

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I learnt I can’t truly share my thoughts unless I spoil it a little…I know I’m not good at keeping secrets but the only way I can share my thoughts is if I don’t hold myself back. So, I do apologise if you didn’t want to be spoilt but it’s important to me that I annotate my feelings without restraint. =)

From now on a “WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY” will be plastered at the top of each review so that you’re aware of the spoilers ahead. =)

Thank you very much for reading.

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

[1] Acronym for Monster Musume

[2] Risqué and sexy moment or lecherous characters

[3] All young females gunning after one man and/or lady

[4] Target audience for young man

[5] Based on everyday mundane life

[6] On a stage of a room there’s usually three walls. The fourth wall is presumed to be there, but it’s invisible. The audience is watching the TV/play on that fourth wall. The fourth wall is “broken” when the actor/performer engages with the audience through the fourth wall. British sitcoms like Miranda and Mrs Brown’s Boys break the fourth wall through their shows.

[7] http://sevenseasentertainment.tumblr.com/post/93331953770/license-2-from-one-of-our-new-york-times

[8] https://twitter.com/gomanga/status/499262048396910592

[9] http://www.amazon.com/dp/1626921776/

[10] http://www.amazon.co.uk/High-School-DXD-Konekos-Contract/dp/0316334855/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1407950639&sr=8-7&keywords=High+School+DxD

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