The Monster Seated Beside Me – Review

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The Monster Sitting Besides Me (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun) is a romantic-comedy Shōjo manga series that follows the lives and developing relationship of teenagers Shuzuku Mizutani and Yoshida Haru.

Shuzuku Mizutani has always been single-mindedly focused on her studies. She has an ambitious career path planned out and her sight is firmly set on achieving top marks in order to make it into the best university she can. She’s never felt the need for friends – they’ll only get in the way of her studies – and her dedication to work has left her with a reputation for being cold and dismissive.

Everything changes when Miztuani’s teacher asks her to deliver homework to Mizutani’s missing classmate, Yoshida Haru, who has been absent from class after getting into a fight on his very first day. Haru has a reputation for being violent and unpredictable; everyone agrees it’s better to stay out of his way.

The last thing Mizutani expects is to make a friend, let alone with the impulsive and erratic Yoshida Haru.  Haru mistakes Mizutani’s act of kindness as a gesture of friendship and quickly latches on to her and Mizutani, for the first time in her life, discovers friends, romance, and academic rivalry.

The manga cover (full version)

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Mizutania is a protagonist who’s not afraid to speak her mind, work hard, and make sacrifices to get what she wants. The love interests in the novel are attracted to Mizutani for this reason and the tensions that arise due to Mizutani’s personality are believable and easy to relate to. The Monster Seated Besides Me is definitely a slice-of-life manga; readers are more likely to connect with the development of the manga’s cast of characters than the relatively slow-moving plot.

The Monster Seated Besides Me is written and illustrated by Robico and published by Kodansha. The series spans 12 volumes, with a bonus 13th volume tying together supporting character plots and bringing the series to a satisfying conclusion.  Published between 2008 and 2013 in Kodansha’s Desert Magazine, English editions of the novel are available through Amazon and your local manga booksellers.

The anime adaptation cover

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Bonus extra: An anime adaptation of the manga titled My Little Monster is currently available through Crunchyroll.


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