Haruna Aizawa is the new transfer student. She transferred out of her old school because her father was involved in a political scandal. At first, she is reserved and condescending to her classmates, comparing them to a gang of monkeys. Masaru “Macharu” Yamashita is a goofy boy that attends Haruna’s new school. He is often referred to as ‘The Baby Monkey’ because of his personality and appearance. These two are immediately drawn to one another despite being an odd couple and begin dating. Macharu’s best friend Atsu is also attracted to Haruna.
So my opinion is that this is a decent series, but not something you really NEED to experience. It had aspects to it that I felt were a bit different from what I usually find in a shoujo, and because of that, I felt it was at least a worthwhile series. But then again I find most Shoujo Beat titles to be at least worthwhile. But this is nothing particularly addictive/revolutionary.
Haruna isn’t some ugly duckling girl that has to be made over before the other boys will see her value. She starts out gorgeous and smart. I do love cheering for the underdog shoujo heroine, but sometimes you feel a bit relieved when that tried and true formula is changed up a bit. But what I mainly liked about this series was Macharu. Macharu and Haruna aren’t an uncommon couple in a shoujo series, but this type of combo seems like they aren’t usually the main characters. This combo seems to happen the most often when the (beautiful) rival for love is finally turned down from the (also beautiful) hero of the story. And she ends up finding love in a simpler guy that knows how to make her smile.
The whole series is these two going through high school life and doing every single standard activity that occurs in a high school shoujo. Oh wait correction, they do every standard activity that occurs in a high school shoujo twice (ex: festivals, trips…etc). And that includes quite a bit of collapsing/fevers/visits to the nurses office. I don’t know about you guys, but I didn’t collapse in high school…ever. Although don’t get me wrong, a well placed fever/collapse really spices up a shoujo. But it’s a situational trick/tool that needs to be used with a lot of care in order to leave a great impact. I’ll also mention that I kind of got sick of the class (and whole school) in shock that such an odd couple existed. I understand why there was initial shock, but the entire class continued to be shocked and commented on how odd it was through all 3 years this series took place over. I mean geez, if she were dating an ACTUAL monkey I could see why the shock would last so long, but it’s a normal boy and girl dating, get over it people.
This series also took breaks from focusing on how Haruna/Macharu are an odd couple to bring up Haruna’s family problems. But then the story pulls away before we fully grasp the damage of her family, much less get any kind of resolution. I read the mangaka’s notes and she talks about how she wanted to keep this series focused on the two main characters, and had difficulty placing her family problems in the right way so it didn’t take over the whole story. And that’s exactly what it feels like as you read this series.
I like Macharu, shoujo could use more main characters in their series like him. He was a refreshing change from the grumpier bishies I’m used to seeing. I wouldn’t mind a few more shoujo series where someone like this is the main hero. He felt more realistic than most shoujo heros.