MONKEY HIGH (Saruyama!, “Monkey Mountain!”) (??????) • Shouko Akira • VIZ (2008-2010) • Shogakukan (Betsucomi, 2004-2008) • 8 volumes • Shôjo Romantic Comedy • 13+ (mild sexual situations)
“School life is like being on a monkey mountain,” thinks Haruna, the daughter of a disgraced politician, who has seen how quickly people can organize into cliques and turn on each other. As a result of her experiences, she’s somewhat guarded and snobby towards her new classmates…but she finds herself warming up to the friendliness of Macharu, an excitable, loveable short guy who reminds her of a baby monkey. When Haruna and Macharu start going out, the rest of the “monkey” gang provides a sort of Greek chorus of comedy and encouragement, but trouble comes in the form of Atsuyuki, Macharu’s tall, handsome friend who, deep down, feels that he is a better match for her. “Cool, private girl surrounded by warm, open friends” is the one-line summary of Monkey High, a slightly-above-average high school story with a good English rewrite. Like its heroine, the manga’s feel is calm and intelligent (much mellower than Love Com, which also has a perky short guy for the love interest), and the characters are likeable. On the downside, like many shojo romances, the story moves slowly and episodically in graphic novel form, killing time with cookie-cutter love-com plots–the Valentine’s Day episode, the Christmas episode, the high school play episode, etc.
Who is today’s winner of five graphic novels, which are due to arrive at my new apartment from 12-4 PM in a truck from San Francisco? The winner is Jeremy W. of Texas — congratulations, Jeremy! Read your manga in good health!
Today we also got a photo from one of our previous “365 Days Winners” — Orr B.! Orr posted his photo here and here. Thanks for showing us yourself with your manga! We’ll send you some new stuff ASAP!