My Monster Secret Volume 01 Manga Review

My Monster Secret Volume 01 Manga Review
Jitsu wa Watashi wa/実は私は 01
My Monster Secret: “Actually, I am…” 01

–> Buy My Monster Secret Volume 01 from Amazon.com

***SPOILERS***

My Monster Secret Volume 01One thing about the Japanese, they tend to publish a number of titles with a similar theme. A couple of said titles then become popular. In this case, it is the monster girl harem theme with the human male. After multiple recommendations, I decided to give Seven Seas’ My Monster Secret volume 01 a try to sample this latest genre.

A Look at the Story

The manga’s story features second year high school boy KUROMINE Asashi, who has a reputation for being obvious, especially when he’s trying to keep a secret. He has a crush on SHIRAGAMI Youko, a mysterious beauty who’s at school first and leaves late. One day after school, Asashi decides he’s going to give her a love letter he wrote and talk to her. However, when he enters the classroom where Youko is, he finds she has fangs and large bat wings. Her secret busted, she confesses she’s a vampire. Asashi learns that vampires aren’t quite the stuff of legend,

Since Youko was only allowed to attend a human school on the condition she didn’t let her secret out. Since Asashi doesn’t want this to happen, he vows to keep her secret, but instead of confessing his love as intended, he only asks to be her friend. She agrees to this. However, their lives are immediately complicated when Asashi’s sadistic and bullying childhood friend AKEMI Mikan gets involved. As the head of the Newspaper Club, she knows something is up between Asashi and Youko and attempts to uncover it.

Adding to the fun, the class rep AIZAMA Nagisa notices how close Asashi and Youko have become. Since Asashi had liked her, she now is frustrated that he now likes Youko. Nagisa is actually a tiny humanoid alien in a biomechanoid body that looks like her. One afternoon she comes into the classroom where Youko and Asashi have had a competition on who’s the most obvious. Since Youko has just eaten one of Akemi’s joke cream puffs, which is spicy hot, Nagisa sees Youko literally on the chalkboard with her wings exposed. During the course of this, Nagisa accidentally lets her own alien secret become revealed. In the end, Nagisa decides to trust Asashi with her secret as well.

It’s a Harem Comedy

For this first volume, it is clear that we have the makings of a traditional harem comedy title. We have three girls introduced in the first volume, all of whom carry the standard cliched types, only with a twist. There’s the girl the main character (MC) REALLY likes — Youko. There’s the childhood friend — Mikan. And then there’s the girl the MC liked who rejected him, but being a tsundere, she’s not going to let him know she’s interested — Nagisa.

I’ve long had a weakness for harem titles, going back to titles like Love Hina, Hand Maid May, and of course, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki. Such titles can be a lot of fun, if handled correctly. At the same time, harem titles can be full of risks. It isn’t so much that the MC will end up with a girl (or girls) that goes against the individual reader’s ship. It is more that the series will end up being rather humdrum because the genre has been done to death.

Enter the “Monster Girl” Twist

Masuda-sensei uses the monster girl element to give his high school, romantic comedy, harem title a different take. Asashi is pretty much your standard, bumbling, nice guy MC in these harem titles. Making Youko a vampire is a fun twist. Adding to that fun is the fact Youko isn’t a traditional vampire. She can walk in daylight, but it causes her to tan quickly. She eats normal foods. Drinking blood is an act of intimacy. She has fangs, so she has to change how she speaks to make sure her fangs aren’t revealed.

On top of everything, Youko is a bit of an airhead. This gives her an adorable aspect that kind of surprised me. I think that’s because the idea of a vampire, with off of the baggage that carries, being a bit of an airhead is a fun.

Otherwise, Youko is portrayed as an everyday, attractive high school girl. That gives her a reliability factor, which helps the manga.

Enter the Space Alien

Seven Seas decided to call this manga My Monster Secret, but I wouldn’t actually call a space alien a monster, even if she is tiny. (I now know why Seven Seas decided to retain the English translation of the original Japanese title Jitsu wa Watashi waActually, I am… as a subtitle.) On one hand, she plays her role of a tsundere class rep who likes the MC. On the other, making her a tiny alien in a human sized biomechanoid suit is pretty funny.

The other humorous element is that she comes from a warrior race intent on invading the Earth. I’m not sure why a tiny, humanoid female would become attracted to a human male, but it is all fun and I like it.

Enter the Childhood Friend With a Twist

With Mikan, we get a different kind of childhood friend for the MC. Normally, the female childhood friend is cute, is deeply in love with the MC, but the MC is too clueless to realizes this. Mikan is not attractive and shows no signs of being in love with the MC. If anything, she’s an equal opportunity sadistic so-and-so. However, because of her relationship with Asashi, she’s even more fiendish to him than to others.

Mikan is one of these characters designed to make me hate her. She’s way over the top. However, due to her tenacity in trying to uncover things, she makes for the perfect foil for the series. Asashi is easily readable, but that becomes even more of a problem with Mikan. So Asashi has to hide what he knows about Youko and Nagisa from Mikan. And those two girls will need to be cautious with Mikan, who knows stuff is going on. So that adds to a fun element to the mix.

So Far, So Good

I have to say that so far, I like what  I’ve read. There are a lot of cliched elements here, but since I already have a weakness for harem titles, the cliched stuff doesn’t bother me too much. Indeed, making the manga have a vampire chick and a tiny, space alien chick gives the series a nice difference. That keeps it from feeling like “been there, done that.”

With volume 2 of the manga, I’ll shift to a more traditional manga volume review that I do. 🙂

Seven Seas

The Seven Seas release is pretty standard for them. There are a couple of color pages at the start of the volume. Japanese honorifics are used. The volume feels like a proper adaptation rather than a localization attempt that seems to be plaguing some manga titles these days. (The Nibley Twins translated this, for those curious.) As usual for Seven Seas, there are no translator notes, but there are an occasional between panel notes.

There are five, omake 4-koma comic strips at the end of the volume. No other real extras to speak of.

Conclusion

In the end, My Monster Secret volume 01 is a pretty fun foray into the realm of the harem genre with a monster girl and tiny alien girl twist. As such, I’m looking forward to reading the second volume of this and seeing where things go.


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8 Responses to “My Monster Secret Volume 01 Manga Review”

  1. ctrn says:

    This manga is the best comedy manga that I’ve read in the last years.
    I’m loving it. At first, before reading, I was “eh, another harem manga with monster girls, well, today I have a little time”, and then I found myself laughing and wanting more. It is really fun.

    It is always fresh, even when repeating the jokes, as the running gags are more powerful each time.

    I’m not going to spoil a single thing as each spoiler can result on ruining the jokes.

    And don’t be mistaken! The romantic comedy harem manga is not like the vast majority of the others manga there (Nisekoi being the last awful representation of those), where anything goes nowhere for hundreds of chapters. Here we have a plot, a story progressing even amidst all the random fun.

    You adapt to the artstyle really quickly as it fits perfectly.

    It really has good moments and when reading a chapter I know that is highly probable that I finish it with a smile on my face. And that is what makes Jitsu wa Watashi wa worth the read.

    And another thing: The male main character is not worthless at all…. because…NOT SPOILING!

    Recommended. Absolutely yes.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      It is always fresh, even when repeating the jokes, as the running gags are more powerful each time.

      That’s good to know.

      I’m not going to spoil a single thing as each spoiler can result on ruining the jokes.

      Thanks. 😀

      Nisekoi being the last awful representation of those

      The volumes I read of Nisekoi, I felt it was too much like Love Hina. I could understand why younger readers might enjoy it, especially if they’ve never read Love Hina.

      • ctrn says:

        I did read Love Hina when I was young, and I loved it. And maybe it is the nostalgia talking, but It was far superior to Nisekoi in every aspect. I didn’t want LoveHina to end, and, in contrast, in the last 100 chapters of nisekoi I was wondering when it will end. And when it ended my only thought was “Finally!”. Excluding a pair of chapters given to the secondary characters that were the best chapters, you can skip those 100 chapters and start reading one or two before the last one and you will be missing nothing at all.

        I regret not dropping it, and going for completion.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          I can understand that. Once I wrote my review on where Nisekoi was at the time, I felt no reason to go back and read it. For the heck of it, I did read the last couple of chapters, but I just could never get worked up over it.

  2. NullApostle says:

    Yes! You won’t regret picking this up. Laughter, unlimited laughter. This manga will really show its stuff at the end of volume 2 and will only get better from there on out. There are hardly any weak chapters.

  3. Rob C. says:

    Actually, I am…is a good title. I’m way far ahead in reading it. Your going to enjoy yourself, Astro.

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