Review

by Nick Creamer,

My Monster Secret

GN 6

Synopsis:
My Monster Secret GN 6
The moment has finally arrived! With the school festival already underway, Asahi has decided it's at last time to declare his feelings for Shiragami. But when class-rep-slash-tiny-alien Aizawa hears about his plan, she'll have to grapple with her own romantic feelings as well. And that's before you throw in the meddling of Mikan, the school president, and everyone else that makes up My Monster Secret's monstrous crew. And even if Asahi can find the courage to express himself, will Shiragami be willing to listen? It's just one romantic stumble after another in My Monster Secret's sixth volume.
Review:

At last, it's time for action. As My Monster Secret's sixth volume opens, our hero Asahi reiterates his determination to actually confess to his vampiric classmate Shiragami. Having been spurred into action by the courage of his childhood friend Mikan, he's not going to let anything stand in the way of his feelings. Whether Shiragami says yes or no, this school festival will mark an end to the hoping, an end to the pining, an end to all this tortuous romantic stasis.

Of course, this is a harem comedy manga we're talking about here. So no, this volume does not end with Shiragami and Asahi actually confirming their feelings, or really doing much of anything to change their relationship status. While volume six opens with Asahi determined to confess, it ends with Shiragami vaguely wondering if Asahi actually planned to confess at all, along with reaffirming her rivalry with Aizawa. Things are changing, but the slow-motion pitch launched in this volume's first chapter ultimately just ends up a few inches closer to the plate.

Still, that is something! In contrast with the last several volumes' largely narrative-free and side character-focused shenanigans, love is clearly in the air this volume. There's a sense of consequence implied even in the threat of confession that makes Asahi, Shiragami, and Aizawa's fumbling here feel more dramatically satisfying than usual, with each new chapter actually moving them that much closer to honesty. And what honesty these characters do arrive at, mostly articulated through Shiragami and Aizawa's growing friendship, makes all the drama that much more rewarding.

My Monster Secret's conflict has largely shifted from problems of ignorance and misunderstandings to genuine, relatable insecurity. Shiragami is legitimately unsure about what she feels towards Asahi, while Aizawa finds herself stranded between loyalty to her friends and honesty about her own feelings. Basing this volume's conflicts in fairly grounded human feelings makes the narrative dilly-dallying a whole lot easier to accept, and the fact that My Monster Secret has developed its characters into charming people and believable friends helps as well. One of the worst feelings you can get from any story is the sense that it's intentionally wasting your time, and though things move slowly here, there's enough meat to keep the story satisfying.

It also helps that the manga is still very charming and funny. While a few of the jokes here feel like stale retreads of old ones (Aizawa's “sleep-inducing apparatus” hammer replaced with a shovel, etc), gags fly by quickly enough that the ultimate result is a consistent tone of fond self-awareness. My Monster Secret knows its characters are idiots, and that their conflicts are minor ones, and it looks on them kindly in spite of that. Additionally, Eiji Masuda's art is starting to do some comedic heavy lifting of its own. In contrast with the stiff and sometimes off-putting art of the early volumes, this volume's character art is loose and confident. There are even a couple moments where Masuda dips lightly into other art styles, leaning into glimmering eyes and shoujo sparkles for gags like Makin briefly becoming a magical girl, or the principal being enraptured by Aizawa's magnificent chocolate-making skills.

Altogether, the slight pieces of true narrative movement and emphasis on relatable, character-focused conflicts makes this one of My Monster Secret's strongest volumes. While this volume's a bit light on distinctive gags, and also lacks a strong guiding conceit like previous volume's time travel or sports festivals, we've arrived at a point where the cast's own feelings can definitely carry the weight. Things are moving in My Monster Secret, one itty-bitty step at a time.

Grade:
Production Info:
Overall : B
Story : B
Art : B+

+ Emphasis on grounded personal drama makes this volume more impactful than usual, Masuda's art continues to improve
Comedy is slightly underwhelming this time, story sticks to pretty straightforward failed confessions

Story & Art: Eiji Masuda

Full encyclopedia details about
Jitsu wa Watashi wa (manga)

Release information about
My Monster Secret (GN 6)

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