4 Nov 2012

Monkey high! Manga review

English: Monkey High!
Synonyms: Monkey Mountain, Monkey High, Saruyama! 
Type: Manga
Volumes: 8
Chapters: 34
Status: Finished
Published: Oct 23, 2004 to Feb 13, 2008
Genres: Romance, School, Shoujo
Authors: Akira, Shouko (Story & Art)
Serialization: Betsucomi

When I first saw the cover, I was a bit put off by the art style, which is different from what I usually prefer, but the plot synopsis seemed interesting enough, so I decided to give it a try.
I have absolutely fallen in love with it after only seven chapters. I enjoyed it a lot! It was light, it was entertaining. And it had plenty of cute moments. 

Due to her father’s political scandal, Haruna Aizawa is forced to transfer from prestigious K high to a new high school she dubs “Monkey High”. This is because the social life of the students reminds her of a mountain of monkeys with all the fights and drama. One boisterous primate, Masaru “Macharu” Yamashita, catches Haruna’s eye with his outgoing, bright personality. The series follows Haruna and Masaru’s relationship through their high school years

Haruna begins as a quiet observer, trying to stay unattached to her new school due to her father’s reputation. However, with all the monkey drama, she ends up being dragged into escapades by her classmates and becomes acquainted with Masaru and his friend Atsu. “Saru” is the Japanese term for monkey. So it’s no surprise that Masaru is known as “baby monkey” by his classmates. With his big ears and chimp-like grin, he charms with his beaming, winsome personality.  Haruna can’t help but be drawn to the warmth of his demeanor after coming from an aloof household. 

As the characters develop, the romance factor escalates. Haruna’s father as well as Atsu are both obstacles that Masaru and Haruna must overcome. The relationship of Masaru and Haruna is lovely to watch. The ending of the series is too good to be true, but makes the read such fun enjoyment. Monkey High! starts out cute and cuddly, but by the end of the series the teens take their relationship to a physical level. No inappropriate images, but the content is intimate.

I am thoroughly impressed by the characters in this story. They are more like normal people than most of the lovestruck girls and arrogant, libidinous boys found in the typical shoujo manga. I admit to taking guilty pleasure in these character types as well, but the simplicity and innocence of Macharu and Aizawa has its own charm. It is extremely gratifying to find a story in the shoujo genre which focuses more on the relationship between the two lead characters than their physical attraction.

While not breathtaking or particularly notable, the art of this manga has a soft feel to it that suits the story and the characters perfectly. The characters' expressions are more realistic than most manga I have read. As I mentioned before, I was at first a little put-off by the art style of this manga, but as is the case for many manga, once I actually began to read it, I was drawn in more by the character relationships and the story than the art. 

If you are looking for a cute manga to peruse leisurely during your free time, you have found it. The slow pace lends itself to a casual reader who is likely to set it aside for several days before returning to it. The pace makes it easy to simply read the manga for the enjoyment of reading it. There is no feeling of needing to get to the next chapter in a hurry in order to reach the conclusion of some overly dramatic break-up scene or what-not. 

his is a good manga for a bit of light reading on the side. The lack of convoluted plot lines gives it a very sincere atmosphere. Its simplicity of character and story will leave the reader with a wholesome satisfaction at the end of each chapter. 
Overall, the story is light and pleasing, a refreshing break from more complicated and tiring shoujo romance stories.I would definitly recommend it ^_^

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