Monkey High! 3 by Shouko Akira: B+

From the back cover:
On Valentine’s Day, it’s no surprise that playboy Atsu gets plenty of chocolates from fawning girls. But everyone’s shocked when a heart-shaped box is found on Macharu’s desk—especially since it’s not from Haruna! Does Macharu have a secret admirer?

The trend of basing the chapters around relatively commonplace events continues—there’s one taking place on Valentine’s Day, one on Haruna’s birthday, and one about student council elections. The overall story continues to be pretty episodic, with much silliness from the supporting cast, but the moments between Haruna and Macharu are always serious and always good. I think that’s because Haruna herself is so serious she balances out the wackiness of her classmates.

Like the main couple in High School Debut, I like that it’s easy to see why Haruna and Macharu like each other and why they’re a good match. I get a little annoyed when various characters attest that Haruna really should be going out with Macharu’s friend Atsu because of his looks, but I suppose that does give her the opportunity to unequivocally state that she likes Macharu. There’s a great scene toward the end of the volume where she seeks him out to talk about some thoughts she’s been having, like how she’s not sure what she can do on her own, having always believed the influence of her politician father was in some part responsible for her success at her old school. It’s nice that they can talk to each other so freely. I also love that Haruna many times initiates the smooching, rather than passively waiting for it like some shoujo heroines I could name.

While I’m very happy with the development of the main couple, I could wish for a more memorable supporting cast. Atsu’s easy to remember because he talks so much. Next in recognizability are the guy that eats a lot and the girl from the student council, but that’s seriously all we know about them. There are a couple of other boys and girls who appear and have lines of dialogue and stuff and I have no idea what their names are or anything. I don’t want the story to veer off and focus on one of these classmates or anything, but they’re meaningless as they are.

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