Monkey High! 5 by Shouko Akira: B+

When reserved, intelligent Haruna transferred into a new high school, she never expected to fall for the most chipper and scrawny guy in her class. That’s exactly what happened, though, and she and Macharu have now been dating for a year.

In this volume, some difficulties arise in the lead characters’ relationship. It’s not as if they fight in dramatic fashion, but because they see the world differently, they sometimes have trouble understanding each other. Macharu is very open and optimistic while Haruna is neither of those things (she doesn’t even have any internal monologues). She seeks to protect herself and in, so doing, occasionally gives Macharu the impression that she doesn’t care about things that are important to him. Add in the complication that Macharu’s best friend, Atsu, actually sees and understands this side of Haruna better than Macharu does, and you’ve got an interesting romantic triangle forming.

On the negative side, in five volumes of the series, nearly every chapter has centered on the kind of event that veteran manga readers will have seen dozens of times before: a date to an amusement park, a trip to the beach, a summer festival, major holidays, et cetera. It grows quite tiresome. Too, while the art in general is good, some pages are so slathered with screen tone that they are positively grey.

Still, even though I can already predict that the next volume will prominently feature Valentine’s Day in some capacity, I’m looking forward to seeing how the drama plays out.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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