Monkey High! 6 by Shouko Akira: B+

monkeyhigh6Volume six of Monkey High! builds on issues between reserved Haruna and her cheerful boyfriend, Macharu, that began to develop in the previous volume. Macharu, in his optimism, keeps trying to help bring about reconciliation between Haruna and her distant politician father while the mere thought of her family woes is sufficient to ruin any fun Haruna might be having. Macharu’s friend Atsu, who also has feelings for Haruna, tries to take advantage of the situation to convince her that he’s a better choice, but in the end Haruna decides that it’s time to stop running from her family problems and face them head-on.

I’m always appreciative when the issues a couple faces come completely from who they are as people. Haruna and Macharu have had very different upbringings, and it’s clear that Macharu’s warm and loving environment has rendered him incapable of imagining the coldness with which Haruna’s father treats her until he sees it for himself. I also really like how clear the beautiful Haruna is about her devotion to the goofy Macharu and how she’s neither flustered nor tempted by Atsu’s attempts to woo her.

On the downside, the old shojo cliché of “Oops, I tripped and got to first and/or second base with you!” is employed not once but twice in this volume. In each case, it serves to get Macharu and Haruna thinking about the physical aspect of their relationship, which is good, but it’s too bad that couldn’t have been accomplished in a more original way.

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

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