Monkey High! 8 by Shouko Akira: B

monkeyhigh8Beginning with volume seven, the age rating of Monkey High! was changed from Teen to Older Teen to reflect the leads’ growing interest in consummating their relationship. They finally achieve their goal in the first chapter of this final volume, but thereafter are kept busy with studying for exams and preparing for their final school festival.

An irksome last-minute rival pops up in the form of Gotoda, Haruna’s father’s secretary and his choice for her fiancé. Because her father, recuperating from an illness, and Gotoda are working from home constantly, Haruna accepts Macharu’s offer to stay with him for a while. Gotoda’s a scheming sort, though, and Haruna unfortunately allows herself to be swayed by his assertion that one day she’ll be a burden to Macharu. Happily, by the end of the volume she has found the confidence to believe that if such a time ever comes, they’ll work through it together.

The things that’ve been kind of annoying about Monkey High! all along are still annoying at the end: the reliance on shojo clichés and the occasionally intrusive antics of the supporting cast. Against the zany backdrop of a maid and butler café, for example, Haruna and her father have an important conversation. It’s a big moment, but is hampered by the shenanigans going on around it.

Still, despite its faults, the conclusion of this series made me sniffly and, really, isn’t that the best possible outcome for a Shojo Beat title?

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

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