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Manga review: ‘Monster Musume’ Vol. 1

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Late last year, on October 15, 2013, manga publisher Seven Seas Entertainment released the first volume of the supernatural/harem manga series, “Monster Musume”, and though we are a little late to the party, we decided to see what this fan service filled series from Okayado was all about.

“Monster Musume” takes place in a world where humans now live alongside Liminals, part human species, who have finally come out of hiding. To make the transition a little easier for these beings to adjust to life out in the open, they are provided with host families, who are responsible for looking out for the girls and showing them other cultures. The series follows Kurusu Kimihito, an average guy who mistakenly finds himself becoming a host for a lamia, half snake/half human, girl named Miia after Miia’s cultural exchange coordinator, Ms. Smith, gets the wrong house.

If looking out for someone new to the world wasn’t bad enough, the busty snake girl has the hots for Kurusu and is constantly trying to have her way with him, but should anything happen Kurusu would have to deal with an angry government and Miia would be deported. Adding to Kurusu’s troubles is Papi, a harpy (half human/half bird), who after a minor kidnapping adventure and a daring rescue is also taken in by Kurusu. It just wouldn’t be a harem series with only two girls, so Kurusu also finds himself taking in Centorea, a busty centaur (half hum/half horse) girl.

Between avoiding Miia’s advances, keeping up with the scatterbrained Papi, trying not to grope Centorea every time she drags him somewhere and Ms. Smith passing off all of these girls on him, poor Kurusu’s life just seems to be getting more and more complicated. But, I guess having three beautiful girls, although a bit scaly, feathery or hairy, fighting for your affection can’t be too bad, even if getting involved with any of them could cause a diplomatic incident.

Despite all of his troubles though, Kurusu seems to embrace all of the good and the bad with a surprisingly calm attitude. Whether it is almost being strangled or pummeled to death by Miia’s tail, being kidnapped by Papi or having Centorea drag him along in pursuit of a purse snatcher, Kurusu seems to just go with the flow and eventually he is rewarded, along with readers, in the form of plenty of fan service.

The story does feel like just about every other harem series, with the main difference being that all of these girls are a little more monster shaped than human, except for the upper body of course. Though it is a common theme, “Monster Musume” does have plenty of comedy and it is entertaining throughout, even if things do get a little crazier than I would have expected. Each of the girls has a totally different personality compared to the others, which you would expect from a harem series, and it helps to make all of their interactions more entertaining as Kurusu just tries to ride out the storm.

Visually “Monster Musume” looks good, it has a fair amount of detail in the clothes, and the girl’s figures of course, and the expressions are all captured well. The character designs also look good, they match up well with the personalities and all of the girls are beautiful. The first few pages of the manga are in color, which really helps to highlight the detail of the series, it kind of made me wish the whole thing could have been in color.

The text is large and easy to read, while still fitting in the boxes nicely. As far as the translations go, everything has good flow, but there are a lot of puns found throughout, which were a bit groan-worthy after a while.

At the end of the volume, readers will find an extra two pages where the girls talk about their best features, followed by comparison data of each of the girls measurements. Readers will also be able to get a look at a few pages from another of Seven Seas Entertainment’s monster girl manga, “A Centaur’s Life”.

“Monster Musume” isn’t very original, a little corny and plenty raunchy, but that isn’t really a bad thing for this series. The monster girls are a nice twist on the harem theme and the corny puns just seem to fit with the overall feel of the series. As for the raunchiness, well it is a harem anime, so you should probably already be expecting plenty of half naked girls and dirty jokes.

Either way, the series is a fun read and can easily hold your attention from start to finish. “Monster Musume” also answered one question I had, “What kind of underwear would a lamia wear?”, don’t ask why that was a question I had. The first volume also ends with an interesting twist that is sure to make things in the next volume even more wild.

If you’re a fan of series like “High School DxD” or “Rosario + Vampire”, but you always wished the girls had a little more monster in their designs, “Monster Musume” is for you.

Score

3.5 out of 5

Monster Musume Vol. 1

Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Story and Art by: Okayado
Number of Pages: 192
Age Rating: Older Teen
Release Date: October 15, 2013

(This review is based on a purchased copy of “Monster Musume” Vol. 1.)

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