This will be a spoiler-free review!
Continuing on with my manga review/recommendation series, we have the hilariously named but ultimately heartwarming romance comedy, Molester Man!
Based off a real story which was posted on 2ch, Molester Man is the story of how Molester Man is mistaken for a stalker by Miss Understanding, and how they overcome their personal challenges while slowly growing closer to each other. “Molester Man” and “Miss Understanding” are simply pseudonyms (false names to hide real names) used by the author of the manga.
What’s to Love
Hilariously bad name aside, I have to say that for what it is, this manga is basically flawless. It reads exactly like those rare but welcome wholesome 4chan greentext stories. Real story or not, I cannot deny how well the author portrayed a rather realistic romance story, misunderstandings, regret, triumphs and all and try as I might, I can find NOTHING to dislike about it. I could choose to nitpick for flaws, but I don’t want to nitpick such a fluffy, simple and straightforward romance.
The MC almost seems like your typical otaku shut-in MC, but throughout the story, we see his thoughts, his honesty with his feelings, and most importantly, his imperfections. While still humorous, I like how realistically they portrayed the kind of person he was, and of course, while still exaggerated and idealized for manga purposes, I can definitely relate to his inner monologue while talking to girls.
He’s a bit (ok, maybe more) of a creep and a massive otaku, but the thing is, despite his insecurities, he is genuinely a sociable, witty and friendly person. He doesn’t take advantage of people’s feelings, or ignore them outright, and he’s not dense at all! He’s unsure a lot of the time, but he is never offensively stupid in the story, so when certain characters make moves and raise flags, he doesn’t reason it away, but actually notices them. His mistakes as well are all honest and spur-of-the-moment mistakes that result from his self-centered mindset, which both he, and other characters in the story, call him out on.
He reminds me of ME. A slacker and self-professed shut-in who, when given opportunities, are actually pretty sociable and talkative to people despite their inner thoughts screaming “DON’T FUCK IT UP”, not aware that they look perfectly fine to other people. We both just REALLY lack initiative, and the story tackles this weakness of his (and in extension, makes me think about mine), in an honest and satisfying way. I got a lot out of reading this manga to take to heart.
I love the girls in this story for being girls who are smart, competent, and for actually having good reasons for liking the MC besides “because you were nice to me.”
I don’t wanna spoil anything about them because the story goes in interesting directions with them that I’ve never actually seen executed in that way. I know I keep on saying realistic, but it is, it reads exactly like a story a friend would tell me. It’s not at all tropey or annoying, it’s just people. Idealized people, obviously, but way more subdued than most “zany” romcom casts that have girls defined by only ONE trait or pertain to ONE specific fetish.
Believe me, I REALLY wanna talk about the main girl, but I don’t wanna spoil who it is because I don’t wanna ruin how the manga plays with your expectations of what a typical romcom would do. You can talk about it with me in the comments for those who HAVE read it though, I really want to.
The romance here is done tastefully, to-the-point, and without unnecessary drama. If that’s not enough, the chemistry of MC and [insert girl he ends up with here] is believable and progresses very naturally, starting fron complete strangers > acquaintance > friend > close friend > lovers in a believable time span, considering how well their personalities mesh. With how childish most romcoms are, this one is a breath of fresh air for actually having some rather mature and serious interactions between the two done tastefully.
There IS drama, but as I said, it makes sense within the context of the story and is legitimately worrying and intense to go through.
Again, I don’t wanna spoil too much of it, so let’s move on!
The comedy of the series is very sincere. Since a majority of the story is told through text messages and forum posts, like the old 2ch threads, the humor feels authentic and unscripted, the kind of off-color ironic “lame” puns or edgy jokes you make around friends. I live and breathe internet culture too, so all the hilarious forumisms and behavior got me good.
Not to mention, the interactions of the MC with the various girls are hilarious and strangely heartwarming.
Which is not to say the actual, scripted gags aren’t hilarious, they are, but the use of witty text mesages and edgy forum jokes just perfectly portrays the interactions between youth who grew up in the information age, and it just tickles a funny bone I didn’t know I had.
Plus, the random JoJo references always catches me off-guard.
Overall, if you like romcoms, you will love this. It’s short, sweet, has legitimately relatable characters, and most importantly of all, it is the one of the most straightforward romance comedies I have ever read.
This manga is, alongside Oyasumi Punpun, is my second 10/10. It is rare for me to find a manga that accomplishes its goal so perfectly without ever stumbling. It’s not high art or anything, nor is it gonna make waves, but what it was is a heartwarming love that blossomed from the most unlikely of places (that place being a police station).
Please read it when you find the time!