Continuing the Spooktober reviews, I decided to review my all-time favorite monster girls manga, Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa or My Monster Secret! Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa (Comedy, Romance, Ecchi, Harem) is a surprisingly heartwarming tale about accepting the differences between everyone, and about how we can ride the tides of change with our heads held high. It also happens to be hilarious as hell.
What Is My Monster Secret?
Kuromine Asahi is your average high-schooler… besides having a really bad poker face. He currently has a crush on a fellow classmate named Shiragami Youko, the resident stoic Ice Queen. When he tries to confess to her, he ends up discovering that she is a vampire… and that she will have to leave school if she’s ever found out. He subsequently swears to keep this secret to allow her to continue with her school life. And asks her to become… “friends” with him.
However, being the “Man Who Cannot Lie”, he may have bitten off more than he can chew, as Shiragami herself turns out to be quite the cheerful ditz. He also has to contend with his malicious childhood friend-reporter Akemi Mikan, his former crush and Student Council president Aizawa Nagisa, and even a mysterious wolfman, to keep Youko’s secret, as Shiragami herself is not be the only supernatural being roaming around on the school grounds.
Why The Cliches Work
The plot is about as bread and butter for a harem romcom as you can get, but it makes up for that by mocking the everliving hell out of all the overused tropes in the genre by purposely exaggerating them, or subverting it in a cleverly stupid way. It also manages to take into account other tropes from other genres such as school battle shounen, fantasy, sci-fi and so much more, and that’s just in a SINGLE school festival arc. The characters are also explored much more deeply than most other romcoms bother with, and the plot gets weirder and weirder as it progresses while still maintaining the core love square affair in the first half that we love to have in these kinds of stories.
However, it’s in the second half where the manga really kicks off as the fun comedy I love. I’ve said before that I REALLY don’t like harem anime. I dislike that every cliche MC is less a character himself and more a force of nature that every other character has to interact with and inevitably respect/fall in love with. However, while My Monster Secret does have the bland everyman MC,it innovates by having the MC nut up and end up with the main girl 140 chapters before the manga’s end!
No spoilers on who, but the fact that a harem manga actually shows us that harem manga don’t have to rely on ship teasing to be fun,engaging AND successful-
-is enough reason for this to be a harem classic, but it doesn’t stop there.
No, it ALSO had the gall to be a legitimately great comedy. This manga has spawned so many reaction faces that even if you have zero interest in the manga, you have to admit how great the faces are. It’s hilarious and unabashedly mean-spirited at times, but I love it.
Of course, this being Spooktober, there’s a reason why I chose to review this, and besides the whole monster girls thing, the faces and proportions are also pure nightmare fuel.
It’s not just the faces, of course. Visual gags are abound in this manga, and re-reading it just gives me even more fun gags to laugh at that I hadn’t noticed before.
The reason why these dumb gags work is because I actually care about these characters and understand their motivations and backstories. We RELATE to the characters, even through the zaniness and insanity of the manga’s plot. Without spoiling too much, there IS a core story being told, and it all comes to head to one of the most satisfying endings I’ve read in a romcom/school battle/fantasy/sci-fi/political drama manga to date.
No, I was not joking about that last one.
Overall, My Monster Secret is a great parody of the tried and true tropes of the Shounen Jump of its time, from romance to sci-fi, while still being a unique and engaging story that has as many gags as it does the feels. I cannot recommend it enough!