“My Little Monster” (“Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun”, also translated out to “The Monster Sitting Next to Me”) could potentially be described as a nothing show, as it starts off that way. It takes a little while for the plot to get moving, as we have a rather wide-ranging cast, but it is a good entry into the romantic comedy genre. Shizuku Mizutani (pencil near mouth, holding book) is focused on one thing only: studies. She studies morning, noon and night, all weekend long, around the clock and through the seasons. She has no time for frivolities if she wants to get into a prestigious university. One day, she is asked by the teacher to deliver handouts to a slacker student, Haru Yoshida, (dude with the rooster) to his house, as he has been absent a huge amount of time. Because no one has ever been this nice to him, especially a girl, he starts to come to school, much to the consternation of others. You see, Haru lacks social skills, he scares everyone and get violent at the drop of a hat, but that is more circumstantial than intentional. But he latches on to Mizutani like a remora, which puts a crimp in her study schedule, as this is an unnecessary distraction from her ultimate goal. The series covers the transformation of both, so one is less hyper focused and the other now has a focus. This really is a faith-based show, in that you have to have faith in yourself to be able to succeed. Haru starts to learn how to care for other people and things (like that rooster he has) and Mizutani starts to learn that there is more to life than studying. But since both are deficient in those categories, there are a lot of starts and stops until they can find a rhythm. Their friends try to help out, but since this now akin to a greased pig contest, things are hard to get a good grasp on. It’s nice that you are honest with yourself and your emotions, but you have to temper everything. I liked the show for the off-beat support players and the overall quirky nature of the show. And that a good portion of it takes place at a gaming arcade with batting cages makes for a goofy time. The arc to build a coop for the rooster is one of silliness, but it brings all these divergent people together for a single purpose. And as how Haru came to befriend this rooster is another lovely story to see. If there is a drawback (and this is me, so I will find you!), it is Mizutani. I wasn’t certain if she couldn’t bring herself to see Haru in a different light or wouldn’t allow it, but it took more time than necessary to thaw this Ice Queen. Still, a willingness to change for someone else is a nice theme to have in a show. This would be a very good first anime, getting someone introduced to the field, in that a lot is reigned in and plays out, more or less, as normal (if a guy with a rooster as a pet could be considered ‘normal’) and what it means to leave behind that which may actually be holding you back. And with the fan service in check, it won’t scare away people. On a scale of 1 to 10: Artwork 7 (rather standard anime) Plot 8 (A simple plot done well) Pacing 7 (Slows down in the middle) Effectiveness 8 (A nice gentleness to it all) Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but doesn’t really end) Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”) Overall 8 (Worth checking out) And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Life is like a chicken.