As one can infer from the title, this anime is about the relationship between a fifth-grader and an older girl. Hatsukoi Monster, also known as First Love Monster in English, has what would appear to be a rather interesting storyline, involving the controversial age gap between two people in a relationship. The anime consists of twelve episodes and is mistakenly under the Comedy and Romance genres, as well as Shoujo, however, that one is pretty accurate. First Love Monster withholds a score of 6.01 on MAL, ranked by close to 12,000 users.
Freshman Kaho Nikaidou is from an influential family, and as such, no one has ever said anything even remotely mean to her, for fear of incurring her household’s wrath. Wishing to be around people who will not treat her as special because of her background, she leaves home to live in a dormitory for a new school year. Shortly after arriving, Kaho accidentally wanders into traffic and is saved by a tall, handsome stranger. When she asks for his name, he tells her she is weird and walks away. Having finally met the only person to ever say an unkind word to her, Kaho falls head over heels for her savior.
After meeting her rescuer yet again and discovering that his name is Kanade Takahashi, she confesses her love to him. Kanade says he would like for them to be a couple, but that Kaho may not want to date him after she finds out his secret. To her shock, Kaho discovers the startling truth: Kanade is a fifth grade!
When I first watched First Love Monster back in August of last year, when the anime first aired, I was not as impressed as I thought I would be. It was not until one of the innocently shy characters, Kota Shinohara, appeared on the screen. The colorless manga print did not do Kota justice. Despite my indifference to the anime as a whole, I love Kota as a character. He is so shy and sweet. He simply needs to work on his confidence. If Kota wasn’t as shy he would have already confessed to his crush, Kaho. He is constantly looking after her from a distance, trying to be supportive of her relationship with Kanade. I can’t help but hope that Kaho and him will end up together, for Kota’s sake, not hers. Kota deserves infinite happiness.
The incident in the anime, and manga, where Kaz mistakenly thought that he was a girl was quite comical. Is it wrong to have loved the scene where he was forced to dress up as a girl? My heart goes out to Kota for constantly being teased and having to deal with the rambunctious people living under the same roof as him. Kota is the reason why anyone who prefers shy anime characters should give First Love Monster a chance. I certainly wouldn’t have found it as bearable if he was not a supporting character in it.
Other than the fact that I gained a new favorite character, the anime was not what I was hoping for. I hyped myself up after reading the manga a couple years back, thinking that it was going to be an interesting comedy, however it was not. Kaho’s love interest is a fifth grader, that speaks for itself on its own. He is immature. The majority of the jokes were childish and not all that comical. Everyone living in that household was strange. Think about it: one girl loved a fifth-grader, another girl stole the underwear of an older man that she stalks, and a man that is completely obsessed with taking up the skirt pictures photos of a figure.
Despite enjoying a select few scenes involving Kota, I did not enjoy it overall. At times, it became kind of hard to watch because of how cheesy and somewhat boring the plot was. There were even some instances where it appeared that the animators got lazy and did not draw the characters properly. Also, the plot seemed kind of rushed. It felt like the main conflicts were briefly being mentioned, whereas minor details were heavily focused on. No one is that interested in little boys discussing their private parts and hoola-hooping for someone’s love.
The story was downright weird. I was fine with the rather large age gap at the start of the anime, however, as the show went on it became more evident that the two were not meant to be together. I feel like Kanade, the fifth grader, was looking more for someone to fill his mother’s shoes than to actually pursue a relationship with a woman. Let’s face it, he was more attracted to his friends than his own girlfriend. The more I discuss this anime the more it seems that Kaho and Kanade simply wanted to be in a relationship with anyone. Overall, the anime was not horrible, but not good, it was decent. I rate the anime a 2.5 out of 5 stars.