The story of small children teamed up with monster companions is not exactly a new concept. Even ignoring the most famous two, Pokémon and Digimon, there are too many of these series to count, and most of them are not very noteworthy. The fact that this genre is so overcrowded makes something special like Tomodachi x Monster even more refreshing, even subversive.
One day elementary student Wataru meets Peke, a small blob-like creature with its mouth sewn shut. The two quickly become friends and everything seems fine: after all, it is every kid’s dream to have their own secret monster friend! But soon he discovers that having a “friend” is a curse instead of a blessing. Caught up in the sadistic game of bloodthirsty children, Wataru’s life is changed forever.
I love a manga brimming with blood and gore, and Tomodachi x Monster perfectly satisfies my needs.
The art is deliciously detailed when it comes to showing just how much damage these monsters do against the fragile bodies of human
children. The first volume included depictions of a boy burned to near death, a human centipede-like creature made of discarded corpses and a girl sliced to pieces with her intestines spilling out onto the ground. Just looking at how graphic these images are lets me know that Yoshihiko Inui was fully committed to the concept. This is made even more effective by the juxtaposition with the rest of the art, which is in a style that looks like your typical anime aimed at little kids.
Tomodachi x Monster is an ultraviolent dark comedy and a fresh take on the genre. It’s as if Parasyte combined with Pokémon to create a memorable experience. For a manga about little kids murdering each other, Tomodachi x Monster is a pretty great read. Recommended.
publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
story and art: Yoshihiko Inui