Kaiju Girl Carmamelise Volumes 1-3 Review

From Spica Aoki. English translation from Yen Press.

I saw this manga and picked it up solely because my wife’s name is in the title. Then I looked at the plot and I’m a sucker for doing new things with kaiju (giant monsters). Three volumes are available now with a fourth that just came out but I cant find through my local shops and a fifth and final volume eventually.

This manga tells the story of Kuroe Akaishi, a very scared teenage girl. She has to go through life with her head down, cover her body, and keep people at a distance so no one knows her secret. When some emotions are heightened, Kuroe’s body starts to deform. It might be a claw, a tail, or when things get really difficult to deal with, she turns into a giant kaiju which has been dubbbed Harugon.

Kuroe might be able to keep her feelings contained but the most beautiful boy in school, Arata Minami, has taken an interest in her. At first she thinks this is a joke but as they spend more time together she realizes that Arata is genuinely a good guy with a real attraction to her. The better he is to her, the stronger her emotions become, and the more she struggles with her affliction.

Along the way we meet Manatsu Tomosato who has feelings for Harugon. She uses her wealth to track Harugon and dresses up as a Mothra inspired creature to try to gain the monster’s attention. Manatsu shares her thoughts about Kuroe, little knowing her classmate and Harugon are one in the same. Raimu “Rairi” Kouno is just as beautiful as Arata, but has a secret of her own.

Kuroe’s mom, Rinko Akaishi, tries to protect her daughter but I get the feeling she knows more than she is letting on.

The kaiju parts are fantastic. Who hasn’t had their emotions ready to burst out and felt like destroying everything in their path? Slamming doors, throwing things, breaking something. Anything to get the emotions out when you’re not yet mature or experienced enough to know how to deal with them. And that’s just the day to day emotions caused by school, friends, work, and family. Now start dating and we’re lucky to not all be bursting. If early daters all turned into kaiju the planet would cease to be. I couldn’t be more opposite of Kuroe and yet I remember all this built up frustration and a wish to have some outlet.

If the romance isn’t enough though, Harugon is one of the best drawn kaiju I’ve ever seen. Massive. Familiar yet distinctive. Terrifying yet something of Kuroe shines through. I have to imagine there are talks for an anime of this series and I think it would be as huge as Harugon herself. The best part of the kaiju is how rarely she appears. The story is about Kuroe, not about the monster. The monster is secondary. Always there in the background, but despite being as tall as a skyscraper, never over shadowing the human. That said her appearances begin at random and then are somewhat controlled and further the story. Harugon appears and causes chaos but is really bringing order to scattered feelings.

I would highly recommend picking up the volumes currently available and see if you can get on a list for the remaining ones.

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