Now it's time to check on some of this year's shonen titles, and that means more monster girl manga. This trend lives on well after the bloom has faded from Monster Musume, and if titles like this are any indication, they're only getting goofier and weirder.
MY GIRLFRIEND IS A T-REX (T-Rex na Kanojo), by Sanzo. First published in 2014 and first published in North America in 2016.
In this world, dinosaurs survived the Mesozoic Era. To survive, they evolved to fit in better with humanity, complete with human faces and torsos. It's just Yuuma's good luck that he stumbled across Churlo, a T-Rex girl who has retained the simple mind and brute hunger of her ancestors. Yuuma takes it upon himself to look after her, but inviting her in to his brings more chaos than he ever could have expected.
My Girlfriend Is a T-Rex isn't that complicated. Churlo does something lunkheaded, Yuuma thinks it cute (even if it hurts), lather rinse repeat. Thankfully, fresh infusion of new castmembers keeps the premise from getting too stale.
Yuuma seems like another boring pushover protagonist, but pretty quickly he reveals himself to be kind of weird. He's got a thuggish past that only makes itself known when his old classmate or his landlord's annoying kid gets to him. He's also a lot cannier than these sorts of characters tend to be. He's good at twisting words around to get Churlo to do what he wishes (or stop her from wreaking havoc in his own home). Just the fact that he's not the constant punchline gives him a leg on up on the vast majority of rom-com protagonists and it's a really pleasant change of pace.
Normally it's not a good thing to compare a love interest to a dog, but there really is no easier way to describe Churlo. She's like someone's poorly trained Labrador: simple minded, driven by her appetite, kind of aggressive, prone to chewing on things, and utterly loyal to those who show her kindness (or feed her). This is no moe dream girl, but instead a ridiculous disaster. She's not the only dino girl by a long shot, but Churlo is such a big, aggressive personality that she tends to steal any scene she pops up in.
There's not a lot of story here. Hell, it doesn't even bother to explain precisely how dinosaurs could turn into what are basically saurian centaurs. It's more focused on the gags, and because of that each chapter feels light and breezy. It doesn't feel the need to lean on skeezy fanservice or bog itself down by trying to turn such a goofy premise into a serious romance It's just plain good giggly fun, and I'm certainly down for that.
Sanzo's art is no more complicated than the storyline. The characters are super simple looking; the idea of turning dinosaurs into centaur-style monsters people is about as creative as he gets. Also, despite the fact that Churlo first shows up completely topless, he doesn't focus all that much on her boobs. Hell, he doesn't even bother with nipples, so why worry about modesty? He's also not all that bothered with backgrounds. He would much rather keep his panels small and focused on the one thing he does do well: big, broad comedic takes. While none of them are all that detailed or inspired, they basically carry the humor and everyone gets a few good ones. That also probably the explains the 4-koma-style set-up. While it's not strictly in the 4-koma style, most of the story beats are contained to one or two pages which helps to keep the humor moving forward. This really isn't the sort of manga you read for the art, but Sanzo's works well with what he's trying to achieve here.
My Girlfriend Is a T-Rex is just simple good fun. Neither the story (such as it is) nor the art is all that demanding, but that just means that the focus can remain on the humor. This is easily the most lighthearted of the monster girl manga out there and it's also one of the most enjoyable of the lot.
This series is published by Seven Seas. This series is complete in Japan with 2 volumes available. 1 volume has been published and is currently in print.
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