Monster girls are a big thing in anime and manga right now. While the concept of a guy who winds up accumulating a harem of cute girls will never go out of style, some creators have thought to improve on this idea by making some of the girls hybrids of mythological monsters like dragons, lamias, or cyclopses. I fail to see the appeal in such an approach. Since it can’t mean that I have too much taste (as the latest volume of “Prison School” arrived in the mail last week) this likely means I’m just getting old. That being said, I picked up “My Girlfriend is a T-Rex” not to challenge my preconceptions about this sub-genre but because I’d heard that this title functions as more of a parody of it. Or rather, as I lack the awareness of any conventions of this sub-genre that need skewering, that this was something that’s geared more towards comedy than anything else.
That turns out to be true from the very first chapter as we’re introduced to Yuuma, our normally easy-going and unflappable protagonist, and Churio, a female T-rex who lives in an abandoned building in his neighborhood. After a late night run-in where Yuuma finds Churio’s efforts to frighten him more cute than anything else, they start to bond as the former does his best to educate the T-rex on the conventions of modern life. Which is far more difficult than you’d expect because while it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that Churio is dumber than a sack of hammers… that would still be selling the hammers short.
Most of the humor springs from Churio’s misconceptions about everyday life, and mangaka Sanzo turns this into a one-note joke with legs as Yuuma helps her to wear clothes regularly, get a part-time job, and find a proper place to live. It’s also worth mentioning that the dinosaurs’ character design of human face and chest, dinosaur everything else proves to be cleverly effective pandering. After all, everyone knows that guys will put up with a lot of things as long as a girl has a pretty face and a nice rack.
The supporting cast is also pretty strong too. We’re introduced in short order to Churio’s velociraptor friend Torika, who is shown to be a figurative maneater in the way that she skillfully manipulates her many boyfriends into giving her plenty of free stuff. This is seen clearly when Yuuma’s high school friend Hiroya falls head over heels for her and gives the series its sole romantic subplot so far. Then there’s the pterodactyl Nowoll who is outwardly cute, but only to people he respects as being strong. His early interactions with Yuuma proceed along expected lines as the kid terrorizes the college student because he thinks that the college student is a bit of a pushover.
Much to my surprise, that turns out not to be the case. While Churio is very much a case of what you see is what you get as far as her personality goes, Yuuma feels like an effort by the mangaka to break with the convention of a milquetoast male lead in harem stories. This is because it’s revealed that he has a checkered past as a thug during his high school years and is trying to make amends for it now. Unfortunately for those on the receiving end, Yuuma’s threatening and violent tendencies tend to bubble up when he’s provoked. Which Sanzo manages to play off to good comedic effect. The mangaka also shows his protagonist to not be above teasing Churio when the situation presents itself, sometimes by tricking her into carrying more trash with praise or by distracting her with a thrown meat bun. None of this feels particularly mean-spirited, and it balances out when Churio gnaws on his head when she’s happy, tries to incubate him like an egg when he’s cold, or massages him by hitting him on the back with a massage book. Theirs may not be a romantic relationship as the title implies, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had seeing Yuuma and Churio interact within each other’s friendzones.
I wasn’t expecting to write this much about a series where a guy strikes up a friendship with a T-rex who has evolved specific female parts. You can take that as a sign that this series has more to it than its spot-on title would suggest. While I can’t say how much this series would actually appeal to dedicated monster girl fans, it’s highly recommended to people who can appreciate very silly character-driven comedy.