“Gotta kill them all.”
– Ooba Mei, Tomodachi x Monster
Tomodachi X Monster is a horror/black-comedy manga by Yoshihiko Inui. The series was first published in the seinin magazine “Manga Action“. The series ran from June 2014- June 2015. The manga has since been licensed for North American distribution by Seven Seas Entertainment.
Tomodachi x Monster follows Narimiya Wataru, a 5th grade student who has a difficult time making friends. One afternoon, Narimiya hears the call of a mysterious voice beckoning him into the woods behind his school. It’s there that he meets his new friend and partner, Peke (pictured on the cover above). Narimiya soon discovers that he’s not the only child with a “friend.” Some of these children have come to enjoy battling one another to grow stronger and enhance the bond they share with their monstrous friends. Unlike Pokemon, however, these battles are to the death.
Soon after finding Peke, Narimiya encounters the gang “Carnival.” Carnival is made up of children with monster-friends who have a passion for battling. Unlike our protagonist; however, the members of Carnival have no problem with killing. They give Narimiya a simple choice: join us or die. When Narimiya refuses to join, he discovers there is no place to hide from Carnival and he that must fight to survive. He joins up with a small band of like-minded people who also have monster-friends. Together they attempt to withstand Carnival’s onslaught, but will they be able to defeat Carnival without losing their souls in the process? What exactly are the “friends” and where do they come from?
For those not familiar, seinin is a Japanese word meaning “youth.” Seinin manga is marketed towards older adolescents as well as young men in their 20’s. The audience for these manga is typically older than that of shonen manga (ex: One Piece, Naruto, and Dragonball). Seinin manga tend to be more graphic than their shonen counterparts and Tomodachi x Monster is no exception.
I stumbled upon this manga one day while wandering through the book shop. As a long time fan of the Pokemon franchise and horror aficionado I couldn’t resist its premise: “What if we injected some reality into the idea of giving tweens access to incredibly powerful monsters. Monster’s who obey their master’s every command.”
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