It’s been a while since we checked in on Tomodachi X Monster, but with the final volume out, it’s only fair to take a look since we covered the first two books.
Tomodachi X Monster Vol. 3 (Seven Seas Entertainment)
Adaption by: Janet Houck
Do you remember anything about my last two reviews? The comments I made about the stories, the characters, how things were progressing, and what I was hoping to see? Well, don’t bother looking them up if you don’t because it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter, just like this book. Tomodachi X Monster Vol. 3, the finale to this series, is probably one of the most pointless, shockingly bad, and horrendous endings to any series that I’ve ever read.
It’s pretty clear that this series ended up being cancelled. Somewhere towards the end, like maybe when the creator introduced the Carnival, the word came down from his editor that his series was being cancelled and he had to wrap things up. Many series don’t wrap up so great when they’re cancelled, even if they start out terrific like Cry Havoc or Slash & Burn, but the creators will usually try to end things on a positive note–wrap up the current storyline and leave things off there, signaling the journey will still go on or perhaps just wrap up all the main plot points and leave other things hanging in the wind. Tomodachi X Monster sort of does the latter, but only in the most awful, meaningless ways I’ve ever read.
To explain, let’s quickly sum up the story in this final volume since there isn’t much until the final two chapters. Kids from the Carnival ambush Wataru and try to kill him. He fights them off until one of the kids betrays the another and infects them with some kind of worm thing. Worm thing makes that kid and her Friend go nuts, kill all of the other kids and Morino (who was just about to do a heel turn), but is stopped and killed by Wataru and Peke. Mysterious scientist guy from the last volume shows up and dumps a bunch exposition on our heads about the true nature of the friends. Sanada shows up and tries to kill Wataru with his Friend, but Peke unlocks some kind of time rewind power and sets everything back before disaster happens. Everyone forgets their memories and things seem to be ok, but ZOMG Sanada still remembers (maybe) and tries to kill Wataru. THE END!
That’s the last volume in a nutshell and you can see the problem already. The whole story was for nothing. The character’s Friend rewinds time somehow, and apparently that alters reality because that’s how time manipulation works, and everything is hunky-dory besides one thing. All those attempts at character development, growth, subplots, side characters, villains, and more meant nothing. The idea that Wataru was slowly becoming desensitized by fighting other members of Carnival? Didn’t matter! The fact that this Friend thing was happening across the entire globe? Who cares? The police detectives investigating the murders caused by the Friends’ powers? Never addressed again. Every side character besides Morino? Pointless because they NEVER appear in this entire volume outside of the ending (which raises questions because their group is missing two people that should be alive if everything has been fixed). Arai, who was built up a second antagonist alongside Sanada, doesn’t appear either in any capacity. Nothing this series did mattered in the end because it was all dropped and wiped away in the last ten or so pages.
Then there are all the small things in the finale itself that don’t make much sense, raises too many questions, and goes nowhere since it’s too late. The whole time travel aspect comes right the hell out of nowhere and doesn’t even begin to make sense in how it fixes everything. Sanada somehow remembers everything and implies that Wataru has done this reverse time thing several times before, but that is just revealed in the final page of the comic so we don’t know the specifics or if Sanada still has his Friend. The evil scientist guy, never named by the way, also reveals that these monsters, Friends as everyone calls them, do not exist at all. They are just things that our brains make us see because they are infected with these worms that evolve kids to have superpowers. That makes absolutely no sense given all of the powers we’ve seen these monsters display (never mind the fact that others can see the Friends besides the hosts) and that whole twist should have never been revealed in the first place since that introduces way too many plot holes. This whole finale, besides being pointless, is an absolute massive failure on a narrative and writing level.
There’s nothing to even comment about when it comes to the characters. Anyone with characterization or potential wasn’t in this final volume or their arcs were reversed by the end of it. The villains have no backstory, depth, or any reasons for why they do the things they do. The closest we get is the scientist, but all we learn is that the Friend monster situation has been going on for a few decades now. Wataru is pretty much the same character from beginning to end neither changing or growing as an individual. One of his biggest character-related elements was that he didn’t have any friends before this story began, due to his parents always moving (Oh yeah, he did have parents now that I think of it), but now he does have friends. However, that element is rendered moot because his friends don’t remember him after the time change and Peke no longer exists. This series is just incredibly pointless on almost every single level.
The strongest part of the volume remains the artwork. The characters were all drawn pretty well and the scenes flow very well due to Inui’s well put together layouts. The monster designs are still nice looking and rather creative, especially at depicting each of their abilities (I like the dapper Top Hat monster the most). Most of the volume was just action and the art does well depicting it with a sense of motion and brutality. There’s not much else to say though given how little happened in the book itself, so I’ll just say the art was the best part and I wish the story was better to make the most of it.
Tomodachi X Monster Vol. 3 is without a single doubt in my mind, horrendous. Anything potentially redeeming or good about this manga is flushed down the drain in an ending that might as well been “it was all just a dream.” Between the plot holes and the futility of it all, everything about this series is meaningless and therefore, worthless. Don’t read this manga–it’s just not worth the time or money.