REVIEW: ‘Kaiju-Girl Caramelise,’ Volume 4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Kaiju-Girl Caramalise Volume 4

Kaiju-Girl Caramelise is a shoujo manga all about a teenage girl, Kuroe, experiencing love for the first time, finding self-confidence, and forging friendships – oh, and she turns into a kaiju when her emotions are overstimulated. Angry? Turns into a kaiju. Embarrassed? Kaiju time. First date? Yup, definitely going to become a kaiju. Created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Spica Aoki, the series in its fourth volume, and its main character is starting to embrace who she is, kaiju kisses and all. Kaiju-Girl Caramelise Volume 4 is published and localized in English by Yen Press, translated by Taylor Engel, and lettered by Lys Blakeslee.

Over the last few volumes, we’ve seen Kuroe not only turn into her kaiju alter-ego, the menacing but heart-eyed Harugon, but we’ve also seen her start to become more comfortable with her transformations. This has come from her best friend Manatsu being in love with her kaiju form and Minami becoming her boyfriend, even if the bullies at school don’t believe that she matches him. Additionally, the last volume ended with Kuroe finally mustering up the courage to kiss Minami. But while that’s exciting, that kiss was publicly between Harugon and Minami, which has led to a new life as the “Kaiju Prince.” Now that he’s the hot topic of the national media, he’s trying to keep Kuruoe from the press and protect her, which begins to push a small fracture between them. Plus, that one kiss turns the delicate balance of the Minami-Kuroe/Harugon-Manatsu relationships into a love triangle.

Kaiju-Girl Caramelise works because Aoki leans into comedy to tell her pretty standard high school romance. Only, instead of love triangles and miscommunications between humans, Aoki leverages Kuroe’s Harugon form to not only make humorous bickering but also tell a wholesome story that actually has a reason for characters not communicating. While other shoujo romances have me yelling at the pages for the leads to talk and confess their feelings, in this manga, they already have and all the hidden elements aren’t the easiest to share with others. Sure, Minami seems trustworthy and has technically seen Kuroe in her half-kaiju monster-girl form, but he thought it was cosplay, and the fear of being captured and studied remains a concern as the media begins to hover around Kuroe’s circle.

Ultimately, every character, even the absurd and kaiju-obsessed Manatsu, has reasons for their behavior, and the humor never once belittles them. There is heart to Kaiju-Girl Caramelise that its monster-girl premise tends to miss. In fact, Kuroe’s move from outcast to friend and girlfriend comes from well-written and healthy relationships with the people around her. That said, this volume in particular begins to dig into the mysteries of Kuroe’s past, which adds more fantasy and world-building beyond just the routine Harugon transformation.

Not only is Kaiju-Girl Caramelise a series with a great story, but it’s also beautifully illustrated. Aoki is able to bring to life Harugon with both fierce monster characteristics and a softness that truly shows that it’s still Kuroe. The balance between softness, cuteness, and monsters is the strength of this manga and overall keeps me plugged into it as both a shoujo reader and a kaiju fan.

Overall, Kaiju-Girl Caramelise is well worth picking up all four volumes right now. It’s sweet, hilarious, and hits a perfect spot for a kaiju-lover. Aoki has crafted a truly magical series.

Kaiju-Girl Caramelise Volume 4 is available wherever books are sold.

Kaiju-Girl Caramelise Volume 4
5

TL;DR

Overall, Kaiju-Girl Caramelise is well worth picking up all four volumes right now. It’s sweet, hilarious, and hits a perfect spot for a kaiju-lover. Aoki has crafted a truly magical series.