Haruna Aizawa knows just how far someone can fall - her father was a rising political star until he was arrested on corruption charges. Among the fallout from this was being forced to transfer from her expensive private high school to raucous Kita High, which in her cynicism she sees as a monkey troop on a mountain, constantly struggling to be on top.
And that's before she meets Masaru Yamashita, or Macharu to everyone else. He's carefree, goofs around, and even resembles a baby monkey to everyone. He's also the only one who reaches out to Haruna, at first - while others are put off by her aloof personality, he keeps trying to connect with her.
While nobody else can quite understand it, she ends up falling for him
Known as Saruyama!
in Japan, by Shouko Akira.
This series has examples of:
- Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Subverted. The student government is depicted realistically. Meaning candidates have to be dragooned into running for office.
- Accidental Public Confession: Haruna is sometimes so focused on Macharu that she doesn't pay attention to her surroundings, and lets everyone around see just how she feels under her stoic exterior.
- Aloof Big Brother: Haruna's.
- Animal Stereotypes: Obviously, Macharu and monkeys (down to his name: the Japanese word for monkey, saru, is in there).
- Arranged Marriage: The final arc kicks off when Haruna's father arranges for her to be married off to his assistant, Gotoda. She responds by staying with the Yamashita family.
- Big Eater: Kobuhei
- Bishōnen: Atsu, and he abuses it.
- Macharu is also a bishonen, kind of. His looks vary a lot. Sometimes he could be drawn to be average but other times he is drawn to be rather handsome, especially when the scene calls for him to be serious.
- Book Dumb: Macharu. He is not shown to be all that intellectual but is remarkably emotionally mature when the situation calls for it.
- Broken Bird: Haruna qualifies with her family problems.
- Butt Monkey: Macharu gets the short end of the stick from his classmates frequently. Dating Haruna might be Fate deciding to Throw the Dog a Bone.
- Captain Ersatz: The principal was deliberately patterned after Albert Einstein.
- Cassandra Truth: When Haruna first visits Macharu's family, his mother smacks him upside the head for lying about them dating. Haruna shocks her by confirming that she is. The rest of his family reacts with various levels of disbelief over the prospect.
- The Casanova: Atsu, specifically referenced repeatedly.
- Christmas in Japan: With lampshading about how they're not Christian.
- Deadpan Snarker: Haruna
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Haruna, oh so much.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: This is slightly debatable but Haruna and Macharu are put through some trials and tribulations in order to stay together. Also, Macharu has to really study hard to get into the university of his choice.
- Everyone Can See It: In the side story about Macharu's younger sister, pretty much everyone besides her realizes that the trombone player in her band is Tsundere for her.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: It's not just in the title.
- The Fool: Macharu
- Generic Cuteness and Gonk: Both surprisingly subverted. Some cast members are just plain-looking, and while both Macharu and Kobuhei aren't cute, neither is outrageously ugly (Macharu is goofy-looking, while Kobuhei is just paunchy). Oddly, the closest the mangaka comes to producing a Gonk is her depictions of herself in supplimental materials.
- Genius Ditz: It's strongly implied that Macharu is actually pretty good at science and mathematics, as his school places students with no college ambitions into the liberal arts track while he gets placed into the science track. Much more attention is paid to his struggles with history and language courses.
- Happy Ending: One of the least ambiguous happy endings in manga.
- Hidden Depths: Kobuhei's musical talents
- Insecure Love Interest: Despite what one would initially think, Haruna wrestles with this. Sure, Macharu occasionally gets down about the relationship, but he quickly redoubles his effort to show his dedication. Haruna, however, worries that Macharu could easily leave her behind and succeed at his dreams, and this gives her doubt as to whether she could really keep up with Macharu, his dreams, and most of all his feelings. Gotoda figures it out and plays off of it to try to convince her to go along with the Arranged Marriage.
- Japanese Holidays
- Keet: Macharu, he is very energetic and genki.
- Large Ham: The student council president, complete with Hot Blood and Manly Tears.
- Loving a Shadow: Haruna believes that this is why Atsu continues to make passes at her.
- Also, Emi pines fruitlessly for Atsu. Kobuhei points out all the issues with that to her.
- Moment Killer: Atsu, rather intentionally.
- Odd Friendship: Macharu and Atsu.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Haruna discovers quite early on that her classmates are apparently masters at it.
- The Ojou: Haruna acts a bit like one at times, though no longer in such a position.
- One Head Taller: Subverted, Macharu and Haruna are exactly the same height, around 5 feet 3 or 4 inches in American measurements.
- Opposites Attract
- The Reveal: There are multiple hints throughout the series that Kobuhei, much to the surprise of all his classmates, is quite the romantic. The details aren't revealed until the post-script to the series: Kobu's in love with Emi, the girly girl of their social circle. It puts a whole new light on several of Kobuhei's scenes earlier in the manga. In particular, the conversation he has with Emi about Loving a Shadow becomes much more tragic for Kobu, since Emi won't give up on Atsu.
- Right-Hand Hottie: Gotoda, Mr. Aizawa's assistant, is clearly meant to be the much more standard shoujo-style love interest: clean-cut, tall, elegant, and most importantly insightful as to the heroine's true personality. However, even if Haruna wasn't already with Macharu, she finds him way too presumptuous about pretty much everything.
- School Festival
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Haruna and her brother, although both share a snarky attitude. It's humorously compared to a much more lighthearted version with Macharu and his sister, Misato.
- So Proud of You: Played for laughs, with Macharu's dad displaying Manly Tears when he discovers that his son is dating Haruna.
- Strong Family Resemblance: All the Yamashitas look like monkeys to some degree. This could be avoided by Macharu's younger sister, but she regularly gets her hair cut because she's crushing on Atsu, who does her hair.
- The Aizawas have this too - Haruna looks like a younger version of her mother, and her brother looks like a younger (and punkier) version of their father. However, it's not as obvious as Mrs. Aizawa only appears once and Haruna's brother and father only appear in the same chapter once (and the brother for only a couple panels in said chapter).
- Their First Time-Guess who's
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Yuko and Emi, respectively.
- Triang Relations: Type 4, with Atsukido in the "A" position. Haruna suspects that it's Macharu and not her in the "B" position - or maybe it's Type 6, with Atsu again as "A".
- Atsu is also in a type 5, with Misato at "B" and bandmate Hiura at "A".
- Urban Legend Love Life: Atsu, as noted by the author in her notes in the final volume.
- What Does She See in Him??: Nobody can understand how Haruna and Macharu got together, although she does try explaining it to her father and Atsu to some extent.