Thoughts on T-Rex na Kanojo

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Allow me to shed some light on some curiosities one might have discovering this manga for the first time:

  • Yes, the manga really is about anthropomorphic dinosaurs living among normal human beings.
  • Despite being tagged as “ecchi” by a few sites and databases, this is only done because the female lead is topless for the first few chapters. This manga is by no means sexually exuberant.
  • Despite the English translation of the title, the two leads are not actually dating, but have a relationship defined by trust and tsundere-levels of affection.
  • No, there is no mention as to how normal humans and dino-hybrids are supposed to become “intimate.”
    • “But wouldn’t it be like normal?” Perhaps, but if that were the case, why would society allow the dino-hybrids (which are primarily female) to run around without any pants on?
      • “Because they don’t make pants that fit dinosaurs?” True, but it’s shown within the manga that society has adapted to the dino-hybrid existence and even sells specific items catered to their interests.
        • “What are we even talking about anymore?” Whether female dinosaurs have vaginas or not.

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T-Rex na Kanojo is a cutesy, trite little manga about the relationship of a human male in college and and t-rex hybrid female who’s dumb, but innocent. One could likely tell from the premise alone, but the manga is not one offering an engaging, immersive tale of emotional growth and/or overcoming adversity. Slice-of-life is in the driver’s seat, and dino-fetishists (I guess) are calling shotgun. And backseat. And roof.

So how exactly are dinosaurs alive and well in this day and age, and why are they half-human? Fear not, your questions will be answered as soon as the first chapter, when the male lead’s colleague explains that dinosaurs managed to survive throughout time by adapting to human culture via evolutionary tactics. And that’s all the explanation the reader is given, as the rest of the story is dedicated to the slow progression of closeness between the two leads. Not only is the explanation incredibly vague, but it’s frank and regarded as an afterthought. Filling in the biggest blank so that the mangaka can continue forth without worrying about something as silly as contextual explanations. This isn’t necessarily an issue (they at least tried), but it sort of closes the window on anything more this manga could have been. Could you imagine the things that could be done should they have made a sort of species-ism point prevalent? Aside from the “aughhh dinosaurs scary aughhhhh,” which is played off for laughs. Alas, T-Rex na Kanojo is but a straightforward story of “ooohs” and “ahhhs.”

Simple or not, the manga has a few things that make it enjoyable (and easy) to read. The type of comedy is somewhat different from what people expect out of a standard manga comedy. Defiance of expectations is the major focus, with a lot of irony taking center stage. Personally, I feel the humor is a tad too heavy-handed in its execution to be consistently funny, though it has the enthusiasm present to make it memorable at the least. Jokes tend to become a tad overused by the series’ end, especially ones that rely on setting up a joke in one panel, then revealing the punchline (and straight man reaction) afterwards. Still, its quality is a step above most… that being completely unfunny.

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Those that make the cast of T-Rex Kanojo are a vivid representation of whatever the mangaka wants them to be and nothing more. The female lead is an all-brawn, no-brain tsundere who’s stubborn and simple-minded. The male lead is obsessed with his “girlfriend,” while also showcasing some depth with his past as a delinquent and “I know more than I seem” demeanor. This automatically makes him more interesting than 92% of all other male leads. The female lead’s sister is a bright-eyed hustler, the male lead’s former underling is obsessed with the female lead’s sister, and the female lead’s co-worker and eventual friend is bad with expressing emotions but is actually super nice and caring. Very rarely does the manga ask these characters to change what they know best, and why should it? They work well with what they have and the consistency makes the more personal moments all the more endearing. If only there were more of those that didn’t lead into a punchline.

Accentuating cuteness is imperative for an artist, who must do their absolute best to make characters as moe-able as possible. How can you make dinosaurs cute? Well, first of all, don’t make them look anything like a dinosaur from the stomach up. Except razor fangs. Those are pretty moe. Oh, and little horns on the head! Those are pretty moe, too. Of course, they have to make them a little more dinosaur-like, or else they won’t truly be dinosaurs! Alright, alright; below the waist, they are complete dinosaurs. Long, powerful legs. Ferocious tail. Hell, give ’em dinosaur arms, too. Why not? As long as the torso is intact and their faces are ferociously moe, the manga’s golden. But does it work? Absolutely. I was charmed with the details present and the amount of comedic firepower surroundings the dinosaurs’ features. In color and shaded, it looks a tad off, but black-and-white sketches give the characters a lot of life and character.

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Romantics beware! T-Rex Kanojo is far more focused on the comedic aspects of life than the romantic ones. While present, a lot of the enveloping romance is overrode by the obliviousness of the female lead and the mangaka’s dedication to the comedy. Expecting romantic developments? Sorry, it was a leap-up to a joke. Want some romance between side-characters? Sorry, most are unrequited. At least you have a wide variety of dinosaurs to look at! Like Tyrannosaurus, Pterodactyl, Ankylosaurus… and… yeah! Why even try and blend dinosaurs with humans, anyway? How do they even mate?

With only twenty-seven chapters spanning eight to ten pages on average, T-Rex Kanojo won’t take a reader more than an hour or two to read through. Whether or not that time is spent wisely is dependent of your expectations. Should one go into it expecting a nice, atmospheric romance of young lovers from two different sides of life, they will be immensely disappointed. Should one go into it expecting a borderline nonsensical, carefree comedy with baited bits of romance for emphasis, one will have the time of their life. Could the manga have been longer? Absolutely. I found myself a little disappointed at the relative quickness. However, with as little as it offered within that span, one can’t help but find the experience somewhat pointless. Like a quick blast of an average firework, it’s all bang and no impact.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

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