Back in middle school through High school I used to collect manga. I think at one point I got up to like 400+ titles. How my parents ever allowed for that to happen is beyond me. I guess they just liked the fact that I spent a lot of my time reading. 😛 Luckily I have managed to keep most of ’em. I thought it would now be a neat idea if I went through them to see what still holds up. For my first pick I have chosen the short series called Beast Master.
This manga’s main focus is a love story that centers around two high school students, a guy named Leo and a girl named Yuiko. You see the thing with Leo is that he is a new transfer student who everyone is immediately freaked out by. The reason? It’s because he looks particularly scary. O.O No seriously, from his outer appearance he seems a bit animalistic and has these intense piercing eyes that intimidate all he comes in contact with. Yuiko on the other hand is a person who is very much approachable. She is an affectionate girl and really loves animals…although it’s to the point where she can smother them with TOO MUCH love and as a result they avoid her.
What kicks things off is that early on Yuiko finds out that behind that harsh exterior Leo is actually a sweet guy. She is able to connect with him and becomes fascinated to learn more about him and his past. Later though it is revealed that he actually ISN’T all that innocent because when he is threatened he blacks out, his defense mechanism kicks in, and he becomes a straight up SAVAGE! Sounds intense no? Well it is…sometimes but overall its actually very fluffy and cute. For you see this is a shoujo manga, I know that might seem like a swerve, you might have begun to think this would be some kind of deeper psychological manga but it’s not 😛 Please don’t be disappointed by that. haha
I actually like this manga because of its cuteness and fluffiness. Although unlike a lot of shoujo manga I have read this one does have a couple of brief moments where it does get darker than you would expect from this genre. I think that helps set it apart from other typical “good girl falls for bad boy who actually isn’t bad” type stories. 😀 I also think these two characters have such amazing chemistry and it’s so much fun when they are together. For a romance manga, how the main couple is portrayed is like the biggest deal. That is why I am happy to say that these characters are pretty fleshed out and have personality. The two share moments that range from serious, to tender, to smile inducing funny scenes. Best of all they have detailed reasons for being the way they are and for reacting to each other the way they do.
As for other characters, they kind of get the short end of the stick. Early on you get that this will be a couple focused series. Where its more about the development of the leads as opposed to everything else. As a result other characters just aren’t really developed all that much. Most of the times they are like plot devices to muster up some sort of conflict for our main duo. Other times they are just there so something funny can happen. These things aren’t necessarily bad though because I didn’t feel like they detracted anything. I think it’s ultimately a byproduct of only being two volumes. Either they should have taken some things out or just gone with another volume to flesh some of these characters more.
In regards to everything else, I thought it was all good. I think the plot never got
convoluted. Aside from wishing for better side character stuff I thought the actual plot made sense and I was satisfied with how everything unraveled. There were flashbacks but they weren’t overused and came at the right times. You also had comedic moments that helped keep the momentum up. For example, every time Yuiko failed at life I was in tears. 😛 Oh and by fail at life I mean when she failed at befriending all those cute animals that she tried so hard to. The other part of the comedy that made me lulz was Leo. I swear this guy is like a child, both innocent and pure. Seeing him act the complete opposite of what everyone thought he was like was fantastic. Props to the artist for being able to draw him in such a cute way one moment and then in such a scary way the next. I would say overall the manga’s art stayed consistent.
With that comes the end of my review. If you are looking for something that isn’t too time consuming then check this out. It is definitely aimed more at teens but I think people older than that can still garner some enjoyment from it. 🙂