Beast Master Volume 1

Beast Master Volume 1 by Kyousuke Motomi

Motomi’s Dengeki Daisy is one of my favorite new shoujo series, so I thought I’d check out the earlier series Beast Master. I think often mangaka’s earlier series tend to suffer in comparison when compared with the manga that become hits. But while Beast Master doesn’t have the more stylish illustrations and emotional depth that Dengeki Daisy does, it does share the same quirky sensibility that makes it stand out from more run-of-the mill shoujo series.

Yuiko is a typical teen girl with a passion for animals. Unfortunately she has an uncontrollable tendency to smother any animal she meets with too much affection, causing them to flee from her. Leo is an animalistic boy whose demonic eyes and strange mannerisms cause him to be misunderstood by everybody he meets. Leo transfers into Yuiko’s school, and she is the first and only person to make friends with him. She treats him a little bit like a stray pet at first, but as they get to know each other a real friendship develops. Where Beast Master stands out is in its depiction of Leo. While he is handsome, his animal-like rage is contrasted with a playful mode where he’s drawn to look a little bit like a playful giant cat. It is unusual to see the male lead of the series being portrayed in an unhandsome way so many times. Although there’s a little bit of a Jane taming Tarzan dynamic in Yuiko and Leo’s relationship, seeing how she was gradually able to integrate him into school life was fun. Leo’s tendency to watch over Yuiko saves her from some sticky situations. I’m not feeling as invested in this story as I am with Dengeki Daisy, but since there’s only one more volume in this series, I’m going to finish reading Beast Master. After trying both of Motomi’s series that are available in English, I’m hoping that more from this creator gets released over here.

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