Beast Master 2

November 27, 2010

Kyousuke Motomi – Viz – 2010 – 2 volumes

I am easy to please when it comes to light shoujo, and I tend to be fond of the type of story that can be told in two volumes. Usually my expectation isn’t too high, and they have everything I’m looking for in a quick shoujo fix.

Beast Master isn’t quite as good as, say, Backstage Prince, but it still has a lot of fun stuff going on. I remember the first volume being somewhat episodic, but this one kicks the plot into high gear as we learn all the details of Leo’s background and learn that there’s a serious threat to his life afoot. Leo and Yuiko grow closer in the embarrassed shoujo manga way, things work out, and there’s even a little epilogue chapter that resolves any final doubts you may have had about their relationship. Leo beasts out one last time, and even gets Yuiko in on the act.

Yuiko’s “beast” moment was one of the highlights of the volume, since it was so unexpected coming from the nice, polite girl. The slap across the face was very welcome, honestly, and I was a little surprised to see such a variation in the character. I was also surprised by the attempts on Leo’s life. While the reason is pretty silly, the attempt is very serious-minded. Otherwise, everything pretty much maintains shoujo status quo. The characters remain a little silly and very likable, the romance is cute, there’s a great balance between humor, action, and love scenes, and the epilogue puts everything in a nice package for you. It was nothing spectacular, but it was fun all the same. I am looking forward to Dengeki Daisy, I’m curious to see what the author does with a longer format series. There are a lot of good things here, and I’d like to see them in a less restrictive form.

The last 80 pages is an unrelated story, and one that I liked better than the main story, for a change. The filler material in the back of shoujo manga volumes is usually unremarkable and often terrible, but not so here. The story was called “Cactus Summer Surprise,” and was about a pair of feuding childhood friends, a cactus, a ghost, and a nice story that brought all three of them together. I suppose I liked it better since it had all the things that made Beast Master great (likable characters, the right mix of good shoujo manga stuff) plus a premise that appealed to me slightly more. The length was good too, since it would be hard to stretch an idea like that out any longer.

In short, Beast Master wasn’t spectacular, but it was a cute short read with likable characters, and I even liked the filler story in the back. On to Dengeki Daisy!

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