It’s not often that I talk about short and sweet mangas, mainly because they are over to soon and I hate that. A short manga can give you a pleasant evening or a sad evening when you reach the end of the story. Especially if you want more, but Beast Master is a awesome little story that wraps you in a sweet embrace before saying goodbye.
The main character is Yuiko. She loves animals with a frightening intensity that sends every animal in the vicinity running. Even her own cat doesn’t like her, but this does not keep her from trying to befriend every animal she sees.
One night while searching for her cat she meet Aoi, a naïve and pure hearted boy who is often alienated from humans because of his scary appearance. Animals love him while people are afraid of him. He is sweet, shy, and socially awkward. He also has a berserk mode that activates when he is injured and sees blood. Because of his appearance, he gets into dangerous situations through no fault of his own.
Yuiko becomes his first friend, as she’s not afraid of animal attacks and certainly not afraid of a beast boy. Aoi is scared to lose her as a friend, but Yuiko sticks by him despite his scary appearance or his berserk mode. Slowly, but not surprisingly, they both start to fall in love.
I like romance stories. I particularly like the ones where the main character do not instantly fall in love. I like a slow romance where things happen gradually. Yuiko and Aoi relationship in some ways is more mature and pure than a lot of high school romance manga.
Some troubling things do happen to both Aoi and Yuiko, through no fault of their own. When danger comes and Aoi is goes into survival-mode Yuiko is always there to pull him back to humanity. She also helps him establish relationships with other classmates while he helps her get animals to like her. Their relationship is a good balance of give and take, with Yuiko protecting his feelings when he is misunderstood and Aoi pouring her with affection for being so good to him.
Beast Master is a cute and sweet story. It has dark moments and problems outside of an ordinary life. Thankfully Aoi and Yuiko get through their problems together. There is an art to a short story. A way of giving them enough to keep them wishing for more while still being content. If I had one gripe it would be how short the manga is, but sometimes I guess it’s best not to tamper with a good story.