Title: Beast Master
Alternate Titles: Укротительница, ビーストマスター, บีสต์ มาสเตอร์, 野獸主人, 비스트 마스터
Author & Artist: Motomi Kyousuke
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo
Volumes: 02 (Complete)
Leo Aoi looks like a crazy animal with wild eyes, and he goes berserk whenever he feels threatened and sees blood. That doesn’t stop animal-lover Yuiko Kubozuka from befriending him, however. In fact, Yuiko is the only person Leo will listen to when he has one of his violent fits…All information come from Manga Updates. This blog post will contain spoilers please read after the cut if you’ve already read the manga.
Just to note, this manga also comes with two extra short stories: “Fly” & “Cactus Summer Surprise” (but I’ll get to those in due time).
That cover is a lie. Leo isn’t tied up by chains nor is he a violent criminal. The story goes that when his parents got married, a zoologist as well as a doctor who really doesn’t have borders (as Toki puts it but we’ll get to him in a minute). When Leo was young, his mother passed away and that was when Leo met his maternal grandfather for the first time. Apparently, the mother ran off and got disowned by her father but he was so charmed by Leo that, when he died suddenly, it was found that he had left a secret will.
The will states that when Leo turns 18 years old, he will receive 12 billion yen (or about $130 million according to the translators). As a result, this pissed off the relatives who, I guess, assumed that the money would be split among them. Because of this anger, though, they tried to kidnap, hurt, and even attempted murder Leo for that money. Things got so bad, that the grandfather’s bodyguard, a German-Japanese ex-mercenary by the name of Toki (who seems to never age), and his father to run away to the wilderness where up until now, had grown up in.
Now, when they talk about Leo’s violent tendencies, they’re mostly talking about a literal defense mechanism where whenever Leo sees blood and is in grave danger, he’ll attack without mercy. In fact, he actually managed to kill a leopard which was about to maul him. The trouble though is that he doesn’t remember it. And because he has such a big heart, he’s so scared of being around people.
But after our two protagonists meet, naturally, Yuiko could stop his rampages by basically putting herself at risk. People at school are, naturally, afraid of him at first because of the way he looked and acted – he was really scared and nervous and didn’t know how to interact with other humans.
Yuiko herself is pretty awesome and I think most people can relate to her. She loves animals but she loves them so much that she smothers them with love and they’re afraid of her. However, people are attracted to her by droves and she gets along with most people.
And Leo, of course, would get along with animals but not so much people because, well, he grew in the wilderness.
There really isn’t much to say about this manga other than it’s cute and it’s funny. There’s some really good moments between Yuiko and Leo, especially when they learn something from each other and that helps them grow as characters. I believe only one person outside of those two change majorly but he’s not even supposed to be a major character.
One of the side characters I really do like, though, is the boss character. He looks like your typical juvenile delinquent character but, really, he’s a big ol’ softy whose literal only crime is not following school uniform regulations.
There’s one story where there’s an almost rabid dog on the loose and Yuiko tries to tame it. This goes really wrong really quickly and it took Leo to save her. As luck would have it, Yuiko’s father is a veterinarian so they were able to take care of the dog once Leo lets him know who’s boss. Shortly after that, the boss adopts him. It’s a really cute image actually….
If anything, the characters themselves are a lot stronger than the plot. The plot is typical at best, and barely important at its worst. I can understand the need to try to push these characters forward but none of them really change. They change but it’s in a direction someone could predict.
That’s not really a bad thing though. If I were to describe this manga, it’d be a light snack after a heavy meal. It’s one of those that it’s not as dramatic as those other shoujos but it’s light enough to turn your brain off and just enjoy something simple. It’s perfect after reading a drama-heavy series and to get back into a better mood. It’s cute, and it’s fluffy. That’s all it could be.
Now on to the short stories.
The first short story, “Fly”, is in the first volume. It’s about a girl who wants to become a pilot but her family is trying to force her to be a doctor. There’s a guy that she hangs out with (although, of course, they’re probably going to get together eventually) who wants to be a nurse. He’s trying to tell her to go for her dream but she’s being stubborn about it. It’s really cute and simple about following your dreams. It’s a little more dramatic than Beast Master but it’s still easily digestible. It’s really cute but I’m not quite sure why people don’t like it that much.
The second short story, “Cactus Summer Surprise”, takes a surprisingly dark turn. I mean, of course it’s a shoujo story still that involves two high school students who refuse to deal with and acknowledge their feelings for each other. The main story, though, is really sad and tragic. A doctor had passed away but because she was working so hard, she didn’t get to say goodbye to her daughter. She possesses a cactus to and managed to give it to her friend so she could “transfer bodies” (at this point, I’m just not going to question it because it’s manga – why the hell not?) so she could get some closure for her daughter and herself so she can go into the afterlife.
I really like this one the most, honestly, between the three stories. There’s always some comedy in these stories but even with all the seriousness in this one, it just really struck a chord with me. When the spirit of the doctor takes over the boy, when she meant to go in a woman’s body, she tries to help the situation between those two (meanwhile, the boy’s spirit has been transferred to the cactus).
The payoff is really good and while it’s not completely tied up into a neat little bow, I really liked how it did end — they didn’t fully admit to it but it’s progress. That’s what life is, though. Progress. I only wished this short story was on its own so I can just pick it up and put it back whenever I want. But don’t get me wrong! I do like “Beast Master”! I do! Just not as much as that short story.