Beast Master Volume 1

Beast Master Volume 1

Yuiko loves animals, but they don’t respond well to her smothering affection. Leo is a freaky-looking feral exchange student with wild black-rimmed eyes. He has violent berserker rages, but she notices how well animals respond to him, making her jealous of his affinity with them.

Together, they’re the perfect couple, even if their story is somewhat like the Tiny Toons’ Elmyra meeting a cross between Tarzan and Wolverine. Her experience being hurt by her pets makes her unafraid of him, and he responds to her as the only person who’s nice to him. She’s teaching him to be “civilized”, even if it means throwing herself in front of him to prevent him attacking someone else. Her lack of fear sometimes approaches an insane lack of self-protection, but she does seem to recognize the tendency and learn from it.

Beast Master Volume 1

Leo blanks out while he’s attacking those who threaten him or her, and the results can be traumatic and bloody. To cope, she becomes a cross between his keeper and his mother. Everyone treats him as a wild animal and her as his tamer, but there are hints that she’s beginning to think of him as something more than a pet, finding him “kind of cute” and noticing his manly scent.

The supporting cast, as created by by Kyousuke Motomi, includes Leo’s guardian, an ex-mercenary, and some kind of neighborhood “boss”/gangster. The chapters can be repetitive, with Leo saving Yuiko from a wild dog or a rapist or a knife-wielding jealous schoolgirl, people expressing concern over his violent reaction, and her having faith in him. If this story is supposed to be a valid analogy for a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, amped up for comics, then it scares me. But as a goofy exaggerated tale, I found it kind of funny in short doses. The series is only two volumes. (The publisher provided a review copy.)

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