Monster and the Beast Volume 3
This is around when a manga series has to find something beyond the original concept with which to continue. Monster and the Beast volume 3 by Renji accomplishes this by separating the two leads and promising more information to come about one’s past.
At the end of volume 2, Liam (the man on the run) has gotten on a ship to another continent, accidentally leaving Caro (the shy demon who has feelings for Liam) behind. That’s quite the cliffhanger.
Liam occupies himself by seducing a random fellow traveler, as he always has done before, but he can’t help worrying about Caro. Caro is determined to follow Liam, in spite of the rather large disadvantage of being a giant monster. They’re both having feelings they don’t have experience with, and contemplating deepening their connection because of it.
Liam is overly accomplished when it comes to physical love, and he teases Caro. Caro is the equivalent of the shy virgin, overwhelmed by the idea of sex and convinced he’s too ugly for anyone to care about. They’re definitely an odd couple, but it’s all the more affecting to see them find and encourage and fall for each other because of it.
Then there are the practical matters that might get in the way of their consummation, given Caro’s size. This volume earns its M rating by getting the characters much closer together, with the usual Japanese approach of voids instead of genitals, although it’s clear what we’re supposed to see.
The last third of the book provides more hints about Liam’s checkered past by showing us the history and motivations of one of the mean chasing him. I missed reading more of Liam and Caro, but for the series to avoid repetition, it’s got to go further into this background.
In spite of the book’s firm placement in the sex-with-a-monster genre, there’s a sweetness to it in the two leads’ acceptance of each other. That’s why I’ll keep reading. (Well, that, and my fondness for an older lead in a deconstructed suit.)