Cute Beast Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-56970-773-1
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Cute Beast

Cute Beast Vol. #01

By Julie Rosato     January 01, 2008
Release Date: December 31, 2007

Cute Beast Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Amayo Tsuge
Translated by:Issei Shimizu
Adapted by:

What They Say
There’s a tall and mysterious (and scary!) guy named Onizuka in Kisaki’s class. He looks horrifying at first glance, but if you take a good look, he’s actually pretty handsome! And yet he acts like a big lumbering animal all the time. He’s practically a little baby! Now, Kisaki’s starting to feel like he wants to keep Onizuka’s hidden charms to himself… but why?! Don’t miss this love story between Kisaki and his cute beast!

The Review
Can a good title story make up for a forgettable collection?

Packaging continues with the usual specs from this publisher, but finally, we have a cover that matches the pink branding bar along the bottom! Indeed, this is a very pink cover, and everything, right on down to the little heart accents, speaks of cute. This is the original cover art starring Kisaki and Onizuka of the title story, who’re cuddling in some Little Red Riding Hood cosplay (nevermind the Beauty and the Beast tagline on the back cover). Inside, the paper is the usual June quality. The author’s afterword is included and several ads close up the book.

I can’t say I was too impressed by the cover art when I first saw it, but I like the occasional unconventional or experimental art style, and so I was drawn to its roughness. Looking back, I may have just been blinded by the pink. Tsuge has the hang of cute faces, so this book looks fine in the close-ups (of which there are a great many) – but once she pans out to longer body shots things start looking worse. Anatomy and proportion are clearly not strong suits, and the overly large heads are downright distracting in a couple of these stories. Character designs are distinct by the couple, but there are only two faces in this artist’s repertoire – and they’re always used the same way. All that said, composition and layout go a long way to hide these weaknesses, and for those readers who get lost in big eyes, blushing faces and wistful looks, these things will be more than enough to keep them from noticing the more technical failings.

This isn’t the best script I’ve read lately; noticeably incorrect grammar, distracting use of punctuation, and dialog that leaves me scratching my head do not a smooth read make.

SFX continue to be translated using a mix subtitles and overlay. Fonts are used well so that the translations match their Japanese equivalents without overwhelming them, but the decision to use which method at times still puzzles.

Contents:(please note the following may contain spoilers)
This book is a collection of short stories. In the title story, Kisaki has the hots for the scariest guy in class – a real hulking beast of a teenager. Onizuka’s scruffy long hair, thick glasses and beard can’t fool a seasoned manga reader though – these are clearly signs of a secretly hot guy. Well, Kisaki isn’t fooled either, and after a chance encounter in the hall, his suspicions are confirmed. As he learns more about Onizuka’s shy side, the cuter he becomes. Kisaki’s attentions spur Onizuka into cleaning himself up and confessions ensue. There’s also a ridiculously cute bonus chapter for this couple at the end that’s worth sticking around for.

The rest of the book trots out some standard Boys Love fare. Ramune, First Love, and Summer Break fulfills the cousin requirement. Nao and Aki are cousins who were close friends as children but grew apart after Nao’s marriage. The two are reunited one summer after Nao’s wife dies; her death providing them a convenient excuse to confess their feelings for each other. In The Prince’s Commitment, the school’s reigning cutie - who can never hang on to any of his girlfriends - learns a lesson in love from an unlikely source. Well, unlikely as long as you’re not reading BL… which you are. Oh well.

When rising college student Sumio literally stumbles on a drunken upperclassman in the park, he had no idea he’d end up in a relationship with the guy! And with that sentence I’ve pretty much summed up the entire story of Alice Reunite for you. The final story in the collection, I’m Serious Because It’s Love is a creepy teacher-student affair, and the more graphic of the stories here. It was hard to enjoy this one at all; a lecherous teacher who does the deed with his students offers little redeeming value.

This isn’t really one of those collections where you come for one work and stick around for the rest. With quirky, cute characters that will have you playing guess-the-uke, Cute Beast is by far the best story of the bunch. And if you’re short on time, you might as well skip ahead to the bonus chapter and stop there. The other stories are neither fresh nor memorable, playing out BL cliches and relying on the uke-types to angst uselessly while the couple figures itself out. None of the characters are especially endearing, but if you do stick around to read the rest, there are at least some laughs to be had in the asides, or in the fun that comes with the uke being the most aggressive of the pair.

A bit of cuteness can redeem some of this book’s flaws, but at best it’s no more than a fluff read. Additionally, readers looking for graphic content can keep moving, as there are only two intimate scenes in this book and they are quite short.


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