By Leroy Douresseaux
Dec 31, 2007 - 10:11
High school student Kisaki has been keeping an eye on fellow student Onizuka. At 6’2” and with long hair and a stubbly beard, Onizuka terrifies his fellow classmates. He looks and sometimes acts like a bear, and his mob-sounding name makes it doubly hard to blend into class. When Kisaki stumbles upon Onizuka looking for his classes, Kisaki decides that all Onizuka needs is some cleaning up. But after a shave and a haircut, Kisaki is suddenly smitten with his gentle big bear, and is jealous when other students start noticing the new Onizuka.
Also: Known as “ Prince Half-Ass” for always finding a way to ruin new relationships, Miki would hate to screw up a budding romance with fellow pupil, Sakura, but that’s just what he is doing. Aki is in love with his older cousin Naomi, and when the older man comes to stay with him while his parents are away, Aki struggles with whether he should make his feelings known. Sumo finds fellow college student Takagi drunk in the park, so when the older man starts romancing him, Sumo can’t get past the fact that Takagi seems like such a bum.
THE LOWDOWN: A collection of short stories by Amayo Tsuge, Cute Beast is yaoi manga (boy-boy romance with explicit sex) that seems to be differently flavored that other yaoi. The stories, some which do contain scenes of explicit sex, are gentle, playful, and funny in the way romance does humor. The title story, “Cute Beast,” actually deserves to be a graphic novel. “Ramune, First Love, and Summer Break,” the story of cousins Naomi and Aki is sentimental, sweet, charming, and maybe a little naïve (but also deserves to be a full-length graphic novel).
The secret of these slightly built stories, with their soft plots, is that they use characters that can be sold to the readers in the space of the first few pages. For the most part, it works, and read once, Cute Beast leaves the reader wanting more the future of these budding romances.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: These stories about love off the beaten path are for yaoi fans when they want to try something different.