Beast Boyfriend seems promising from the looks of the first three chapters. Pacing seems good, characters are a little more 2D than they generally are in Aikawa Saki's stories and I haven't really seen any annoying insecure shoujo stereotypes surfacing their ugly head, so I'm quite a happy camper here!
Who should read this: Dedicated Aikawa Saki fans (for her art), shoujo romance enthusiasts and anyone looking to spend 20 minutes looking at neat art and relive their own high school insecurities or traumas relating to shyness or being teased.
Who should avoid it: Seriously discerning shoujo readers who have no patience for mediocre leads, bullying bishounen or a story which isn't progressing at a quick pace. Anyone who is sick of high school romedies with skewed love triangles.
Our heroine Himari has recently shifted back to her hometown once her mom got remarried (are you already sensing some of the plot points here?). Enter rougish sexpot of a stepson, Keita who just happens to be a past perpetrator, causing Himari's diffidence around boys because he teased and bullied her a bit four years ago.
Both are OBVIOUSLY classmates/deskmates as well and their day to day interactions, how Himari handles herself around him despite his impish sense of humor and how he decides to win her over make up the majority of the first three chapters. Up until now, no one has had unnecessary doki doki moments simply because one of the characters did something kind out of human decency (which is again, something BIG in Aikawa-verse!). Our male lead Keita seems to be suffering from some inner turmoil when it comes to his relationship with her current "girlfriend" vs his new stepsister so that might make for interesting drama soon.
So far, I haven't seen any reason to drop or throw this manga down in frustration. The build up is actually a wee bit tantalising to be honest and I'm looking forward to reading more. If handled at a proper pace, giving satellite characters a personality, and avoiding unnecessary conflicts and misunderstandings this could turn out to be a pretty decent read!
Art is really good; Keita looks downright smexy with his Man Bangs all over his face and his pierced ears and many many wrist accessories (am I staring at him a bit too much?), no one is sweeping others into their arms every other moment, and expressions especially the chibi kind lend to a fun read.
Characters seem well thought out with a bit of depth. Both leads have a few Jane Austen-esque prejudices but they're also willing to give each other a chance, they have attitude to spare since they're teens and you giggle at how they brood around their respective others or family when they're peeved. I haven't heard anything asinine come out of their speech/thought bubbles yet and some of their intentions are still shrouded so the mystery isn't too bad, makes for an intriguing read.
Overall B+: I see some promise in this title and would recommend it to hardcore shoujo romantics who are in the mood for some well drawn stories. Not much has been scanlated so far though, so you may have to rein in your curiousity which will definitely get the better of you given the direction the story's taking. read more