Beauty is the Beast

 BITL   (Viz, 2005-2006)

™ and © 2002 Tomo Matsumoto
Black and white graphic novel series, read right to left.

Eimi’s parents have to relocate for work, so she’s forced to live in the dorms of prestigious Seikei Academy, where her new roommate gives her the “secret initiation” mission of sneaking into the boys’ dormitory (even though discovery could mean expulsion). But she’s saved by the tall, dark stranger Wanibuchi, the beautiful beast of the title.

Wanibuchi is feared as a tough guy by all but, instead, is a returnee, someone who’s spent much of life outside Japan (in his case, Mexico). The sweetly innocent Eimi is continuously thrown into his orbit and finds she likes Wanibuchi, though it’s clear it’ll take a couple more volumes before he considers her anything more than a pest.

It’s nicely drawn and naturalistic when it comes to sexual matters, Eimi’s roommate being alarmingly matter-of-fact about her preferences. I’d always wondered whether Japanese high-school dorm life was just an invention of manga, but in notes to the readers the author says she lived in one herself, which is good enough for me.

— S. A. Bennett

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#1

  10/1/2005
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#2

  1/1/2006
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#3

  5/1/2006
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#4

  8/1/2006
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#5

  11/1/2006
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