Art by Taro Shinonome
Original Story by Nozomi Ginyoku
Character Design by Taro Shinonome & Mitsuki Yano
Translated by Caleb DeMarais
Lettering by Barri Shrager
One of the best qualities of fantasy stories is their ability to bend the rules of logic. The options are limitless for ridiculous premises, and that allows for plenty of entertainment. I’m a Behemoth, an S-Ranked Monster, but Mistaken for a Cat, I Live as an Elf Girl’s Pet is such an example, embracing its long title to create an amusing read.
When a knight is suddenly stabbed by a mysterious assassin, he is transformed into a behemoth, a powerful S-class monster. On the brink of death, he is rescued by a young girl named Aria, and now lives as her pet under the name Tama.
The majority of this volume focuses on Tama adjusting to his new life with Aria. As a behemoth, Tama has a massive range of skills at his disposal. This means he can defeat most monsters with little effort, making him a valuable asset to Aria in battle. Despite now being a monster, Tama hasn’t lost his humanity. He still upholds the honor code that he had as a knight, and feels indebted to Aria for her kindness. Tama is even willing to stand up for Aria, threatening those hostile to her when necessary. It makes Tama a likeable protagonist, making the reader’s investment worthwhile.
This volume also gives a fair share of focus to Aria as well. Aria is a solo adventurer who is well known for her beauty. That said, while many folks are friendly around, this is also a source of her discomfort. This is especially true of the male adventurers around Aria, who seem solely focused on flirting with her despite her discomfort. In turn, this seems to have taken a mental toll on Aria. She feels anxious around other people, and her decision to work alone reflects that. Tama is Aria’s only companion, but she seems content with that. While Tama can’t verbally convey his loyalty to Aria, it’s clear that Aria is aware of it and that they have a relationship built on trust.
Shinonome’s art is the most divisive aspect of this manga and with good reason. While the manga is well drawn, it frequently sexualizes Aria and the other female characters. Characters make jokes about Aria’s appearance, and she is often shown in compromising positions. It’s an unfortunate quality of the manga, since it wants us to sympathize with Aria and the harassment she faces, but it also undermines that message in the process. While it doesn’t ruin the story, it will be a detractor for those who aren’t keen on fanservice.
I’m a Behemoth is a fun title that shows promise in its first installment. While the manga’s sexual content will be a major detractor for some readers, the characters and premise are still enjoyable enough to make up for it. I’m curious to see how this little cub handles his new life.