This review will contain spoilers for the manga and anime series Beast's Storm. While the manga may vary slightly from all other forms of media, it may have similar story elements and could be considered spoilers.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to self-loathing, prejudice, and dubious consent (dubcon), as it appears in the manga.
Dr. Akira Miyaji is a doctor, but not just any doctor. He specializes in Bestia care, a new form of humanity where people are born with cat ears and tails and go through cyclic mating periods known as heats. One especially unique variation in these humans, though, is that all genders can carry children, which has caused an explosion in their population numbers. Dr. Miyaji is actually a Bestia himself, but he was born to two earless parents. It isn't unheard of, but because of his background, he often hates himself for being Bestia and being at the whim of his instincts and biology.
On the other end of the spectrum, one of the directors of the hospital where Dr. Miyaji works is Sougo Kijima. Unlike Dr. Miyaji, Sougo was born and raised among Bestia and had no problems letting his instincts guide him. Unfortunately for Dr. Miyaji, Sougo's instincts are leading him straight to him. Despite all of Dr. Miyaji's best efforts, he can't help but be drawn to Sougo in kind. Their relationship quickly evolves from a doctor-patient relationship into a physical one. Does Dr. Miyaji like Sougo simply because his instincts tell him to, or are these feelings the real deal?
This is the first in an ongoing series. Since they are each their own self-contained stories, I'll review them separately. To start with, let's go over the artwork. This is gorgeous. I love it so much. Dr. Miyaji, in particular, is stunning. When he is in the throes of passion with Sougo, it doesn't get much prettier than that. Sougo, unfortunately, looks a bit boxy in the beginning, but he does soften up and looks much better as time goes on. The real winner here is definitely Dr. Miyaji, though. He grew on the pretty tree and hit every single branch on the way down. Doesn't get much better than that.
Story-wise, this is a bit superficial, especially from Sougo's end. We aren't given very much in the way of a backstory for him, which is unfortunate, and we only glance over Dr. Miyaji's. It's clear from what tidbits we get regarding Sougo that he hails from a standard Bestia family that expects him to mate with as many Bestia as possible to further the bloodline, especially with as many suitors as he seems to have. On the flip side, Dr. Miyaji comes from an earless background that appears to have instilled in him this fear or hatred of his Bestia side. They, thankfully, weren't cruel to him, but they certainly didn't make him feel like it was ok to be Bestia. While we don't go into much detail about either of their backgrounds, I think we were piecemealed just enough for the story to really take shape and for their motivations to be made clear, and I think that's all that really matters.
If you didn't see the tag at the top, it is worth noting that this is a mpreg story. It doesn't mention anything until the very end, so if you're not into that, you can get through almost the entire story without it happening (though it is mentioned numerous times). However, this is a good one if you are like me and you are a fan of mpreg. I find that a lot of the time, if male pregnancy is possible, it is often avoided or not shown in full. In this case, the main story ends with Dr. Miyaji getting pregnant, but the after story shows their child, which I live for. I love when mpreg stories actually follow through and show the family life and child-rearing post-pregnancy. It truly feels complete, then.
That said, I think the bonus stories at the very end are well-worth reading the entirety of this story. Plus, by this point, I've read all of the available continuations in English, and they definitely make it worth reading this work, but we'll talk about them later. I do have to point out that there is some dubious consent in this. It's unclear how consenting the doctor is when he goes into heat or when Sougo gets him to have sex with him. I didn't personally find it offensive, but I did want to point it out to anyone who might be troubled by this content.
This certainly isn't the most well-crafted or in-depth story in the world, but it's pretty, sexy, and gives you just enough backstory to make a cohesive narrative. I can't really ask for more when it comes to a single-volume work like this. This is a lovely story of a Bestia doctor finally learning to accept himself and learn to love another Bestia. It's a wonderful story that I think you'd be disappointed to miss out on.
Have you read Beast's Storm? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!