Beauty and the Feast Volume 2 Manga Review

Beauty and the Feast Volume 2 Manga Review

Beauty and the Feast Volume 2

The widow continues treating the high school baseball player to hearty meals, and their bond continues to grow as a result.

Beauty and the Feast volume 2 follows the same basic path as volume 1 where Shuko makes food for her much younger neighbor, Shohei. Chapters are a little more connected since time is slowing down as baseball season starts, but this is still a low tension, drop-in-drop-out type of manga.

Perhaps the biggest change is that the two main characters are becoming more comfortable with each other. There’s a bonus chapter here that emphasizes how Shuko and Shohei have overcome that initial awkwardness of eating with a stranger. And their time together is extending beyond having a permanent dinner date, with Shuko going next door to beg Shohei to get rid of a cockroach and him inviting her to watch him play at a tournament. That all may be expected if Beauty and the Beast is to turn into a romance, but for me, the biggest surprise was how talkative Shohei seemed to be here. Shuko notes he is more chatty when the conversation turns to baseball, but in general, he seems more open here than in volume 1.

Again, that’s in part because he is, at the very least, starting to crush on Shuko. When the manga shifts to his perspective, we see him wanting to help Shuko more and trying to avoid stirring up emotional sore spots for her. But as you can likely glean from the cover, his developing feelings is easy to understand because of the way Shuko acts around Shohei and/or how she is presented to readers by the author. For instance, she decides to dress up like a stereotypical teacher/tutor to help Shohei with his English, but she doesn’t realize just how tight her top from her college days is now. That example adds to the comedy, but some of the more sensual bits feel forced. Like, when she’s running a fever, we get a panel of Shuko with her shirt and pants rolled up a bit so she can wipe her stomach.

Rui is also around, and she is less annoying this time around. I could be biased since she is the root of one of the funniest bits where her baseball otaku self completely overrides her jealous childhood friend schtick. Shohei and Ritsuko can only grimace as Shuko is overwhelmed by Rui’s fervor. In the bonus 4-koma (most of which aren’t very funny), Rui is still obsessed with her chest size, and in the future I’d rather see her like she is in the tournament scene (easily distracted love rival) rather than continue her attacks on Shohei/Shuko like in volume 1.

Speaking of volume 1, the British-ness in the translation seems to have dissipated, which is good. There’s a footnote (maybe two), but a couple more would have been nice. I mean, I can figure out from context clues that Haruka Ayase must be an older celebrity, but how old is she for Shohei’s teammates to think he has a “dirty mind”?

Volume 2 sets up the formal introduction of Shohei’s little sister, and from the little bit of her we get here, she looks like another Yamato for Shuko to dote on with the added bonus of bossing her big brother around. I doubt she will shake up the dynamic of Beauty and the Feast that much, which isn’t a bad thing. Shuko continues to escape the fog of grief, and Shohei is perhaps discovering a reason to truly enjoy the sport he plays. Combined with the eternal battle of Shuko vs Shohei’s black hole of a stomach, that’s enough to recommend this volume.

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