• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

The Spring 2020 Manga Guide
I'm a Behemoth, an S-ranked Monster, but Mistaken for a Cat, I Live as an Elf Girl's Pet

What's It About? 

He was a proud and powerful knight until it all ended at the tip of an assassin's blade. Now he's…an orange tabby kitten named Tama? Well, not quite – he's actually a baby behemoth, an S-ranked monster, but when busty elf adventurer Aria finds him wounded in the dungeon, she mistakes him for an elemental cat kitten and takes him in as her pet. Touched, Tama declares to himself that he will be Aria's knight protector for the rest of her life…and if he gets to ride around on her boobs? So much the better.

I'm a Behemoth, an S-Ranked Monster, but Mistaken for a Cat, I Live as an Elf Girl's Pet is based on the light novel by Nozomi Ginyoku, which will be released later this year by YenOn. The manga is drawn by Tarō Shinonome and was released by Yen Press in April both in print ($13) and digitally ($6.99).

Is It Worth Reading?

Rebecca Silverman


If ever there was an author who could stand to be less direct and descriptive in his titling practices, it would be the author of this light novel-turned-manga. When you have multiple parenthetical clauses in your title, it may be time to scale things back. Alas, this isn't the only issue at play here – I'm a Behemoth, an S-Ranked Monster, but Mistaken for a Cat, I Live as an Elf Girl's Pet (whew!) is also an unappealing combination of bog standard fantasy and needless sexuality, with a dollop of unnecessary leering thrown in for good measure. While those last two are essentially two halves of a whole, they do explore different areas of distasteful treatment of Aria, the eponymous elf girl: the latter is how all of the men in town basically see her as a pair of large breasts propelled by the person they happen to be attached to, while the former details Aria's sexual attraction to her kitten.

Yes, you read that right – Aria would really, really like to have a physical relationship with Tama, the kitten she saved in the local dungeon. She gets excited when she decides that his ability to use magic means that he's a young elemental cat, an in-world creature that sounds like it's the size of a lion and has indiscriminate mating habits, because that means that he can be “her first.” Later she fondles Tama's testicles, and in the included short prose story, she contemplates using him as a sponge to clean her vulva in the bath, because she likes the feel of his fur. To say that this is a fair bit farther than we typically see mainstream manga go is perhaps an understatement, and it somehow feels like it crosses a line simply because in relatively comparable titles like Interspecies Reviewers there's more of an element of consent and it's right there in the product description. Here it seems to be more of a mechanism to keep male human/elf hands off of Aria while still allowing for plenty of male gaze(s). Tama spends most of his time marveling over how buxom Aria is and how her breasts don't get in her way; he seems to think that they have some sort of magical mechanism for moving so that she can work around them. Honestly it feels like the world of the Sexiled light novels had the heroine never gotten fed up.

From a fantasy standpoint, this feels like a non-isekai version of almost any story involving game stats and skills as a shortcut to letting readers know how powerful the characters are. Even the “monster looks like a fluffy baby animal” angle isn't all that unique, as we can point directly to Woof Woof Story, while the “suddenly a baby monster in a dungeon” bit is the same basic starting point for So I'm a Spider, So What?. That it isn't isekai is a nice difference – Tama was a human knight in the very same world he's now a kitten in – but it isn't enough of a difference to set this apart. Even if more explicit stories are your preference, I can't really recommend this one – there are some major issues with how Aria's body is put together and the art doesn't have a great sense of motion or be all that great at depicting a kitten, both of which decrease any appeal it might have had.

Faye Hopper


So… I'm a Behemoth is, in a lot of ways, a standard reincarnated-in-another-world-or-circumstance light novel adaptation. It has a video game-style focus on questing and advancement, the new form the main character takes is absurdly powerful, and its world-building is high fantasy pastiche with an emphasis on power levels and stats. The difference? It's gross.

It's really, really gross.

And not in the fun body horror fashion. More in the ‘why would you ever frame this as titillating or acceptable’ way. Because the titular Elf-Girl, Aria, isn't just your male-gaze-y vector of fanservice with inhuman proportions. No, she also has the hots for her cat. I'm not joking. At a certain point, the head of the local hero's guild (who is also a terrible stereotype of a queer person, as if we weren't reckoning with enough) warns that her magic cat can grow to huge sizes and has a very large libido. Her reaction? She says it's just what she wants. When I get over the fact this is a book that has bestiality as a core hook, I'm struck by how this sexual power fantasy is so low, so base and craven that it is, somehow, for as many of these things as I've read, novel. Yes, the human inside the animal body still having the hots for humanoid girls is not exclusive to this book (I remember it being a thing in the polar bear manga too), but that extra wrinkle of insidious wish-fulfillment where the Elf Girl is so smitten by the abilities and cuteness of a housecat that she says things like ‘I want you to be my first’ generates an all new kind of putridness.

What cements I'm a Behemoth's misogyny, however, is the way others in the world react to Aria. People are constantly expressing jealousy toward the cat because he can nuzzle inside her breasts. People call him ‘lucky’ and leer over Aria when she is unaware. I'm a Behemoth depicts a world where women's bodies constantly being scrutinized and sexualized isn't a terrible symptom of stifling patriarchy, but something the reader is meant to identify with. We are supposed to wish we were the cat, too. This is I'm a Behemoth's rotten core. I want to spit it out.

I'm a Behemoth's mix of bog-standard isekai fantasy and utterly perverse fanservice appears to have been specially engineered out of everything I dislike. It's generic fantasy pap without narrative beyond the hero getting everything he (because it is always he) wants, and its core sexualized conceit is so disgusting I can barely believe it's real. While I will certainly never forget it, I, at the deepest roots of my being, wish it did not exist.

discuss this in the forum (56 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

back to The Spring 2020 Manga Guide
Feature homepage / archives