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The Spring 2024 Manga Guide
A Beast's Descent Into Love

What's It About? 


After sneaking into a black-market auction, the thief Kalim accidentally steals one of the most highly-priced goods: a beautiful demi-human with beast ears and a tail named Asena. Now, Kalim has to take responsibility and shelter Asena in his home for one month until the ship that can take him back to his homeland arrives. Asena, who despises humans for the way they've subjugated demi-humans, treats Kalim coldly at first, but then something Kalim never could've expected happens: Asena goes into heat!

A Beast's Descent Into Love is a manga by Rui Asajima. Dylan Jekels provided the English translation. This volume was retouched and lettered by Vibrraant Publishing Studio. Published under Tokyopop's LoveLove imprint (April 16, 2024.)

Content warning: This book contains mature themes and explicit sexual content, including situations involving dubious consent. It is not intended for anyone under 18 years of age.

Is It Worth Reading?



A Beast's Descent Into Love is a story that goes exactly how you think it does. A young beast man slave gets inadvertently saved by a young man with little direction in his life. By learning about his culture and spending time together, the two end up falling in love and joining together as one. It all sounds nice when you put it on paper, and it is. It's a very nice story, but that's the most I can say about it.

The interactions between our two leads do feel genuine, but it's only until the story starts introducing some more cultural ideas tied into its world-building that I started to genuinely care about what was going on. The lore about the demi-humans is hands-down the most interesting thing about the story. I wish they expanded on those elements a bit more, maybe introducing other demi-humans meant to show different parts of their culture. In the story, demi-humans are specifically designed and created but can also evolve to a point where they have their own culture. They have a different way of approaching things like names and sex compared to other people. Seeing that culture discussed and even respected by our other male lead is when I think the story is at its best.

Not all the cultural stuff is interesting or even well thought out. There are some rather dated ideas here that didn't need to be present, like the idea of being betrothed to a child, but none of that seems particularly glorified. If anything, there is a nice discussion here about how much you give into tradition and societal norms versus how much you give into your desire to be with the one that you love. Overall, it is a rather sweet story that does come full circle by the end. While it might not stick with me longer than I would like it to, I don't think you'll be necessarily disappointed giving this one a chance.


Christopher Farris

Like many people, I am not immune to cute boys with animal ears. That would also seem to go for Kalim, the wholly human lead of A Beast's Descent Into Love since he's immediately taken with Asena, the dog-boy he rescues. No sooner can you start speculating on some imported Omegaverse elements before the duo is compelled to get down and do it doggy-style. Following that climax, the book dives into the world-building and cultural aspects of Asena's demi-human race. It can all get rather info-dumpy, but given how much of it is essential to the saucy appeal here, that might be more acceptable for some readers than is typical.

Beast's Descent ought to hope that all the setup in service of its sexuality works for that audience because it isn't terribly interesting otherwise, at least not to me. There's the potential to dig into some hot hypotheticals here—exploring the deserved autonomy of a race initially created for subservience. Asena's struggles against his instincts make for some engaging intensity early on. However, once Kalim recovers from being tempted and turned on by the guy, he backs off, and it shifts almost entirely into the pair hanging around and having casual conversations about culture. This neuters the chemistry they ought to have naturally, and leaves every part of the book where they aren't banging feeling like a holding pattern.

The overall style is appreciably different from what I expect from fantasy frolickings like this, anyway. It's sporting an Arabian-inspired aesthetic, and the backgrounds can be decently lavish when Rui Asajima is drawing them. Those come and go, though, alongside them seemingly only wanting to draw a limited number of characters (there's a notable scene with a conversation with a shopkeeper where they're noticeably entirely off-panel the whole time). Still, they can indeed draw a seriously hot animal-eared boy. As a saucy single-volume distraction, Beast's Descent might work for some members of its target audience, but it's very much one to go into with measured, simple expectations.


Lauren Orsini

I hate to be a buzzkill when it comes to porn. A lot of explicit material can be considered problematic while being sexy at the same time. But I would be remiss not to discuss A Beast's Descent Into Love through a postcolonial lens. Though both enslavement and animal features are common tropes in the omegaverse, their combined portrayal here may spoil the mood for some readers.

Kalim is a thief with a heart of gold, as if there is any other kind in this sort of story. When he sees a demi-human named Asena in chains up for auction, he rescues him before he realizes what he's doing. Though Kalim is kind, he doesn't necessarily see Asena as a person and is shocked that Asena can talk. Asena, for his part, falls squarely into the Noble Savage trope. Unlike the "no ears," as he refers to his human enslavers, Asena and his tribe live a life attuned to the land. However, all of Asena's prideful words disappear when he suddenly goes into heat. According to the rules of the story, demi-humans are in thrall to their instincts when they go into heat, and the pheromones they release make that contagious to anyone around them when it happens. That means Asena and Kalim both have sex against their will, making this a doubly non-consensual encounter.

After that, it's no surprise that Asena and Kalim aren't too happy with one another, to put it mildly. Still, that initial anger gives way to curiosity for one another's contrasting ways of life. Their blossoming love story occurs in an Arabian Nights-style desert fantasy world, but it never ceases to remind us of Asena's subjugated state without giving demi-human oppression the examination it merits. The story alternates between expanding on Asena's indigenous lifestyle and his subhuman "puppyish" mannerisms, both Othering and infantilizing him. Later, Kalim must rescue him after Asena is drugged with opium; it's just too on the nose for me.

Take away these uncomfortable parallels to real historical events, and what we have here is a cute Omegaverse love story between an honorable alpha and an omega in distress, sweetly learning to trust one another despite their differences. For some readers, it will be just that. However, I couldn't separate Asena and Kalim's romance from the unsettling circumstances that led up to it long enough to appreciate it.

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