This review will contain spoilers for the manga and anime series Enter the Beast. 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 sex work, sex workers, rape, sexism, stalking, obsession, slut-shaming, strained parent-child relationships, impotence, kink-shaming, and BDSM, as it appears in the manga.
Hajime Sato is an office worker. Work has been unbearable with neverending overtime. His only comfort in this trying time is the prospect of seeing his favorite porn actress Chihiro when he gets the chance to go home. He's already thinking about her newest release while on the train heading back home for the first time in a long time, but then he hears her. Looking around on the train, he finds there is only one other person, and he has headphones in. But the headphones are doing nothing to deafen the sound of porn coming from the stranger's phone.
Hajime is beyond embarrassed for the strange man, watching porn in the middle of the day, but he's even more embarrassed for himself. No matter how hard he tries to hold back, he can't help getting a boner hearing his beloved Chihiro's voice. The man ends up catching Hajime in this precarious situation. The man takes Hajime off the train at the next stop, taking him into the bathroom to “relieve” themselves while listening to Chihiro.
Hajime's stunned, embarrassed, but relieved all the same. At least it's over, and he'll hopefully never run into this weirdo ever again. Little does Hajime know this stranger, coincidentally named Chihiro, has no intention of leaving Hajime alone.
I typically like Owal's work, but this is one of their older titles, and it shows. Chihiro's ears are wild. They grow and shrink at will and flare off from his head dramatically. His facial features also don't seem all that proportionate to his face, and he's overall one of the more unattractive male leads I've seen. Hajime isn't that much better, but I think his hairstyle and younger-looking face work to his advantage. This isn't a great representation of Owal's art, and I wouldn't recommend this as an introduction to it.
I am a fan of the concept for this. Hajime loves the porn actress Chihiro who shares the name of our male lead Chihiro. As the male-lead-Chihiro falls in love with Hajime, he finds himself in a state of insecurity. When they have sex and Hajime is calling out for Chihiro, is he calling out for the porn actress or him? I love it when a playboy is brought down from his high horse. It really humanizes Chihiro and makes him somewhat likeable as he struggles with these new feelings. It gives Hajime more power in their relationship, though not much more.
It's worth warning that this is a relationship started by and full of sexual assault and essentially rape. I'm actually a fan of noncon and dubcon, but even I have my limits, mainly when the story isn't predicated on something darker (think The Warehouse, for example). It doesn't necessarily disturb or bother me, but it just feels a bit much in this particular work. Especially the initial assault, where this stranger just drags Hajime away into the bathroom and molests him there, only for him to leave behind his card as if Hajime is going to call him of his own volition. It doesn't make much sense to me. Add on that Chihiro is an ass for a majority of this, and it just all doesn't feel like it ever really comes together.
However, the extra story, completely separate from the main story, Please!! A One-Night Stand is a tad more enjoyable. It also features a couple that includes sexual assault. Admittedly, it's completely nonsensical, too, but unlike our main story, the nonsense kind of works. But it's only because both characters are characterized as being eccentric. The main character is desperate to experience BDSM, whether as the sub, preferably, or even as the dom, and ends up taking advantage of his coworker who is about to leave back to his own country by getting him drunk and then tying him up and blindfolding him. It's interesting having the bottom be the one doing the assaulting and confining, as that is usually relegated to the top in manga, so that was refreshing in its own way. Add in that the victim admits to liking what's happened, and it ends rather comedically with two very odd people. I liked it, and I felt like these two had far more chemistry than the main couple despite being hardly a few pages long.
I would not recommend this. The artist has a lot of work licensed in English on Renta! and of the ones I've read thus far, this is probably the worst (for now). The art isn't representative of the quality that Owal is capable of, nor is the story all that great. I'd save your coin for something better. There are newer titles that are better if you want to try out something from Owal, and I encourage you to give those a shot. I'll be reviewing them eventually. Regardless, I'd stay away from this one unless you're desperate.
Have you read Enter the Beast? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!