My Gently Raised Beast is one of the first titles launched by Ize Press, the Yen Press imprint focusing on bringing manhwa to the West.
Blondina is an orphan. After her mother dies, she is raised by a couple who mistreat her, and when they start to talk about selling her, she runs away. The only memento left by her mother is a ring that belonged to Blondina’s father – and in order to have enough money to survive, Blondina decides to pawn it. But when the pawn shop owner recognises the ring, Blondina finds out that her father is alive and he’s the country’s emperor.
Things should go well now for Blondina, shouldn’t they? Well, her father ignores her, and her two half-siblings start to torment her. Her situation is better in terms of quality of life, but the people surrounding her are still terrible. One day she finds an injured cat—Amon—in the castle’s garden. Amon, though, is not a cat but a black leopard of the Divine Leopard Clan who can turn into a human and has immense powers. And so their friendship starts.
However, they need to keep it a secret because Amon’s people hate the royal family, and the royal family is trying to find the human descendant with golden eyes and hair of their god who can control the leopards. The only person who knows of Amon and Blondina’s friendship is Blondina’s personal maid, and it seems that quite a few misunderstandings will happen in the series because of this.
The plot and its characters make you want to delve deep into the story. You start to empathize with Briddie (Blondina’s nickname) and wish her a better life. She’s an 11-year-old who has lived a hard life. However, her behaviour at times is that of someone way older—whether she has to deal with the emperor, other nobles or her half-siblings. Her half-sister, who is supposed to be younger, has a scheming mind too. These types of characters are usually found in the manhwa trope where two half-siblings in their late teens or early twenties aim for the throne. In My Gently Raised Beast the main characters are all children, so their behaviour can be baffling at times. Amon, the black leopard divine beast, is nine years old, and although he knows he’s powerful, he behaves like a child—and like a cat when he has a ball of yarn.
Compared to other manhwa published by Ize Press, this one has a more feel-good vibe—almost kawaii as you can see from the cover. The illustrations use light, pastel colours, and there is less attention to details for the backgrounds. All details focus on the characters per se, although even the character designs are quite simple. The story is appealing and for manga readers, this is the manhwa for you if you like shojo.
The manhwa is divided into chapters, but there are changes of scene within each chapter, sometimes abruptly done. My Gently Raised Beast was first published chapter by chapter on Webtoon, although the chapter division is different from the app in the printed volume. The conclusion of the series is approaching on Webtoon, but it is still quite far for the printed edition to go with only Volume 1 being released so far.
My Gently Raised Beast Volume 1, written by Early Flower, illustrated by Yeoseulki and adapted by Teava, is available in print format from Ize Press with the Webtoon translation. Volume 2 is slated for release in April 2023.
Trigger warning: domestic abuse and bullying