Review: I'm A Behemoth

I'm A Behemoth
Written by Nozomi Ginyoku
Artwork by Taro Shinonome
Character Design by Taro Shinonome & Mitsuki Yano

On April 21st 2020, Yen Press announced on their Twitter the launch of a new series: I'm A Behemoth, An S-Ranked Monster, But Mistaken For A Cat, I Live As An Elf Girl's Pet. A comedic fantasy manga based on the popular light novel series. In this new adventure: “A knight finds himself reincarnated as a behemoth, one of the most powerful monsters in the world, and when he meets a beautiful elf girl, he's ready to fight at her side. Problem is a baby behemoth looks an awful lot like a housecat!”

Our story takes place in the high walled city of Labyrinthos, a city where aqueducts leisurely carry gondolas throughout the city like in Venice, Italy. They’re a famous sightseeing attraction due to the gondolas, but the city’s biggest attraction is the Eponymous Labyrinth.  We learn the reason for the city’s high walls is to trap any monsters from bursting from the labyrinth. While this puts the city on the edge of catastrophe; the benefit comes in the form of: the raw materials collected from monsters, minerals & medicinal herbs found in the labyrinth, and adventurers and merchants traveling from far and wide to purchase and trade for these items.

In the depths of the labyrinth an unknown knight in the midst of his final moments of being killed by an unknown assassin. As he succumbs to the abyss of death, we find that death was not meant for him. Instead he awakens to find that his memories are lost to him other than the moment of his death and that his body has changed. His body has changed from that of a man into an S Class Behemoth. In this world Behemoths are the most dangerous creatures, especially S-Class. While he has become an S-Class Behemoth it is not until he sees his reflection in a pool of water that he is able to get a better grasp of his situation which is that he is at the cub stage, which can best be described as an orange tabby cat. Via an internal HUD, like in video games, that he can see his stats, skills acquired, and rank which is why he able to confirm that he has become an S-Class Behemoth.

While he may be small in stature the skills that he does have at his disposal make him a force to be reckoned with. Skills he has at the start are: Elemental Howl which allow for a mighty howl to be combined with various elements & Skill Absorb which allow him to absorb a random skill from a fallen foe. Once he is finished evaluating his own attributes he formulates a plan: first get used to the body he’s in along with becoming better with his skill set, second is to find the exit as soon as possible. 

From these panels alone we get a sense of the type of person he was when he was human. While he may have been shocked at first he quickly goes into action. He sounds like a knight that has seen combat many times versus a knight who may have never reached the battlefield. As he traverses through the dungeon he encounters mainly low ranked monsters which are not a problem for him. Of course after roaming the dungeon for quite a while he manages to accidentally drop into the den of an S ranked Earth dragon. While our unknown knight is quite powerful, the onslaught of the dragon is too much for him to handle currently and manages to flee with his life in hand. It is after that encounter that he meets the second half of this dynamic duo Aria.

Aria is a super friendly female elf who rents a room at an inn and lives alone. She has very soft spot for animals that when she encounters our unknown knight in his cat form she can’t help but take the little guy in as a pet. While Aria is known around the city as a nice person it is her robust bosom that most people mainly focus on. 

While she is aware that her chest brings way too many boys to the yard, her main focus however is to become a strong adventurer. She is constantly taking on missions in the Labyrinth improve her skills. When we first see Aria in action we learn the third thing she is known for is her incredible speed. Her speed is so incredible that you when our no name knight sees her in action he’s left speechless. Her speed can best be described as lightning being released from a bottle. While her speed is impressive, it almost leads to her defeat if not for our nameless knight stepping in. From this moment our duo is formed and our hero receives a name…Tama.

From here on out the rest of the story follows the team on various trips to the labyrinth all the while Tama is doing his best to conceal the fact that he’s a behemoth by limiting his use of certain skills around Aria. Despite his paws being tied on his power usage things are going well for the duo except for Kussman, a nobleman’s son and a classic narcissist, has been pushing Aria to “join” his guild and doesn’t like hearing the word ‘no’. Aria has made it clear she would only join an all female crew, probably for obvious reasons, but Kussman is determined. Luckily for her the Guild HQ’s receptionist, Ice Queen Anna (real name Arnold Holzweilzenegger), is watching out for her. Anna can best be described as an overly muscular & flamboyant giant bald figure whose makeup game is on point and his outfit leaves very little to the imagination. It’s thanks to Anna that Tama is identified incorrectly as an elemental cat rather than a behemoth, allowing him to hide for now.

Meeting Kussman

Ice Queen Anna

The story is a fun adventure from start to finish. Despite its somewhat dark beginning, it is light in tone with some great action and ecchi moments. The fights with the various monsters range from easy to life & death battles that add to the story. You get to see Aria’s potential and progress as she works to become a strong adventurer like the woman who inspired her. Plus we see just how overpowered Tama really is and how he has to work to keep that fact a secret from everyone. The character Aria is a well written fun character; she isn’t portrayed as bimbo, is a capable warrior on her own, and has the respect of her peers. She is definitely a person you could see yourself being friends with or having as a neighbor. Tama sense of duty may become an annoyance to some seeing as he tries to protect Aria when clearly she is fully capable of taking care of herself. But it is cute to see how much he cares for her and will stand up for her when certain people pay too close attention to her. 

The art is impressive and works well to tell the story. Each character looks and feels unique. You can tell by how much detail a character has whether or not they are important to the story at that point in time. The backgrounds look nice but not as impressive throughout the entire book it just has its moments. The art does show how a battle is either dangerous or just for comedic value; like when Tama encounters Kussman versus when Aria faces goblins. While it is only the first volume, hopefully the backgrounds will become more impressive as our heroes explore more of the labyrinth. 

It is definitely worth picking up the rest of the series and follow their continuing adventures. Volume 2 is available for pre-order and is set to release sometime in late July. Yen Press will also launch the original lightnovel series for I'm a Behemoth, an S-Ranked Monster, but Mistaken for a Cat, I Live as an Elf Girl's Pet under its Yen On literary imprint this summer. I give volume 1 a 5 out 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. It has a great introduction for our main characters, the action wasn’t boring regardless of danger, the comedic moments were nice and not over the top, you were able to get an explanation of how the world works within the first volume. While we get a sense of Tama’s character, so far we don’t any clues as to his true identity. Will it be a story that comes up later in the series or will the story just be about Tama trying to hide the fact that he’s a behemoth?