Review: The Wize Wize Beasts of the Wizarding Wizdoms GN
The quick capsule review of this is that it's basically anthropomorphic Boys Love at Hogwarts. That should pretty much tell you all you need to know to see if you're interested, but there's plenty else worth talking about. The core reason I picked this up was because I'm a fan of Nagabe's artwork, especially their beautiful work on the series 'The Girl From The Other Side'. I just adore their style and sense of whimsy.
It's worth mentioning that this is pretty much the first Boys Love manga I've ever read. While I've read plenty of queer manga, I don't ever recall any that were specifically identified as Boys Love, so this is my first real sampling of the genre. It's a very sweet and whimsical first sampling as well, but it's also rife with some of the regular Boys Love tropes that can also be problematic. How so? Welp, let's do a bit of a break down and you'll see if this is worth your time or not.
The first story follows Alan and Eddington, Eddie being a rabbit with a crush on the cat boy Alan. Eddie's so infatuated with Alan that he creates a love potion and commands Alan to kiss him, counting on the potion to wipe Alan's memory. The trick is, Eddie's a twit.
So right off the bat we have some non-consensual action. Alan reveals that he's sorta into Eddie though, so in the end I guess....it's....ok?
Next up we have Florio the wolf and Nicol the goat, and this one focuses on Florio's tendency to fall asleep in class while also gnawing on Nicol.
That one plays out as kind of a sadomasochism kink thing, but it's at least consensual, just in an odd predator/prey kinda direction.
Next up we have the two dragons Fermat and Emil, Fermat being a professor who is tutoring Emil. You can already guess where this one is going.
Considering Fermat is over 600 years old, this one definitely feels a little inappropriate but it still somehow manages to be sweet in its dancing around the obvious.
The story between the lizard Marley and the deer Colette is the first truly innocent story as it focuses on Colette supporting Marley through the winter season as it's especially difficult for cold blooded students.
This one was legit really sweet and refreshing compared to the problems of the previous chapters.
We can't linger on innocence for too long though, as the story of Huey the peacock and his friend Doug the crow takes a more sinister turn.
Huey is straight and can't figure out why none of the girls are interested in him. You would think it's because he's a narcissistic asshole, but it's actually because his best friend Doug loves him and actively spreads false rumors that Huey has a girlfriend and is just a flirt. Doug doesn't think anyone else could love Huey the way he does, so he actively sabotages everything his friend does so he can be dependent on him. So yeah......manipulation and stalking. Neat.
Next up are the bat boys Allhoff and Carreras, and their story is also pretty cute.
The only thing about this chapter is that it focuses on the tendency of bats to share food via regurgitation, and that sorta becomes a center point of their romance. A little odd, but you do you.
It's easy sailing from here as the final two chapters are legit some of the sweetest queer romance stories. The next chapter focuses on the griffin Professor Cromwell, a stuffy old academic who likes to chat with the unicorn Benjamin who is the school physician. Benjamin's a great listener and Cromwell loves to complain, so the two have a charming dynamic and I want an entire book just about them now.
Also, why is supportive listener coffee unicorn not a meme?
The final chapter follows Mauchly the bear and the human Charles as they spend time together on their annual retreat. Humans are a rare sight for the demi-humans, and after they met they became quick friends and could connect over their feelings of being different and people judging them for their physical appearances. I know I've said the word sweet like eleventy bajillion times, but seriously, it's just a super sweet story.
It feels like Nagabe had this concept, developed a whole premise for the world, and then wanted to just go full hog with all of the various Boys Love tropes to get them out of their system. It's a difficult balance with all of the moral gray areas, so depending on your tolerance a chunk of this book won't really fly. For me there's so much quality in the artwork and storytelling to make it fully worthwhile, and the truly standout chapters are like precious gems that aid in overlooking the more cringe inducing elements.
So yeah, not for everyone, but seriously just give me a whole series about the griffin and the unicorn.