REVIEW: ‘Disney Manga: Beauty and the Beast’ – Belle’s Tale & The Beast’s Tale

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Disney Manga: Beauty & the Beast
Publisher TOKYOPOP’s adaptation of Beauty and the Beast is a bit different than their standard Disney Manga fare. The story is broken up into two companion volumes, telling the same events, but one from Belle’s point of view (the more commonly known narrative) and a new version from the Beast’s perspective. Disney Manga: Beauty and the Beast is an adaptation by Mallory Reaves, and art by Studio Dice, the collaborative effort between many artists tries to revive the classic tale and inject some shojo manga style to entice new and old readers alike.

Belle’s Tale draws the most from the film’s events, a bookworm who feels out of place in her village volunteers to take her father’s place when a monstrous beast captures him. Over time, she encounters the many enchanted people/objects in the castle, and grows fond of the Beast, wanting to break them of their curse. Attempting to cover all the events of the movie in one volume can at times lead to more emotional moments feeling rushed, and some of the dialogue a tad stiff. In fact, the two volumes shine the most when they deviate from the Disney film’s plot. There is a new “mini-adventure” that Belle and Beast embark on to discover more about Belle’s mother. The story even attempts to give Belle more agency by making her want to make an active difference in society through education.

The Beast’s Tale stands out for these same reasons. It hits the key plot beats of the movie, and Belle’s tale, but it attempts to give a more intimate look at the Beast’s emotions and backstory. Once again, these often feel rushed, but providing the Beast with a familial backstory to foil Belle’s was a smart storytelling decision to give audiences more empathy for a character that often lashes out. There is a flashback towards the end where we see a young Beast (as a prince) and his mother that is truly heartbreaking. The story once again tries to inject a more updated perspective by having the Beast’s internal monologue focus on trying to eventually hold himself accountable for his actions. Its mileage varies for emotional impact, but due to the single volume constraints of the story words are not minced when conveying a moral.

Lastly, the art is often hit or miss. The background detailing, as well as the work done on the Beast definitely add in the sense of Disney magic to the story. Unfortunately, faces tend to fall a little flat, and the attempts to draw Belle in a shojo style seemed to hold less detail than the rest of the art when we are given up close panels of her expressions. The rest of the palace inhabitants are relatively detailed and lively, although I personally found Mrs. Potts a bit terrifying. However, both volumes include an afterword that breaks down the artistic process for the story. The concept art shown is stunning and interesting to read about.

Overall, Disney Manga: Beauty and the Beast – Belle’s Tale and The Beast’s Tale are an intriguing venture compared to many straightforward adaptations. Attempts to add a few more progressive motivations to Belle and the Beast are hindered only by the single volume constraint and flat art when it comes to facial expressions. The story is familiar, but different enough that any hardcore Disney fan, or younger reader, would likely enjoy picking it up.

Disney Manga: Beauty and the Beast – Belle’s Tale and The Beast’s Tale are out now from booksellers everywhere.


Disney Manga: Beauty and the Beast – Belle’s Tale and The Beast’s Tale
2.5

TL;DR

Disney Manga: Beauty and the Beast – Belle’s Tale and The Beast’s Tale are an intriguing venture compared to many straightforward adaptations. Attempts to add a few more progressive motivations to Belle and the Beast are hindered only by the single volume constraint and flat art when it comes to facial expressions. The story is familiar, but different enough that any hardcore Disney fan, or younger reader, would likely enjoy picking it up.