It’s a tale as old as time~ Wait, no really it is! And it is not just a Disney tale either. The beauty and the beast themes have long been present in anime and indeed all media. Disney may own the title that this trope has taken on, but they don’t own the metaphor it represents. You know what they say, all men are beasts and they crave young flesh. Wait, maybe that’s the metaphor for vampires…
Hm, I guess the obvious metaphor in the beauty and the beast romance anime trope is that even the ugliest, scariest monsters can have a little light on the inside and you shouldn’t judge them by how they look.
Ah, it’s the same old story. Normal high school girl falls through a well and meets a demon pinned to a tree. However, he is not just any demon, he is a half-demon who is feared by humans and shunned by pure-blooded demons. It is this social neglect that has turned him into a real beast of a man, but throughout the series, you watch his rehabilitation through the affection of that same normal high school girl.
At a glance at the synopsis and maybe the front covers of the series, you would think Chrono Crusade is a story much the same as Inuyasha mentioned above. You know, you have a violent grumpy, sassy little demon and some innocent nun that have to keep him in line. However, in this series, you soon learn that they do a reverse of the role. While shunned, Chrono is actually a relatively gentle soul. Alternatively, his blonde nun companion is as hot-headed as they come. It is this very role reversal that makes this series as fun as it is.
The story between Kyo and Tohru plays out very much like a beauty and the beast tale. Kyo has been told by his entire family that his zodiac is a monster. In cat form, he firmly believes he is a monster. It is the same in his human form, and even more so in his actual monster form. Yet, Tohru is kind and even when he is transformed remains undeterred.
My Love Story
So often anime is about literal monsters, but we all know there are no literal monsters, just people. This is a romance story about people. You have Takeo, a literal giant of a man with a very…hard to love face. Men fear and respect him, but girls are, as you’d expect, scared off. However, after saving a cute girl on the train, he finds that she has romantic affection to him. The rest of the series is gags, misunderstandings, and more awkwardness than my cringe muscles can handle.
Not unlike the aforementioned Inuyasha, normal girl Nanami accidentally becomes the land god of a shrine where the grumpy, ruthless fox demon Tomoe is assigned as her familiar. At first they don’t get along and they fight frequently, but you know how these things go. Affection forms, hearts soften, and suddenly fox demon is a mewling kitten of a man.
Light and Misa, a beauty and the beast story? Not so much. The beauty and the beast themes in this series surround solely Misa and the Shinigami that are drawn to her. It starts with Gelus, a small and ugly shinigami who fell in love with her from afar. He was in such love, he sacrificed his life to save her without her even knowing. Next came Rem, who had a similar same-sex dynamic, but Misa, the beauty ends up not even caring about her loyal beast’s downfall.
Toradora is a bit more of a complicated entry into this trope. Taiga is beautiful, but with a bad attitude. Ryuuji is mean-looking, but gentle in nature. In their own ways, they are both beauty and both beast. Together they make one good person, and together they make one bad person. It makes quite the unique story in and of itself, but primarily, it makes for a wonderful romance as they come to understand each other.
Ancient Magus’ Bride
Elias looks like a demon and his fellow mages treat him as though he is one. While his very existence is seen as cursed, he soon finds companionship in the young and beautiful Chise who cares about nothing, not even her own life. In its way, the gentle nature of Elias is a form of rehabilitation for her, while Chise provides him some company. Through the series you see that Elias isn’t really the monster that he looks like.
In this series, the beauty and the beast are not so much two characters, but rather the same one. Chise is small, beautiful, and seemingly frail. Yet she is a weapon of war – both beauty and beast. Shuuji is just there as her love interest. He is, by all rights, a normal dude. Of course, this show doesn’t have a happy ending unlike many in the trope.
My Little Monster
It’s got “monster” right there in the title, so you can kind of expect some things. However, there are no demons or beasties here. This is another show where the beauty and the beast are just people. Shizuku, though cold and somewhat plain, is considered the beauty in this series and Haru, the wildly violent beast of a man that he is, forms a near immediate attachment. Unfortunately, while the characters fit the trope, the series (the anime series, at least) spends its time more so exploring that difference between like and love.
Know any more good beauty and the beast anime series? Then tell us in the comments section below.