Romance Roundtable #7: Beauty and the Beastmaster

Welcome to Romance Roundtable: a feature where all four editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss a Harlequin romance manga. Today we’re discussing Beauty and the Beastmaster by JET (original novel by Carol Devine). Sit back as the LEGALLY VERIFIED Deputy DAs of Harlequin Manga tell you all about some sweet wrestlers, fake Kennedys, and a Very Good Cat.

Ashley: Before anything, let’s summarize the plot

Jenny: i mean, first of all: it’s called BEAUTY AND THE BEASTMASTER
it’s about a deputy DA named Amanda who goes to a wrestling match to investigate rumors of animal cruelty; the wrestler mistakes her for an audience plant and carries her off backstage. they both feel feelings, but he’s a wrestler; she’s a lawyer — “the worlds they live in–were too different!”

CC: this is the story about a very good cat, and some people standing around the cat at times

Jenny: oh yeah strike mine
the story is def about a v good cat

Ashley: She’s also VERY rich
And her dad was an almost-president assassinated by a racist when she was 7

Jenny: oh yes — she is a kennedy

CC: so much is happening in this panel
in this page
in this book, even

Jenny: i kind of dig it
v dynamic

Ashley: Same
He has to think hard, the poor beast man dumb hunk

Jenny: i feel like they did a lot of fun things w backgrounds
not just this but other things

CC: and also drawing the cat
yeah this book gave me my new favorite excuse for everything

Ashley: So many iconic lines

CC: all I need now is to get some muscles to back this claim up lol

Jenny: lol same

CC: a real line

master of negging
my god
real pua

Ashley: I am actually very fond of like Chris Hemsworth turned evil turned good vibe happening

Jenny: oh my god

CC: the lettering in this comic + this line is the most delightfully lazy shit I’ve ever seen
that line in that font
the combo
is just


Ashley: Wow

Jenny: the lettering
is rough

Ashley: I hate to say this because it bothers me when people say it but it was so deeply bad at some points that I enjoyed it

CC: I know I don’t know fonts but I stg this is a default windows font

Rachel: is it the lettering or just the translation??

Jenny: i mean probs both
most of mine are translation things

Rachel: it definitely reminded me of my old days readings shitty scanlations

Ashley: yeah exactly

CC: of all the harlequin manga, this one feels the most like a english language book translated to japanese and then google translated back to english

Ashley: Yes
Heightened by the unimportant cuts in the middle that whizzed us through like, a year in 3 pages or something lol
(I loved the cute artist thing in the back but the part about cutting scenes made me laugh)

CC: also this:

CC: how dare you indeed

Ashley: YESSS

Rachel: I was real nervous about this book though!
from the get-go they were like…. FEMINISM???

Ashley: His mournful face saying that lol


Rachel: I couldn’t tell if the other was like, “feminism is good and she’s just a girl trying to have it all, including this hunky beastmaster”
or if it was more like “she’s a feminist but not when it comes to lovvveeee”

Ashley: it’s so ambiguous!

Jenny: i mean i’m leaning more towards the former
i felt like this book was really trying

Ashley: I mean the ending supports both!!!

CC: I feel like this book doesn’t know so we can choose our own ending
we’re like 3 layers of translation away from authorial intent anyway

Ashley: This writer is smart enough to leave it open which is good romcom imo

Jenny: i think bc she was able to go on to have the successful career she wanted despite having married this guy/gone against her mother’s old-fashioned wishes, it’s supposed to be, like: look at her — having it all

CC: i also think most of the sketchiest lines in here were delivered by the sketchy sideshow guy

Jenny: yeah he was kind of creep

CC: so many gross words!! on these pages!!!

Ashley: He dragged that speech out way too long, shoulda ended on the BEASTMASTER part

Rachel: it really weirded me out everytime somebody talked about how ~~small~~ she was

Jenny: oh do you mean

Jenny: this thing that happened the first time they actually hung out??

CC: why does everybody in a harlequin manga have mood ring eyes
my eyes are just brown brown brown all the time

Ashley: are we the racist that killed her dad or is she?
like she’s talking about the dark hair he gave her and stuff?? and her jaw lol
It gave me heebie jeebies but that could be cultural for me

Jenny: i mean — it read very “the comparisons people draw between me and my father puts a lot of pressure on me, socially/politically”
but also it just kind of took a real turn at the small boobs bit
he had small boobs too?

Ashley: Ohhhhhhhhhh I see

Jenny: but also
is a super white name
which is i guess how they distinguish from the kennedeys
who were at least catholic
so idk what kind of racist

Ashley: I feel like maybe they’ve got some Kardashian to go with the Kennedy

Jenny: ah
but i looked it up and it’s def an english surname from england

Ashley: Weird!!

Jenny: but also idk anything about the kardashians
i hope none of them run for public office though
i know that

Ashley: They’re from a place in Europe

Jenny: it’s all the same
fuck europe
you can quote me on that

Ashley: Lmao

Jenny: “fuck europe”

Featured image: Parks and Recreation

Jenny: yes
re: this roundtable
should we start at the beginning?
is there a particular scene we want to take on?
how’s everyone feeling?

CC: ok so, first: let’s talk about some plot points, namely
I get that he is kind to tasha
I get that he rescues elderly circus animals
but how is bringing your actual tiger to fight with you in the WWE not at the very least animal violence???
something about bringing an endangered animal 2 your fight club seems like a bad idea???

Ashley: lol yeah… ????????????

Rachel: does tasha actually fight??
or does she just look pretty

Jenny: was the cat ever in the ring? i kind of just thought he walked out with her and then she sat on the side

Ashley: I thought so too

Jenny: i mean
she gets in the ring for the wedding
but that seemed abnormal

Ashley: I mean siegfried and Roy were a thing until v recently

CC: I couldn’t even tell bc he beastmasters @ the protag pretty quickly in
so I couldn’t tell how much beastmastering had been done before that point

Ashley: True


Jenny: i 100% thought this was going to be about show magic
and not about wrestling

Ashley: HAHAHA omg
That would have been rad but I loved that it was wrestling tbh

Jenny: i feel like this is better than show magic
i was v happy to see that it was wrestling
but i wanted to point that out
i saw a tiger and assumed show magic

CC: tasha is 100% magic anyway

Jenny: for sure

Ashley: Everyone who works for the Beastmaster (can’t even remember his actual name) is my boyfriend / girlfriend
From Tasha’s cowboy dad to the firecracker assholes

Jenny: brad?

Rachel: oh Bram

Jenny: BRAM

Rachel: like, Abraham, cause apparently that’s how it works???

Jenny: for aBRahAM

Ashley: Lol

CC: also these guys

Jenny: lol
sweet boys

Ashley: HAHAHA yes love my sons

CC: so ok, idk how much we need to go into this for the Folks At Home
but the lawsuit plot was bananas and I’m glad they just kinda scooted it out of the way to give us more shots of this cute tiger
but I guess Amanda sues the beastmaster and her boss presses her not to drop the suit because??
teachers hate wrestling????

Jenny: bc it was good publicity? bc of feminism?
i think
i honestly had a really hard time following that whole plot line
mostly bc i couldn’t figure out the chain of command

Ashley: I don’t get the lawyer stuff at all
Like what does their firm even do?
Animal rights? Sexual harassment?

CC: this doesn’t seem like The Case to build your career on AS A DA

Ashley: Ohhh right the DA lol
But like the DA isn’t “a firm”?

Jenny: this is a firm that she co-owns with julie
but she reports to the DA?
and that’s who that guy was?
her boss?

CC: who even knows

Ashley: Someone needs to get Phoenix wright in here to explain this to me (edited)

Jenny: YES

nobody in this office should be the DA
technically speaking
via wikipedia:
“In the United States, a district attorney (DA) is the chief prosecutor in a local government area, typically a county. The exact name of the office varies by state.”
it’s like, a county position? right??

Jenny: yeah
like not a private position
a state position
and she co-owns a law firm

Rachel: she kept saying she was a “deputy”
which, I don’t understand
is that like, a deputy sheriff??

Ashley: A deputy with a scalpel for a finger

Jenny: but then

it’s the assistant DA
so all her meetings would probably be with government officials bc as a DA SHE IS ALSO A GOVT OFFICIAL

Jenny: and thus would presumably also be a state/public position
she wouldn’t be out here co-owning a law firm

Ashley: but okay like
Why would she want to build her own harassment case under the DA?? I DONT GET IT
wouldn’t they need like different lawyers than her co-workers to run the suit to avoid conflict of interest or something???

CC: wow guys we are a real crack legal team
we’re like the DAs of harlequin manga
we did it

Ashley: Lmaoooo

Jenny: put that in my twitter bio
we nailed it

CC: legally, that’s our new job

Ashley: We’re all just yelling conspiracy theories at each other lol

Jenny: speaking of weird inconsistencies though

CC: wig

Jenny: i know it
but they didn’t explain the wig for like a full ten pages

Ashley: That was very confusing but I LOVEDDDD the wig reveal

CC: i mean it’s such a bad wig tho
directed at the comic, I mean!
it’s the second time we got a real bad wig in a harlequin manga
that we could only tell was a wig bc it was bad

Jenny: like, she takes off the wig and then like four scenes later they explain how she sometimes dresses up like julie (her coworker) to avoid papparazzi

Ashley: Had to save it for the reveal

CC: I just noticed that the artist didn’t draw hair over her eye BC Emotions

Ashley: Lol
That’s good
She shut her eyes so forcefully she accidentally gave herself a bang trim

Jenny: lol

Rachel: that’s such a manga thing to do

Ashley: oh I cackled just now

Jenny: piercing stare pierces right through the bangs, but also how did her hand get there

CC: ….eye….wig????
I didn’t even notice

Ashley: Yeah lol that hand

CC: maybe it’s the assistant standing behind her for dramatic effect

Jenny: if i ever get an assistant
that’s what i want them to do

Ashley: Make them do the thing where you talk but they slip their arms through yours and make hand movements

Jenny: LOL

Ashley: ????

Jenny: oh!
i want to talk about the sexy part

Ashley: Oh geez

Jenny: first: i feel like there wasn’t a whole lot of build up here, but i honestly really like that panel with the lamp

CC: it’s a classy lamp

Jenny: i mean — this was like, the first time they hang out

Ashley: It is a classy lamp, and maybe mildly haunted
But yeah they just like bared their souls to each other then banged

Jenny: like, he stalks her to the fancy mall, takes her to his ranch, she sees that he cares about animals, some assholes try to scare her w fireworks, which triggers her ptsd about her dad’s murder, and then he carries her inside and they bone???

Ashley: I think this is like, a Scorpio / Leo couple

Jenny: LOL
things happen fast in a scorpio/leo couple
explains away all my pacing concerns, tbh

Ashley: Lol yep
We ARE the DAs of harlequin manga after all lol

CC: so there is one big thing we haven’t really talked about yet and it is
That wedding scene
so after this extremely quick??? courtship, the couple sort of breaks up??? or??? not???

Jenny: honestly my brain could not really process that

Rachel: yeah it was real ambiguous, because it seemed like they didn’t get married but then the headline in the paper said they did??

Ashley: Wait wait they actually got married in that scene?

Jenny: i think so

Ashley: It’s wrestling !!

CC: the fights are fake but the love is real

Jenny: LOL

Ashley: Omg I did not put it together like that
Who officiated, Tasha????

CC: I think it’s big sleeze over the intercom

Jenny: don’t you know
all wrestling mc’s are ordained
they’re like ship captains


Ashley: Hahahahaha
Very unclear!!! Lotta loose ends in this one!

CC: so
I know my knowledge of the zodiac is less thorough than like
most millennials
but are scorpios supposed to be real extra
bc going into the ring in a wedding dress with your bf’s tiger as your ringbearer/maid of honor is the most extra thing I can think of

Ashley: They seem distant but are emotionally very intense
So yes lol

Rachel: woah that’s our girl in a nutshell here
and why do we think Bram is a leo?

Ashley: He showboats
Leos love performing and think they’re right all the time

Jenny: but he’s also got that lion hair

Ashley: And lion hair haha
Leos also have good hair!!

CC: but also he has a lion

Jenny: ZEUS
the lion
a good boy

Ashley: Such a sweet Kitty

CC: legally only leos are allowed to own lions as domestic pets
since we are the DAs of harlequin manga we make the rules now

Ashley: TRUE!!! We know this is the law!

Jenny: that’s probably how he was able to COMMUNE with the big cats

Jenny: such that he somehow knows what they’re dreaming about??
like —
did she TELL YOU?
about her dream???
how do you know????

Ashley: She’s very communicative

CC: if he said yes I’d believe it
look I’ve seen Cait Zellers’ video clips of her cats
cats tell you what’s up

Ashley: Omg dude wait
Perfectly timed tweet I just found
(regarding cat pregancy)
(and cat secrets)

Ashley: her face in the last pic I’m dying


Ashley: Okay sorry carry on

Jenny: i mean
that’s the real take-home message of this whole beautiful romance

Ashley: HAHAHA good point

what a rude

Ashley: But also cute
Hiring someone that is capable of drawing an emotive tiger was a VERY GOOD choice for harlequin

Jenny: lots of useful applications for that

Ashley: Contributed to an overall step up in art enjoyment

CC: I want this artist to draw dogs next

Ashley: Very good idea

Rachel: y’all ready for final thoughts?
my final thought is, I want to know more about the sweet boys that Bram wrestles
what is their deal??? what motivates them?
I want to turn this into a sports anime

CC: +1
I’d watch that show

Jenny: YES

Ashley: Absolutely

Jenny: Beefy’s Boys Wrestling Club

CC: my final thought is:

CC: “it’s more likely than you think”

Ashley: LOLLL


Rachel: ahahahahahah

Ashley: my in laws actually live very close to the zoo so that really hit home

CC: it happened to me: tiger in my car

Ashley: That’s how I wanna go out tbh
Anyway my final thoughts are
Where have all the cowboys goooone????
[insert screen cap of hot cowbody lion dad]
Who did not get enough screen time
Or lines

Rachel: oh def, 10000%

Ashley: cowbody was a typo but i think it should be a thing
Jenny, what about you??

Jenny: my final thought
is a screencap i’ve already used, so i’m sorry about that
but a new context
the office of POMElegal — the DAs of Harlequin Manga — is defined by these words

Ashley: Hahaha YESSSSS

Rachel: put it on my tombstone

CC: with exactly this dude describing us
in this tone
wearing this wig

Ashley: Agree
I volunteer to show up at one of y’all’s funeral dressed like that dude

CC: oh bless

Ashley: Lol thank you for indulging that macabre joke

CC: oh anytime
what could be more on brand for us
than literally all the things that had to come together for that joke to happen tho

Join us for our next Romance Roundtable, where we recap THE MAN BEHIND THE SCARS. Get hyped, because this one has A TON OF FOUR STAR REVIEWS so we are bringing you nothing but the best in melodramatic Harlequin Manga recap action.

All images within this article are sourced from Beauty and the Beastmaster by JET (original novel by Carol Devine) unless otherwise noted.

CC Calanthe

CC Calanthe

If you prick your finger and write “Cat Fancy” on your mirror during a harvest moon, CC will appear behind you and make you put human clothes on your pets. CC is Head Crone in Charge at POMEgranate Magazine, as well as the co-host of Moon Podcast Power MAKE UP!!
Ashley Gallagher

Ashley Gallagher

Ashley writes comics and emails from zir burrow in the Pacific Northwest. Ze is a sentient subtropical swamp fern whose favorite food is old words.
Jenny Mott

Jenny Mott

Jenny is just a Silly Nerd with a lot of Feelings about Comic Books and Friendship and also This Capitalist Yoke We All Share; she enjoys Dogs and Sleeping and Cartoons. Her three favorite words are: Breakfast All Day.
Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Rachel is a designer and artist from Texas. She is pro-feminism, pro-crones, and pro-dogs. She's also Boss Crone at POMEgranate Magazine, and one day hopes to be able to drink her tea without so much milk and sugar.
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