I'm generally not a big fan of Romances, since they tend to be rather formulaic and follow a certain predictable pattern. Sure, there are some exceptions, but it takes some serious breaking conventions to garner my interest. So, it was a welcome surprise when I stumbled upon this little gem of a comic.
While reading this thing, I was grinning like a maniac throughout, which should be the desired result of a mismatched crack pairing, partly because the interactions between the two were so funny. But mostly because I was thinking of a certain Great Canadian Novel I only had a rudimentary knowledge of.
Obviously, this comic is less than a faithful adaption of the Canadian bestseller, and more of a metaphor that could easily apply to any romance that falls outside of societal norms.
To me, it's not so much the awkward approach that speaks to me, but the struggle the two of them put in trying to make a less than compatible connection between two very different worlds work. "If love was easy, it wouldn't be so hard." Also, this setup avoids the relentless will they/won't they approach that's such a binary equation that oftentimes results in the former being a foregone conclusion.
Rather, it's the relationship between two... I hesitate to use the term "people", since it's obviously interspecies romance, but it's obvious the two care deeply about each other. I enjoy seeing their challenge in trying to make a fraught relationship work.
Every other man she's gone out with has only wound up being terrible boyfriends with her, so trying something new with a wild animal is a refreshing change of pace for her. After spending so much time with the Bear, Nora learns his general moods from the various sounds he makes.
In addition to being rather handy around the house (despite his bulky clumsiness), and getting into the occasional amicable fight with the cat, the Bear goes out of his way to get a job in the workforce, very much like the children's book, The Bear who Wanted to be a Bear. Even if she didn't know about it, I appreciated seeing another Bear-related shoutout.
And, much like that titular bear, the Bear has to go off to hibernate for the winter. Nora knows this inevitability is going to happen, and braces herself for the brief parting that will result. When he leaves, concerned parties who were worried about her unhealthy fixation with the Bear come out of the woodwork and make their critical voices more unsubtly heard.
So, after days of agonizing uncertainty, (that's the Bear dozing away in the bottom panels there), Nora goes to the cave to see the Bear's illicit activities for herself. It goes as well as you'd expect:
Even though she's reassured despite her suspicions, there's still no outright guarantee that the Bear will go back to Nora once winter is over.
While some people may squick out over the suggestive aspect of Bestiality, it's no more different to me than the platonic love between people and animals in works such as Guru-guru Pon-chan, Princess Tutu, and Sir Rodney and his Horse. Though the latter could become problematic if he started dressing his steed in lingerie.
Given its original premise, it should come as no surprise that it's already been optioned to be made into a movie by Legendary Pictures. Chances are, it won't be as amusing or heartbreaking as the pictures provide, but we could use some variety around here that's not of the Vampire Boyfriend kind.