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Manga Review: The Tiger Won’t Eat The Dragon Yet Vol. 1 (2024) by Hachi Inaba
Manga Review: The Tiger Won't Eat The Dragon Yet Vol. 1 (2024) by Hachi Inaba

Manga Review: The Tiger Won’t Eat The Dragon Yet Vol. 1 (2024) by Hachi Inaba

Disobeying the laws of nature

“Dragons are as valuable as they are rare. It’s said their meat tastes exquisite, their blood can heal any wound, and their hearts grant immortality when consumed. A tiger is lucky enough to capture one, but as she’s about to devour the beast, she pauses—he’s much too young to make into a meal. The tiger decides to raise the dragon herself, and it turns out there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is it simply natural instincts that draw the predator and her prey to each other, or is it something greater…?” (Yen Press)

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Hachi Inaba’s “The Tiger Won’t Eat The Dragon Yet” drops readers off in a fantasy-driven world where animals have human forms while still abiding by the laws of nature. The reason the world has been shaped like this, its history, and if it is an extension of humanity as traditionally defined, is never explicitly discussed, with the lore being familiar yet unique to the series. It is a bold way to start off a series, yet the anthropomorphic tale of a Dragon and a Tiger manages to work… mostly.

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The undeniable aspect that readers must overcome is the vagueness of direction. The work leaves a lot of questions and, thus, much to be desired to make that initial impact to draw readers in. Moreover, the first volume does not end on a cliffhanger, as it just reaches the next point; there is no anticipation of what may happen next. It is not a strong start, and it is one of those titles that may be best to wait a few volumes to gauge others’ reactions.

While the story is not instantly engaging, Inaba’s visual style is utterly charming and enticing. From the lush flora and rolling mountains to the smaller mammals and intimidating predators, one can easily get lost in the pages. The characters are also very expressive, and the building bond between the titular Tiger and Dragon is wonderfully conveyed through the visuals as they balance their animalistic instincts with their emotions. “The Tiger Won’t Eat The Dragon Yet” is one series that manages to tease and excite with its artistic flair alone.

While the work thrives mostly on its artistic merits, the story is not entirely void of substance, and one does get the picture of Hachi Inaba working towards something grander than its aimless introduction. Characters are introduced, and the relationship between the Tiger and the Dragon is already developing. Moreover, this pairing works surprisingly well when considering the anthropomorphic angle, which also softens the slightly discomforting age gap between the two when considering a potential romance later in the series; Iit could just as well remain a ‘lone wolf and cub’ scenario. The manga also offers an intriguing interpretation of nature’s inherent brutality/chaos, which, when emphasized, makes the lack of direction in the inaugural volume feel more intentional.

There is limitless potential within “The Tiger Won’t Eat The Dragon Yet,” primarily due to its sharp artistic direction and unique take on anthropomorphism in a medium flooded by uninspired titles. Still, getting overly excited about what is presented in the first volume is difficult, with even the oversized edition from Yen doing little to draw one in beyond the art. There is a lingering concern that the series may develop into tedium if it delivers much of the same, so waiting is advised. Adversely, readers seeking manga focused on animal/human hybrids will want to collect the series for its unique take and strong character design.