TV (12 eps)
Fall 2019
3.998 out of 5 from 17,168 votes
Rank #990

One night at Cherryton Academy, an herbivore student is brutally murdered. Among the members of the Drama Club, the herbivores’ suspicions naturally turn to their carnivore classmates… The prime suspect? Wolf Legoshi. But he wouldn’t hurt a fly. Or would he? Will dwarf rabbit Haru bring out the beast in him? Or are his feelings for her… something else?

Source: Viz

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I haven't written a review in ages, but found the motivation to do so only because I kept scrolling down to find a review I agreed with, but couldn't: it was just one extremely positive review after the other. So here are my two cents.  Beastars isn't a bad anime. It's just nothing special. I watched it to the end and to be honest I quite liked Legoshi, the main character. Animation is good as well as the sound, the OP is jazzy and catchy. It's clear that some effort went in the production values. As for the story and the world it's set in, they don't make much sense. Or rather, the world building is pretentious and the plot is pretty average. It's a world where carnivores and herbivores co-exist because the carnivores repress their "animal" instincts. A restless society where herbivores are constantly in fear of being eaten and carnivores feel guilty if they show their superior strength. But it's also an animal highschool romance anime, the clichèd story of the star-crossed lovers who may be able to overcome the odds against them. It's set in a highschool attended by herbivores and carnivores alike. The character designs are a bit creepy at first: antropomorphic animals with furry human limbs and bodies is disturbing, but then you get used to it. The anime mostly explores the relationship between a wolf and a rabbit. The wolf's instinct to see the rabbit as prey and kill it, the rabbit's instinct to flee from those fangs and claws - or throw herself straignt into the wolf's mouth (one might wonder how that is natural instinct...?). The message at the end is that if you want to see the "person" behind their stereotypical animal image, you need to repress your own animal instincts and then you might even fall in love with the person behind and beyond the stereotypes.  There's a few more characters, the proud red deer, the bad yakuza lions, the deceiving mayor, the love rival, the bad-ass therapist panda and the other students at the school.... The main trio of characters does have some depth, even though they portray the same internal conflict, just from different aspects. Legoshi is the gray wolf who is torn between his animal istincts and his feelings of love, between being attracted to Haru the dwarf rabbit as a prey and a love interest. And you can transpose his dilemma on the wider community, making him an example of the successful attempt of carnivores to overcome their "bad" animal instincts. Haru in my opinion is maybe the most interesting character. She's a rabbit, but wants "people" to see her for herself, not as a defenseless and pathetic little bunny and tries to find ways to overcome this perception of herself even at the cost of coming across as a “slut”. So there is an element of self-discovery in this tale, of finding your place in the world. Another character with some depth is Louis the red deer, yet another example of a herbivore who does not want to be seen as weak and manipulates others into perceiving him exactly as he wants to be seen – he’s an actor, after all. While Legoshi is hell-bent on acting as awkward, clumsy and harmless in denial of the predator nature of which he is ashamed. It's kind of repetitive, in this respect.  There are multiple contradictions as to how the world is built, and the ending also is contradictory with Legoshi (after taking down a whole bunch of lions) proclaiming that he wants to become even stronger (?) - but hey, hang on a sec, wasn't the issue in the first place that Legoshi is a stong predator?? Why would he now want to become even stronger and why would this validate his union with Haru??? Or does “stronger” in this case mean that he wants to further deny and repress his wolf nature? In conclusion, it's a pretentious social commentary that lacks depth. The message behind this portrayal of the strained relationship between herbivores and carnivores seems to be that to break free from stereotypes you need to repress or overcome your natural instincts. It’s a half-baked metaphor of the injustice and prejudices of human society through the animal kingdom. Sorry, I don't call that thought-provoking. I think too little thought went into it.


Zootopia: The Yiffening *spoiler-free review* Beastars is not just for the furries. Yeah, everyone was thinking it was, but it's really not. You may be slightly more comfortable with some of the themes if you're a furry, but that's about it, and no matter who you are, there's a good chance the show will effect you in the same way. Such is the power of a well thought-out story and relatable characters. Story - it isn't the most complex story in anime or anything, but that's not what we're going to be focusing on. Long synopsis short, it's about a wolf boy who falls in love with a rabbit girl and has a rough go of it figuring out his emotions, and also there's a deer guy who's the class president and wants to be the Beastar, the representitive of the school. But that's all there is to the basic plot. What makes this anime good isn't even its plot technically, it's something that doesn't have a category here, which I'll be talking about much more in-depth instead; its Themes, and how it explores those themes. Now, to be clear this is a bit theoretical, because the parallels one can make between Beastars and the Real World are obviously intended to be up to interpretation, but it's how the show presents its themes within the context of its own setting that makes this work best of all. The boys about to represent carnivores everywhere In this world of anthropomorphic animals, there is a class system and hierarchy and inter-species relations just as we have similar structures in our society, and carnivores have significantly strained relations with herbivores due to the animalistic instincts that carnivores have remaining intact in their DNA, sometimes being hard to manage and causing violent breakouts, causing an intrinsic tension in the day-to-day life of the characters and inhabitants of the world. Not to mention, there is some detail to how each of the different species lives, they're all given accomadations according to their habitat and genetics. Which poses some questions about how funds are spent in schools and other institutions, but I digress. It's just such an interesting world to talk about, really. The themes presented are largely, how do carnivores think and function, and how does it relate to their feelings of love, lust, and instincts. In this world, they can get high off the scent of blood alone and unleash their sort of primal urges to devour prey, but still in their normal state, these kinds of instincts are represented more as protectiveness or lust in some. There's also whole parts to this world which highlight these dark thematic elements, like a black market where carnivores are encouraged to partake in taboo. And it's all just super interesting and there's a lot of depth to it. It goes really far to show how society works in this world in all facets, crime, drugs, everything has a place and a function and some part to play. Now the Characters, who play a huge part in the themes. Mah rabbit. First, we have Legosi. He's one of the strongest protagonists I've seen in a shounen, mostly because his conciousness and the way his brain works is fully explored, as it's told through his inner monologues mostly. We get to fully explore the nuances of how he sees every situation, and let me tell you, it's shockingly, brutally relatable to see how he thinks about things. Probably one of the most relatable anime characters I've encountered. They did a great job with him, and like, I am notoriously hard to impress with shounen protagonists. For what it's worth. Legosi is the lens through which we see all these carnivore themes, and it's very interesting to see it all unfold through this charming yet flawed wolf boy. Then, Louis, IMO the second best character who is half of the narrative, taking the herbivore perspective of the world. Extremely flawed character with the visage of a magestic stag that he has to uphold, making him outwardly stoic but inwardly turbulent, with a troubled past and motives, with an opposite spectrum dynamic with legosi. And lastly Haru for the main three. Her mind is delved into a lot as well as the subject of interest for the other two leads, turning legosi's world upside down. She's one of the more interesting female characters I've seen, and is the subject of the show's more sexual themes, but don't let that turn you off to the show, because they're rather maturely handled. There are plenty of other good characters, those being the top ones. Now, by far the most expansive segment this review will have. Animation. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, a CGI anime can't be good. Well Studio Orange has had it up to here, with people thinking CGI in anime is just a cheap skate move! LETS BREAK IT DOWN. There are plenty of examples. But a few I've kept close at hand are these: Not usually do CGI anime utilize this much emotional and personality-filled expression in their characters, but Beastars has this concept nailed. Just look at how well they implement squash-and-stretch, and they use the rigidity of the movements for comedic actions. There's so much expression here, even more than in most 2D anime. Instantly you can tell just from this picture what's happening even without context and how the characters feel, so much attention to detail. You gotta respect it. Another note, texturing. This anime is all cell-shaded of course, because it's um an anime, but it still makes great use of texture. Look at Legosi's fur here: Its jagged edges, indeed look like the texture of animated fur, and all the accent marks on the texture of his model really sell the feeling they're going for, using cell shading for some of the finer details, even going so far as to animate some of the fur itself for more expressive scenes like these. Next note, artstyle. Usually CGI anime have pretty set artstyles and don't bother to change things up, but not so with Beastars. Their adaptation is comitted to bringing style and substance even through the computer generated imagery. That's right, that's an entire scene symbolized as self-aware experience by being shown through an opaque model of the character's head to represent his perspective on the scene. This is only one such example of how well this show uses its artistic style in synergy with its CGI. But we're not done yet, because this show switches entire artstyles up just for style points. Yup. That's how they did one scene. Entirely 2D. WITH WATERCOLORS. I'm sorry, bad animation who? Bad animation when? Yeah, no. You don't even get to say it man. The time has come to respect good CGI anime, and BEASTARS is the frontrunner, baby! AND IT DOESNT STOP THERE BECAUSE NOW WE GOTTA TALK ABOUT THE SOUND, SINCE THEY HAVE A STOP MOTION OPENING WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT. In short, Beastars is one of the best anime of the year, and definitely worth a look for anyone willing to step outside their 2D animated comfort zone for some darker themes and unique style. AND THATS CALLED JAZZ.

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