In a civilized society of anthropomorphic animals, an uneasy tension exists between carnivores and herbivores. At Cherryton Academy, this mutual distrust peaks after a predation incident results in the death of Tem, an alpaca in the school's drama club. Tem's friend Legoshi, a grey wolf in the stage crew, has been an object of fear and suspicion for his whole life. In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, he continues to lay low and hide his menacing traits, much to the disapproval of Louis, a red deer and the domineering star actor of the drama club.
When Louis sneaks into the auditorium to train Tem's replacement for an upcoming play, he assigns Legoshi to lookout duty. That very night, Legoshi has a fateful encounter with Haru, a white dwarf rabbit scorned by her peers. His growing feelings for Haru, complicated by his predatory instincts, force him to confront his own true nature, the circumstances surrounding the death of his friend, and the undercurrent of violence plaguing the world around him.
BEASTARS: Where Carnivores and Herbivores Collide – Anime Review
Located in a civilized world of anthropomorphic animals with a cultural divide between carnivores and herbivores, BEASTARS offers a provocative look into societal norms through the lens of the animal kingdom. Our protagonist, Legoshi, a large gray wolf yet introverted student at Cherryton Academy, who is intimidating and feared by many due to his formidable appearance, finds himself in the awkward situation of developing a romantic interest in a dwarf rabbit named Haru. Haru, who has her own complexity of personality and a dark past beneath her cute façade. Legoshi is torn between his predatory instincts and his budding feelings.
Throughout the series, Beastars explores the tumultuous spectrum of emotions and social issues that plague its dynamic characters against the backdrop of their predator-prey society. It sets an excellent stage for exploring societal norms, discrimination, self-identity issues, and the battle to find a place in a world that hardly accepts you for who you are. It’s a deeply thrilling tale of action, romance, mystery, and introspection that monitors the primal versus the sophisticated.
The Anime Critic’s Review
First off, let’s get one thing out of the way – Beastars is a gorgeously animated show! The CGI is some of the best in the business, seamlessly blending with the 2D animation to create an immersive, lively world that is as charming as it is unnerving. The character designs are fantastic and can switch from cute to menacing in a heartbeat, a duality that the series exploits brilliantly.
But where Beastars truly shines is in its storytelling. It takes the “natural predator/prey” dynamics of the animal kingdom and uses them as an allegory to tackle serious societal issues such as racism, classism, and even sexual consent. Our personas are molded not only by our genes but also by the societal expectations and pressures we shoulder from a young age. The narrative challenges the idea of “nature vs nurture,” questioning if we can ever truly break free from the chains of our predispositions and the boxes society puts us in.
Legoshi’s struggle to reconcile his predatory impulses with his gentle nature is beautifully depicted and provides some of Beastars’ most poignant moments. His relationship with Haru is complex and thought-provoking, raising questions about the nature of love and attraction amidst their predator-prey dynamic. The supporting cast, while fewer in screen-time, provides layers of texture to the world of Beastars, showing different species tackling their own unique struggles within the same society.
The pacing of Beastars can often feel slow, especially for casual viewers. However, this deliberate pacing coupled with the introspective dialogue beautifully enhances the depth of the narrative. The series also interjects this introspection with some intense action sequences that portray the sheer primal power these characters possess, making for some highly thrilling viewing moments.
To sum up, with its unique premise, complex character relationships, and a sociopolitical commentary woven into its narrative, Beastars is a standout anime series. Its bold handling of mature themes merges with stunning animation that breathes life into this animal-dominated world. A word of caution – the series does tread into mature territory, so viewer discretion is advised.
Rent, buy, or stream it? As the Anime Critic, my advice would be not just to stream but to buy if you’re into thoughtful anime that pokes and prods at societal norms and provides a novel exploration of the human psyche. Beastars may just be an unforgettable entry in your anime library!
Character Development: 9/10
Overall Rating: 9.3/10
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