Beastars : Where Vegetarians and Cannibalism are Commonplace
Beastars Season 1, out now through your local Netflix, answers the question that no one asked. What if Zootopia was an inner monologue of ‘Do I/Don’t I stay a vegetarian’ meets faux cannibalism? Yeah. That’s a sentence.
Now I’ve seen my fair share of what the hell anime series. Though none deserve to sit at the same table as the teenage drama meets pro-vegetarian with a touch of cannibalism efforts of Beastars. If you’re after a fresh serving of weird then look no further. Beastars has you sorted.
If you’re a subscriber of Netflix and a steady mix of nerdy, science fiction or anime is on regular rotation then you’ve probably stumbled across an auto-play snippet of the trailer. A trailer that aptly sums up the synopsis of a Wolf’s obsession with a little white rabbit. It’s this spoiler free trailer that doesn’t prepare you for the brutal introduction of a sheep being hunted by a meat eater and devoured in a Jason Vorhees murder fashion.
This initial scene sets up the growing tension between the school students that permeates through every episode. Because in a world of no humans and where only anthropomorphic Zoo creatures exist – it only makes sense the herbivore students would be frightened by the carnivores.
A Fantastical World of Drama and Carnivores
We’re introduced to this fantastical world of hind leg walking and talking animals through the uncomfortable lense of a would be meat eater and grey wolf, Legoshi. Who is by and large the audience surrogate and school loner. Initially were led to believe that Legoshi could potentially be the mysterious mammal that devoured Tim the sheep. Seriously, Tim is the name you come up with? However, that soon changes as we learn he’s more confused about his own state of being a carnivore than the length of his own claws.
What follows is Legoshi’s own story on how to navigate the racial and political nuances of high school life when you’re one of multiple species of anthropomorphic beasts. While learning to suppress his animal urges amid a series of monotonous and never ending monologues both from him and almost every other character we’re introduced to. There’s the stereotypical jock, the best friend who’s a dog (clever) and the jealous love struck friend.
The Interesting Parts and The Problems
Beastars gets interesting with the drug fuelled imagery of pheromones gone insane that leads him to Haru, the white rabbit, who Legoshi almost devours in the first episode. The result is a season long foray into awkward teenage behaviour amid the complications of carnivores versus herbivores. Which certainly doesn’t help when the very next day Haru almost gives Legoshi a blowjob in a garden shed. Almost blowjobs aside, Legoshi is the most complicated character in recent memory and Haru’s promiscuity certainly doesn’t help matters.
The Beastars subtext is the drama department, where Legoshi and most of his friends work as stage hands and the relationship they have with the actors. It is soon explained that the number one drama student is awarded the most coveted title: Beastar. The Beastar subtext soon becomes secondary to the growing paranoia of reported “devouring” in and out of the school.
The devouring theme is constant and fills each character with a sense of dread. Dread that hits the Nth degree when Haru is kidnapped by a gang of lions intent on adding her as a soft morsel to their decadent menu. A plan that is quickly put to shame when a vengeful Legoshi takes out all the gang members almost single handedly. Fast forward to the most awkward exchange of “I Love Yous” between Haru and Legoshi to close out the scene.
The world building in this series is troublesome at times. Spending a lot of time hammering down the pro-vegetarian agenda down the throats of the characters involved. Where the devouring or cannibalisation of your own friends tempts you at every corner. In fact it’s mentioned so much for a drama littered with teenagers that it almost replaces the sex conversation.
Beastars refuses to shy away from the crystal clear pro-racist qualities of every character with the exception of Haru and Legoshi. If the narrative is that mixed relationships shouldn’t happen then either the creator is to blame or its human nature itself. Either way, I can’t decide which deplorable quality they are shooting to comment on.
If you’re looking for an anime starring anthropomorphic people who can’t get through their day without unleashing a tirade of inner monologues on the unsuspecting viewer then you’ve found your show.
Binge Season 1 of Beastars on Netflix.