Merriam-Webster defines “manipulative” as "Serving or intended to control or influence others in an artful and often unfair or selfish way." It is basically the art of making other people do what you want them to do. So, whether we like it or not, manipulation happens all around us every day.
As a manga that simulates the complex and dynamic relationship between those who sit at different statuses in life, Beastars is filled with manipulative characters. Some characters do it occasionally for fun, while others have the word "manipulation" embedded into their DNA. Here are the five most manipulative characters in the Beastars manga.
Not all forms of manipulation could be considered a bad thing, since there are those who do it out of love. Granted, it is still for a selfish reason, but the intention comes from a good place. And that is what Juno does. This newcomer to the Cherryton drama club exercises her manipulation prowess to get closer to the one she loves.
In the manga, there are two notable times when she does it. First is at the end of the Meteor Festival when she puts Legosi in the spotlight and forces him to stand side by side with her in front of hundreds of people and act like a loving grey wolf couple.
The second one is when she kisses Louis near the end of the series. She does it to put some sort of a cute curse on him. Because from then on, she knows Louis will always compare whichever herbivore that he kisses to her passionate and dangerous carnivorous kiss. That is her way to keep a spot in his heart.
If Juno tries to manipulate the person that she loves, then Pina is some sort of a wild card who whispers his manipulative words in every direction. There are times when he does it because he thinks it would be fun, and there are also times when he does it out of the need to survive.
His best manipulative moment is when he suddenly appears right before Legosi and Riz are about to tear each other apart. By calmly and purposefully getting in their way, he manages to prevent the bloody violence that was about to occur.
And through the sheer power of his wits and sharp tongue, he also forces the raging Riz to stand down and leave Legosi be. Though he acts so carefree most of the time, it seems like he could make everybody dance to his tune.
The great Yahya himself is also not one to shy away from manipulating others whenever necessary. The towering legend once asks Legosi to accompany him on an infiltration mission. He does it to test Legosi and as his way to relive the nostalgia of working together with his old partner.
Needless to say, Legosi refuses him. And that's when Yahya talks about Haru and the fact that he knows how much Legosi loves her. He feeds him information about the suspect and how they both have such similar backgrounds. He says that the criminal could be the key to answer every doubt that Legosi has regarding his future with Haru.
After that, it doesn't take long for the grey wolf to follow the black stallion obediently.
Louis was raised as the heir to the horn conglomerate, so manipulation is a skill that he has mastered since a tender age. Louis uses his manipulation muscle numerous times throughout the series, but the most notable moment is definitely when he becomes the head of Shishigumi: a yakuza-like organization consisting of crazed lions.
There's a scene in the manga when Louis confronts a deer meat selling shopkeeper who refuses to pay the protection money to Shishigumi. Louis knows that he’s the weakest animal in the room, but through the power of his words alone, he manages to make the shopkeeper cower in fear and agree to whatever he says.
And then there's Melon. The man has experienced so much hardship and discrimination his whole life. He couldn't identify with any particular group of animals and his body made him devoid of any sense of desire. What he has left is boundless rage, curiosity, and the perfect mind and body to support his violent tendencies.
That being said, though Melon could easily resort to violence, most of the time he prefers to take his time and manipulate his target. And you can find multiple instances of his manipulative impulses all over the last arc of Beastars.
From the time when he manipulates Legosi to let him escape from Yahya, to how he snatches the position as the head of Shishigumi, and even to the moment when he somehow convinces Haru to let him do dangerous things to her. If there's an award for the most cunning and manipulative character in Beastars, then the winner has to be Melon.
Although there are plenty of strong creatures in Beastars, those characters often find themselves being outwitted or manipulated by those who are more cunning than them, which is how real society works most of the time.
These characters represent some of the individuals in Beastars who have the most capacity to force others to act in a certain way or do a certain thing. But if you know other characters who also deserved to be mentioned in this list, feel free to mention it in the comment section below.