A Furry Black Mirror
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen
- Airing Date : October 2019 to December 2019
- Producers : Orange
BEASTARS Introduction and Story
In a reality where anthropomorphic animals live civilized lives just like ours, differences between species unsurprisingly cause tension in society; especially relations between carnivores and herbivores. Tensions run even higher when Tem, a drama club student at Cherryton Academy, is predated upon by an unknown carnivore and killed.
Also a member of the drama club, shy and anxious grey wolf Legoshi already feels self-conscious about his predatory features as it is—he’s always assumed to be suspicious just because he’s a wolf—and the latest murder makes it worse so he decides to lay low, trying not to make anyone uncomfortable, just becoming more and more insecure. This just makes Legoshi seem even more suspicious; especially when he seems to be stalking a female sheep when, really, all he wanted was to give her a letter that Tem had written for her, hoping to help Tem accomplish what he wasn’t able to in life. Legoshi gives the girl the letter and clears his name, at least for now.
The night before the big performance, Tem needs to be replaced. Tem was a lead and a great actor so club president Louis—a beautiful, popular, stoic male red deer—wants to make sure to get the best replacement for the part. Louis rejects a carnivore who really wanted the part because all he does is mess up and the angry mongoose attacks Louis but Legoshi steps in and stops him, using his imposing size and strength to avoid a fight. This rubs Louis the wrong way because he feels that Legoshi should embrace his strength and power and stop being shy, which he tells to Legoshi’s face. Clearly, Louis has some issues of his own, to say the least.
Tem’s replacement is not ready for the next day’s performance, so Louis decides to have an against-the-rules after-hours rehearsal at the school gym with Legoshi as the lookout. While on patrol, as he is sulking around inside his own head, he catches a whiff of something… a small herbivore! Afraid he might get expelled, Legoshi hides and spots a small silhouette. Thinking the possible witness might run away if he gives chase, Lugosi dashes towards the small animal who tries to run for its life. In just seconds, Legoshi is on top of a tiny female dwarf rabbit. Feeling his instincts kicking in after giving chase to what could have been his prey, he is confused and frightened and lets her go making sure he’s not seen.
The small rabbit is Haru, and she has issues of her own. She’s tired of feeling small and looked down on by larger animals and seems to enjoy intimate relationships with her classmates because it makes her feel better about herself. Haru is ostracised and bullied by her peers for her liberal way of life but keeps to herself and cares for the rooftop garden on her own. When Legoshi discovers who the girl he almost ate was, he develops a confusing—and dangerous—attraction to Haru that pushes him way outside of his comfort zone just to be around her and try to take care of her.
Throughout, we discover that Louis is seeing Haru but doesn’t seem to care for her as he has his own issues to deal with. Haru feels empty even with all her sexual escapades, and when Legoshi first comes to her, she assumes what he wants is sex like everyone else. Of course, Legoshi isn’t like that and leaves her be, sparking an interest in the unusual male. Legoshi’s feelings grow stronger but, are they love? or carnivore instinct? Chasing answers to these questions leads the grey wolf into all kinds of problems.
As the series progresses, we learn more about the society in BEASTARS and how it is set up so that carnivores and herbivores can coexist peacefully, as well as what challenges each species faces in said society. Specifically, we follow Legoshi, Haru, and Louis, three characters unhappy with their lot in life, striving to find who they really are, a place they belong, and maybe a little bit of love.
1. The Unique Set-up
The worldbuilding in BEASTARS is very well thought-out. From hens selling their eggs to feed carnivores to keep them healthy—and from eating other animals—to a black market where carnivores can eat the way their nature dictates and which gives a space for shady things to happen, most of the questions you may have about how a society like this would be viable will be answered. It is a fully fleshed-out world that has obviously been created with much attention to detail.
2. A Furry Black Mirror
As mentioned previously, just because the characters are cute and cuddly-looking, it doesn’t mean BEASTARS is a fluffy anime. In fact, it’s almost like a Black Mirror episode with anthropomorphic animals. It reflects many issues we currently face in the world like discrimination, violence, crime, abuse of power, bullying, and even anxiety and depression. It’s hard to imagine one could identify with any of these creatures in this fantasy setting, but odds are, if you watch BEASTARS, the characters and the way their situations are portrayed will tug at your heartstrings and make you think about the way we live.
3. It’s Beautiful
This almost goes without saying but the character design and overall art style in Beastars fit it perfectly. The characters are beautifully drawn and very expressive, and the art is a bit dark and grungy, which adds to the atmosphere. Even the opening and ending themes are like mini works of art, with the former being a stop motion short telling the Beastars story. Even the CG looks great!
1. Not for the Faint of Heart
As mentioned above, there is murder and violence and deep emotional and social themes in BEASTARS so if you’re looking for a feel-good, cuddly anime to relax with or watch with the kids, this is probably not it. BEASTARS is not a giggly walk around the zoo.
Unsurprisingly, BEASTARS ended up at the top of the anime charts for 2019. With its memorable worldbuilding, story, and relatable characters, BEASTARS is an anime that really stood out to us in 2019.
What did you think of BEASTARS? Are you reading the manga? Let us know in the comments! Till next time!