Beastars (Netflix) first impressions review
Beastars Animated Series – Intro to the Review
This is a review of the first two episodes of the series. It’s a production (of Studio Orange) of the Beastars manga by Paru Itagaki. It appeared in Akita Shonen’s Weekly Shonen Champion in 2016 and has won awards (I don’t know which ones). This brought it to the attention of the streaming giant, Netflix in 2018.
In all the research I did for the 2019 Autumn Anime series to watch, this was way ahead of most on the list in being the most anticipated. So, was it worth the hype? Did the first two episodes enthrall and excite us as much as we hoped or was it a bit of a damp squib?
About it’s creators
The animation is marvelous, the way the characters are defined/drawn and animated along with the the colour pallet is exceptional. The voice acting and sound design is also great. Its a pleasure to view and listen to each episode. This is mainly because of the amazing work of Shinichi Matsumi for Studio Orange, and the character design by Nao Ootsu. CG for the show was managed by director Eiji Inomoto (Ghost in the Shell, Arise).
What is Beastars About?
Beastars is a series that examines the relationship of herbivore and carnivore students at a ‘mixed’ academy/school. all sorts of animals attend the academy and it is absolutely forbidden to attack and kill ones fellow students – it is also forbidden to eat meat! This well ordered place of education seems ludicrously improbable and yet that is what seems to make it so appealing.
The story broadly follows the manga in that the opening episode is about the violent death and ‘devouring’ of a herbivore student in the drama club, by a fellow carnifor student. This means that one of the most sacred rules has been broken and the students (all of them are very shook up and nervous. Later next day in the evening, Legoshi (a grey wolf) meets Haru (a dwarf rabbit) and jumps on her as if to attack, kill and eat her. We are all left to wonder if Legoshi was the student who murdered the herbivor the previous night.
It seems that Legoshi was overtaken by a lust to kill and eat the poor (and cute) dwarf rabbit. But fate was on Haru’s side as Legoshi was interrupted and she managed to escape with only scratches to her arm.
By the way, I think that the significance of the word ‘Beastars’ is a play on the concept of animal actors and one of the reasons why recognised animal acting talent in the academy is so admired. Perhaps if a beast can act well, they are better able to control their aggression, fear, loathing etc. with other animals.
Next day it seems that she has forgotten all that happened and has no idea why she has a bandaged arm. Legoshi meets her during school hours and is shocked and pleased that she doesn’t remember their first meeting. He likes hanging out with her and by the end of the second episode it seems fairly obvious that the story will develop into a romance between these two.
Beastars Review – The Verdict
So what was my impression after two episodes? Well, it was ok and I will certainly watch the third episode (as you know, we should always watch at least three episodes before deciding to stay with a series or not), but I’m not sure I’ll be continuing with it). I thought that the writing was not nearly as good as the graphics and audio (voice acting) and the story was overly melodramatic.
There wasn’t much fun in either of the episodes and I wasn’t engaged with any of the characters. Legoshi was a wimpy student in a grey wolf body – I couldn’t relate to that. None of the other characters were interesting and I found myself not caring about any of them. Even the lead female character, Haru played by the excellent Sayaka Senbongi was fairly two dimensional.
The writing was by Nanami Higuchi who was partly responsible for Little Witch Academia and this possibly explains the patronising and melodramatic screenplay. Pacing was ok but at least once, I found myself saying, ‘come on! get on with it!” which is never a good sign.
I didn’t hate the show, I’m just wasn’t interested in what happened to the characters in it. I’m sure the story will develop and I hope it fares better with you – especially if you, like me, was looking forward to it so much.
The trailer is pretty good though!
So, overall, I’d rate this is cool but improvable 6.9 out of 10. What did you think? Please feel free to let us know by ranking the show by selecting the Users tab in the review block above. Select the star rating you feel most appropriate and then select Submit. Simple as that 🙂
This review is copyright Tony Fawl and not for reproduction without the authors express permission.