Julien Neaves, Editor
Back in June I dropped my review of season 1 of Netflix’s coming-of-age fantasy anime Beastars and showered my praises upon it. Well I checked out the second season recently and it is even better than the first.
For those not in the know, the series, based on the award-winning manga by Paru Itagaki, is set in a world of anthropomorphic animals and focuses on a prestigious school called Cherryton Academy. The protagonist is a large gray wolf named Legoshi, a shy fellow who is just trying to get by and also suppress his natural animal urges. His life gets complicated when he falls for a beautiful dwarf rabbit named Haru and one of his classmates is mysteriously murdered. With a giant, furry SPOILER ALERT let’s dive right into Beastars Season 2 in three slices:
Slice 1: Characters old and new
The new season opens with a mystery at the school, namely that a multi-eyed ghost appears to be haunting the classroom where the alpaca Tem was murdered. Legoshi discovers that the “ghost” is actually Rokume, a large snake and the school’s shadowy security guard. Rokume tasks Legoshi with uncovering the identity of Tem’s killer, which sets up the main plot of the season (more on that later). I loved both the reveal and the look of this gigantic snake with his cute little security cap. And along with Rokume the season did add a couple of background reptile characters, expanding the type of species in this anthropomorphic world beyond just mammals and a few birds.
Two of the other new characters are Pina, a dandy, playboy big-horned Dall sheep, and Cosmo, an okapi (also known as a forest giraffe) stripper in the black market. Pina was a weird one. He was very flirty with everyone and he teases Legoshi to eat him. Is it sexual? Is he a little suicidal? He and Legoshi definitely have a complicated relationship, especially when they are the only two people who know the identity of Tem’s killer (more on that later as well). I’m a bit on the fence with him. Cosmo, however, was an interesting addition. We are introduced to her doing her strip act and I was like, “Umm, how much are they actually going to show here?” I already had weird feelings about Haru, now they have added Cosmo to the mix. Thank you Beastars.
But seriously, I thought the plot of a herbivore dancing in a cage to arouse both the sexual and gustatory feelings in her carnivore audience to be quite an intriguing one, and the scene where she was attacked was quite tense. Cosmo also has a couple of cool scenes with Louis and I hope to see more of her in Season 3.
Slice 2: Louis the Lion Boss
And speaking of Louis, the subplot of him becoming the unlikely head of the all-lion gang Shishigumi was simply riveting and as good (if not better) than the main plot. I loved every aspect of it, from Louis’s struggles with consuming eat, to him keeping the gang in line and exerting his power, to his wonderful mentor/mentee relationship with Ibuki. All of the Shishigumi scenes have this undercurrent of tension as you never knew if his lion underlings would turn on him. He turned his back on the gang to help Legoshi which I found could have a been a bit more earned. But it does lead to that beautifully tragic climax with Ibuki and the poor lion’s death.
Apart from the Shishigumi, Louis also had an intense scene where he threatens to kill his cold, adopted father Ogma and a couple of sweet moments with Juno the gray wolf. The two of them have surprising chemistry and I wonder if eventually they will get together. It would be an interesting twist on the Legoshi/Haru relationship.
Slice 3: Killer in the Midst
And speaking of the Legoshi/Haru relationship (man I am killing it with the segues today) I was surprised we didn’t get much of that this season. When Legoshi wasn’t keeping away from her he was being extra awkward, even frustratingly interrupting an almost-kiss by asking about Louis. Idiot! And speaking of awkward, he also drops a marriage proposal out of nowhere and Haru is expectedly discombobulated. This dude has no game! Their relationship is left very much up in the air.
Legoshi fares much better in his quest to become stronger and free of his desire for meat during his at-times quite trippy and highly philosophical training with super cool panda mentor Gohin. After being blindly attacked by Tem’s killer and “frenching” him he achieves success in uncovering the murderer, the outwardly affable and oft smiling but highly unhinged and psychopathic grizzly bear Riz. That was one scary bear and his clashes with Legoshi were some of the bloodiest and most visceral fights in the show so far.
With all the build-up I expected a bit more from their final clash but the most memorable moment was Legoshi eating Louis’ leg (offscreen) and going full beast mode. But the murderer plotline has wrapped up satisfactorily and closed off a season with much darker themes, more sexuality and a heck of a lot more blood. And it has definitely got me hungry for more.
Editor Jules’s Score: 9.5 out of 10
So what did you think of Beastars Season 2? And you can check out more great anime content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.