If Zootopia, Degrassi, and (somehow) Edward Cullen tag-teamed their sperm and egg together and had a baby? BEASTARS would be it. Except there’s a carnivorous murder mystery that kicks this story off.
Now that’s not necessarily a spoiler! Within the first twelve pages (with action starting on the first page), we watch as an alpaca student named Tem is cornered and devoured by an otherwise unknown fellow carnivore student.
Tensions from that moment on rise as the omnivore students feel cautious around their carnivorous peers. And many of the carnivore students aren’t digging the generalization made for them either.
VIZ Media teamed-up with us here at Quirktastic to talk about the underrated manga, BEASTARS.
The world Paru Itagaki has built around her anthropomorphic characters in her manga is a creative and detailed one.
She builds and develops her characters out so well that it laces in seamlessly to the point where the fact that you’re reading a manga about human-like animals isn’t as glaring as it is necessary.
An Anime, You Say?
I don’t think I’m giving this manga the justice it deserves; but I can certainly talk about its accolades!
Itagaki’s BEASTARS has won multiple awards in Japan, including the prestigious 2018 Manga Taisho Award.
And my favorite bit of news personally? It’s being adapted into an anime that’s being released October 9th!
So we’ve gotta cover some ground before its release so you can get just as hyped as I am about this hidden gem!
BEASTARS Vol. 1: Where It Begins
I’ve already told you how the manga jumps off: murder!
The biggest event we’re thrown into as readers is the Adler play thrown by the Cherryton Academy’s drama club. It’s the welcome performance for new students, but everyone looks forward to seeing the school’s plays.
So, the pressure’s on to do exceptionally well.
The murder has everyone up in arms at Cherryton Academy, but it also leads back to the drama club because it’s where Tem belonged.
But we soon learn that the current focal point of the manga lies on these two characters:
Legosi: A giant gray wolf with a gentle spirit that contently blends into the background despite his stature. He helps with the lighting in the theater club–possibly the biggest clubs that holds one of the biggest events at the school.
Louis: A petite and well-dressed red deer who’s focus in life seems to be to stay on top of a power-fueled pedestal, and he’s already on the path since he’s the drama club officer and star actor.
We also learn that he wants to become the next BEASTAR, a title given to someone who brings both omnivores and carnivores together.
Despite his petite size and feminine stature, Louis creates an intimidating aura seemingly effortlessly. And to keep up, he tends to risk his health and self in the process.
Whatever it takes to be and stay in power.
And even though the manga starts with a focus on these two characters, we eventually get introduced to Haru. A pure white dwarf rabbit who’s seen as the girl who sleeps around the school (she explains why it’s such an unfortunate event for her), and she eventually runs into Legosi in a much much scarier way.
Gotta read volume one of BEASTARS to see exactly what Legosi did that begins to turn the whole plot on its head!
BEASTARS Vol. 2: Things Are Getting Bloody Juicy!
You’re probably wondering why this tiger is ripping his claws into Legosi, huh?
Well as I said, things are heating up… The plot gets slightly darker as we find out not only how intricate the school’s systems are when herbivores and carnivores are to co-exist…
But all the intricate ways it can all go wrong in the world, too.
A secret’s been found out, and Legosi had to pay… but you’ll just have to read volume two of BEASTARS to find out exactly what went down.
Why You Should Read (And Soon Watch!) BEASTARS
BEASTARS is a page-turner! I first saw someone talking about the manga in a Facebook group and was intrigued ever since.
You become caught-up in a world of hierarchy, species issues that can be connected heavily to racism, and dark illegal acts behind the picturesque day-to-day life.
If you’re leery about reading this manga because the characters are animals, I’d say still give it a chance. Even if you didn’t like Zootopia, or Degrassi.
The animal twist is needed to keep it a page-turner, but it also helps that Itagaki is very caring when it comes to developing the characters so much that we grow attached as we keep reading.
We know due to production times and other constraints that sometimes an anime may not live up to its manga (even if the outcome of the anime is still amazing!). So I’d suggest reading the BEASTARS manga first to know what’s really going on and to have something to compare it to.
The anime adaptation comes out October 9th, and I can’t wait to see how everything turns out. 😉
Is your interest piqued? We’re talking about the anime and manga over on the Quirktastic friendship app! Join in on the fun!
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A mindset coach, foodie, writer, and creative coder that never "grew up" from her punk phase... or anime... or anything else epic like that.