William: Look, yo. Beastars was on my most anticipated list for the end of 2019. But then, Netflix hit us with the pump fake and delayed that it droppin in the states till March, even though Japan been seen this shit. So imagine when I thought I was getting some anthropomorphic slice of life characters dealing with herbivore versus carnivore culture, that I was a bit shook to learn that Beastars was actually Zootopia After Dark on Cinemax.
Mikkel: Episodes 2, 7, and 10. Everytime I thought I had mentally prepared myself for what was coming next, Beastars would just decide to throw yet another curveball and somehow make things weirder. And it was already very weird to begin with? Nothing I have ever watched or read or even played could have prepared me for the experience that was Beastars, and I truly did not know what each new episode was going to do to my fragile mind.
Ja-Quan: So, I’m torn right. Part of me wants to hop on Twitter and talk my shit about this dope anime that just hit Netflix and part of me wants to clear my cache and cookies, but I’m human right? I’m multifaceted na mean. Beastars hit me with a sack of beatles and really had me wondering if I was down with that furry life. That’s the Shallow Hal in me tho. That’s what the average viewer’s takeaway will be. In reality, this show had me taking a long hard look at the slut shaming culture of high school students and the incredible dynamic that exists between herbivores and carnivores. If you read Nat Geo or were a fan of Discovery Channel as a kid, this show will satisfy your carnal instincts while highlighting the complex hierarchy of the animal kingdom and sparking food chain food for thought for the top predators of this planet.
Chris: Have you ever seen something so disturbing, something you can’t look away from, that you had to share it with someone else? That describes my time with Beastars. So, I made my wife watch it with me. I can’t say that any of us came out of that experience unscathed. Hell, I can’t even say that we liked it. Can you even judge quality with something so … raw? You know, when I first loaded Beastars up on Netflix, I was expecting a dark, violent take on Zootopia. Who knew I dived into the scandalous world of horny, anthropomorphic characters and their sexcapades. When I tell you the furry community is living their best life, boiiiii. It took the end of episode 11 to break me. It took finishing Beastars to question everything I know about myself.
Mikkel: *spoilers* I think we can all agree that Haru stripping at the end of episode 2 was really the start of a dark descent in the weird world that is Beasters, but what is constantly baffling is that the show continually gets weirder from there, which again, I did not think was possible. When episode 7 started with the perspective of a chicken student of Legoshi, I didn’t know where it was going. I was not expecting it to be a brief insight into the secondary egg market that creates school lunches. You know how many questions I had about this afterward? Like the consensual cannibalism in the Black Market at least tracked, but selling your eggs and then basing your self-worth on a student viewing your eggs as the best? The layers here. And then there was the whole “meal prep” situation in episode 10, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same. Especially given the action sequences that preceded and followed? And I guess as an aside, shoutout to Gouhin for being a panda and one of the most badass characters in the series?
I’m still baffled that this show was able to fit so many weird societal conventions and also have time dedicated to some really good fights.
Ja-Quan: Mikkel, you bring up some great points. Not only does the show take you to that furry place in the dark sector of your mind, but it frequently sidesteps to the most bizarre and disturbing concepts. Never again will I look at a chicken sandwich the same way. That whole meal prep scenario sent shivers down my spine and got me lookin at lions mad different these days. Being an educator, the thing that keeps me up at night is the statement Haru dropped when explaining why she’s so comfortable with her level of sexual activity. Her first time was the first time she ever felt validated and truly equal to someone else. She was born a small and weak individual who always felt like prey destined to be pounced on. The number of women who feel the same must be staggering, and that is one of the beautiful things about this show; the societal parallels are incredible if you pay attention.
Chris: The chicken sandwich episode took me for a loop as well. I’m with Mikkel on the implications of that exchange. There are so many questions. Eating herbivores is bad but fetuses’ in hard-shelled eggs is acceptable? I’ve never had to think this hard about egg salad sandwiches. Also, I do have to say, I wasn’t exactly fond of the “meal prep” scenes in episode 10. Watching with my wife, we both agreed that we were tired of seeing the all too familiar sexual assault scenes that most shows seem to rely on. This show is a lot, but it doesn’t need to take everything too far for shock value. There is enough of that going on with rabbit porn being passed around at the black market to wolves. Oh man, is it weird to be this hot and bothered by animals?
William: I can’t begin to think about the egg salad sandwich again, because it will break my brain. I also want to point out that that shit was a cold open and literally didn’t resurface again. Like, Beastars gave us that shit just to show you how weird shit could get, even if it wasn’t the main story. So, the part that fucked me up was episode 10, where we catch Haru after the bathing ritual when the HLIC (Head Lion in Charge) is about to make a meal of her. I mean…maybe. And I want to give a trigger warning here for assault
[…] That scene is about the lion about to “devour” Haru, but it’s very much presented as the preamable to, sexual assault? And from a logistic standpoint, it would make sense if “devour” in this world took the place of sexual assault…except we know that it doesn’t…since sexual activity and consent very much exist. So that scene is all kinds of wild because it really did feel like Haru was going to be violated and THEN eaten. It all…so much […]
Anyways, episode 11 is wild too, for no other reason then sexual awkwardness is always wild, but I’ve never seen it from the perspective of someone debating whether to make love to their beloved or tear out their carotid artery with their teeth. This show…done changed me man.
William: I feel like there’s just an endless amount of shit in just 12 episodes. The Louis turn at the end, the stealth Juno take over, the Legoshi / Bill performance. Like…there’s so much shit. But I guess the real question is… y’all tuning in next season or nah? Cuz, I think I am. No, I know I am.
Mikkel: Look, as much as I’m still shook from the preceding events, Beastars did two things really well: build a complex world around the predator/prey dynamic and tell a story that I had no goddamn idea what was going to happen next. I was Dr. Manhattan surrounded by tachyon particles, unable to see anything else but what was in front of me. And regardless of how utterly weird this shit was, it was well done and well-conceived and I, for better or for worse, am invested.
Chris: Once again, I can’t for sure say that I enjoyed Beastars. It’s … a lot. Most of it feels thrown at you for shock value, and I don’t know if I got the same amount of substance from its storytelling that you guys got out of it. There is one point of praise that I will give Beastars, though. The animation and art direction is top notch. Normally, I am no fan of 3D anime, as most of the animation that comes out of Japanese CGI feel lifeless and stiff. Beastars gets brownie points for leaving me impressed with its expressiveness. Will I be watching it again once season 2 drops? Probably, out of some morbid curiosity. Most likely alone cause I traumatized my wife by making her watch this first season with me. At this point, I’m on soap opera vibes with Beastars. Waiting to see what overly horny drama and violence is coming my way.
Ja-Quan: I’m constantly amazed at the quality and content of new anime each year, and Beastars excels in both. While the PG 13 content may be uncharted territory for many, the show is buoyed nicely by the drama club students’ dedication to their craft and the unconventional creativity of the love triangle the show is centered around. The look had me invested off the rip and the more I watched, the more I saw how Orange animation studio was coming for our lunch money. Netflix seems to have found an anime to hang their hat on, even if they’re using shock value to lure in some folks. Well, consider me a fish swimming with a school of Beastars fans, because I’m hooked and excited for where they take this wild story in season 2.
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