BEASTARS – Episode 1 [First Impressions]

I first learned about BEASTARS through a friend a bit over a year ago. It was coincidentially just after I belatedly watched Zootopia and liked it. The manga was becoming very popular at the time and I thought the art was cool and the concept interesting. I didn’t pick it up, but it was sort of in my radar. Now that there’s an anime, I definitely felt curious about it, supposedly the story was pretty good and I’m not particular about CGI.

The first thing to notice about the show is the animation, it’s definitely not what you find in anime commonly and actually there’s been just a handful of shows completely animated in CGI in the last few years. Houseki no Kuni, another title by Studio Orange was very acclaimed, so I figured that this might be something worth a try as well.

The episode starts with Bem, a herbivore, being chased and killed by someone we cannot see but is implied to be a carnivore. It’s also implied they know each other and the predator is a student. It’s a little hard to make out what kind of animal it is, but I’d guess a bear or a wolf. I can’t say it was the wolf, but he’s the main character, so maybe.

The murder shakes the school and the relationships among the student body. It’s significant that Bem was part of the drama club where both hervibores and carnivores had civil relationships, but now things will very likely cleanly split into opposing groups again.

The main character, an antrophomorpic wolf called Legoshi, seems pretty interesting. He has a bit of a brooding demeanor, but he also seems kind and thoughtful. I’m quite intrigued by the herbivore sempai who seems to have a terrible personality, but my favorite character so far is rabbit girl. This was particularly influenced by her scene in the bathroom before she walks the school grounds at night and then her inner narrative right as she’s about to be caught by Legoshi.

I’d say it’d be a bit obvious to try and say this is an allegory for men and women or something like that. I don’t really want to go down that route and I would like to think more more about the power struggle and power discrimination that exists within this school. There still is more importance to seniority than kind in this universe, for example.

I actually quite enjoyed the animation. CGI makes movement a little strange when it’s done in budget. It sort of feels a little delayed which gives it a bit of an ethereal quality, in my opinion. Usually what happened with this, and I noticed it in Ajin and later in Houseki no Kuni is that they have to work on the facial expressions a lot. It doesn’t mean that there’s a extense range of them, but they can be pretty intense in comparison to the rest of the animation and that along with voice acting must carry a lot of intention. As I haven’t read the manga, I can’t really speak for how faithful the adaptation is, but so far I’m intrigued and I’m looking forward to seeing where this show goes.

Possibility of watching: High.

Possibility of blogging: High.

2 thoughts on “BEASTARS – Episode 1 [First Impressions]

  1. Beastar’s mangaka is the daughter of Baki the Grappler’s mangaka Itagaki Keisuke. She’s more camera-shy than her dad though.

    Apparently she’d tried to keep her family relationship secret for some time because she didn’t want to be seen as being successful due to nepotism. (Both Baki and Beastar run in the same magazine, Weekly Shounen Champion.)

    1. Interesting! I didn’t know it was a female author. Either way, I understand her wanting to keep the connection secret, but even if he may have helped with connections (who knows), I doubt she would have made it if her work wasn’t good. I also originally thought BEASTARS was an online manga because the art seemed so unorthodox, but I’ve known for a while it ran in a magazine.

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