Animal tales are often considered the purview of kids and fun fantasy. However, sometimes you’ll get one like Orwell’s Animal Farm, which is more a commentary about human society. Beastars also falls into that category, and you can read on for my review of Volume 5. (For reviews of other volumes, click here.)
Back Cover Blurb
Dwarf rabbit Haru has been abducted by Shishi-gumi, a gang of rogue lions infamous for torturing, murdering and devouring herbivores. The mayor offers to help, but can he be trusted when he himself is a lion? Meanwhile, Legoshi tracks Haru’s scent, determined to rescue her at any cost, while Haru both defies her captors and tries to accept her fate. Elsewhere, red deer Louis is faced with a terrible temptation…
Things were looking bad for Haru at the end of Volume 4, and now we find out just how bad. Her behavior has made her a target at school, but this time, her behavior has nothing to do with her predicament. Pure and simple, she’s an herbivore, and a scofflaw carnivore thinks that she’ll make a delicious meal for him.
The previous volume demonstrated that there are carnivores devouring nameless herbivores out of the public eye. This volume introduces the Shishi-gumi, gangster lions brazen enough to abduct victims from the general populace. Unfortunately for Haru, the boss has a taste for herbivores with pure white fur. The series earns its T+ rating with the violence that breaks out at the Shishi-gumi headquarters, but it pushes toward an M rating the way the Shishi-gumi boss terrorizes Haru. He says he just wants to eat her, but the way he forces her to strip makes it seem more like rape.
Her disappearance, of course, has both Legoshi and Louis frantic. However, in their efforts to find her, each has a game changing encounter. For Louis, the prospective beastar, it’s with the town’s lion mayor. For Legoshi, who is so frenzied he charges ahead without a plan, it’s with the black market’s psychologist panda. Thus the path to Haru’s rescue takes multiple twists and turns and culminates in an unexpected outcome.
In the midst of all the brawling on Haru’s behalf, we get a deep dive into her thoughts. I’d wondered at the motivations behind her relationship choices, and this volume lays bare her views about herself and those around her. While she certainly has a complex about her size, I don’t find the rationale behind her promiscuity particularly convincing, especially when there are a lot of herbivores even smaller than she is.
As for Legoshi, we’ve been aware of his internal conflict regarding Haru for some time. In the chaos of storming the Shishi-gumi headquarters, he finally comes to a resolution, and I look forward to seeing what it does to their interactions.
Extras include story thus far, cast of characters, character design notes, bonus comics, and the creator’s afterword.
Haru gets kidnapped! As a result, Legoshi and the psychologist panda take on a vicious lion gang to rescue her. There’s a lot of violence–some of which is disturbing–but amid the fistfights and bullets are also epiphanies that make for a dramatic and riveting read.
First published at The Fandom Post.