When watching movies like Zootopia or Kung Fu Panda, have you ever wondered what life as an anthropomorphic animal is like? Luckily, Beastars, an anime import that just landed on Netflix, addresses all of the speculation.
Based on a manga by Paru Itagaki, Beastars focuses on Legosi, a gray wolf, and his high school life. The day to day takes a turn for the dramatic when a carnivorous student eats an alpaca at school. Tensions rise between the carnivores and the herbivores, as the latter see the former as monsters and the former are tired of the prejudice against them. Legosi, being a huge and menacing-looking wolf, is looked at in fear by all the other students. His close peers know that he wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Soon after these events, Legosi sees a white rabbit named Haru by the fountains and instinctively lunges at her. The next day, when he’s forced to face the rabbit, he realizes that he may like her. Legosi grapples with his feelings, hoping to figure out if his desire to be with her is from a primal urge to eat her or love.
While this is happening, Legosi’s carnivore peers at school are struggling to keep their meat-wanting desire in line, as some of them have veered off and started to consume blood and meat from the black market.
Beastars is animated by Orange, the studio behind Land of the Lustrous, so you can expect to see beautiful animation using 3D models — which is pretty hard to pull off when it comes to anime.
Easily the best part about Beastars is the detail Itagaki puts into the world. Carnivores can’t have meat, since that would be eating the flesh of their allies. They can, however, eat eggs to get their protein.
Beastars thoughtfully addresses the problems that human-like animals would face: Can animals crossbreed to create hybrids? How do you make sure the big animals don’t step on the small ones? There definitely has to be an underground market for selling animal corpses to carnivores, right?
That all being said, despite the fact that the characters in the show are cartoon animals, Beastars isn’t for children. The show depicts sex and violence in the same way a teen drama would, which could take you by surprise if you’re not expecting it.
It also has this sick stop-motion opening with a banger theme song.