Welcome to Anime Rants. Join me today for a fresh review of the Netflix original anime series, Beast Stars.
As a disclaimer, I’m clueless about what makes visuals good, high-quality, or impressive. It seems to me like most other people can tell by just watching a few episodes, but it’s not so for me. For instance, I still don’t know why people loved the visuals in Demon Slayer so much. They didn’t seem special at all to me. So when it comes to art and animation, I mostly just go by whether I like it or not. It turned out that the visuals in Beastars were much to my liking.
The kind of animation with CGI is terrible if done poorly but it starts to be ok when it’s done well. I liked Ajin and its visuals a lot, and Beastars was even better-looking. Compared to some disaster like Berserk, this is perfect. On its own, it’s an unusual style, but I enjoy it and I think it probably took just as much time and effort as normal anime.
The character designs, face expressions, and action sequences all look marvelous. The CGI allowed for some nice, creative camera angles and movements. There were also a few stylistic effects that I liked. A lot of split-screen was used, for instance. Also, sometimes we see part of a scene played out in the space within the lines of Legoshi’s head. I remember being especially impressed with the powerful and intense fight scene between Bill and Legoshi. All in all, the visuals were great.
First I’d like to mention some of the seiyuu. This was my first time hearing Chikahiro Koboyashi (voice of Legoshi) in a main role, and he did an amazing job. I hope to hear more from him in the future. Yuuki Ono played Louis and helped carry the show with his performances. Akio Ohtsuka appeared as Gouhin the panda. It’s always a treat to hear this seiyuu’s familiar voice. He played such roles as Iskandar in Fate/Zero, Uvo in Hunter x Hunter, and Gus in Carole and Tuesday.
Sayaka Senbongi voiced Haru, and I enjoyed her performance, but felt like it could have been a little better. Her only role with which I am familiar was Mumei in Kabaneri of The Iron Fortress. I recognized Juno’s voice from somewhere and it turns out the seiyuu is Atsumi Tanezaki. She played Chise in Ancient Magus’ Bride. Her voice-acting was splendid.
Throughout Beastars, I noticed many beautiful, powerful, omninous, or funny instrumental music scores. The opening song Wildside by Ali is a lot of fun, and the ending, Le Zoo by Yuriko, was quite pretty. The good voice-acting together with memorable music and entertaining songs helped make the audio quality excellent.
The characters are all well-written and flushed out appropriately over the twelve episodes. The thing is… everyone in Beastars makes sense, and can be empathized with. That even goes for Bill, the tiger who felt like he needed herbivore blood to perform adequately under pressure. Despite character flaws such as arrogance, Louis was a character whose story and development was always of interest to me. He holds himself to insane expectations, and will power through utter agony in order to deliver.
The show did a great job with the character of Haru, especially given that so many Japanese anime demonize and insult sex enthusiasts. Sexual appetite aside, I truly enjoyed the moment when Haru talked back to the Shishigumi boss while he tormented her. It was so brave and noble! I think that says great things about the strength of her character and the positive direction in which it’s headed.
In addition to Haru, I felt that everything about Legoshi was well-done, all the more so because there are so many stereotypes about wolf characters. Legoshi held his own ground as a believable teenager.
One thing I noticed was the way Tem was not forgotten as character after his death. He stayed alive in the memories and minds of the others. We see how his loss effects their school. It shows that a lot of detail was put into the characters, even the minor ones. As a random aside, my favorite supporting character was the moody mongoose Kai.
Beastars sets up an interesting universe and provides a new insights into that world with each episode. Think of episode six, where half the time was used for an unrelated side character, the hen. This tells us how the animals in this world still eat eggs. When it comes to the world in Beastars, it is similar to our own; but I don’t just mean the clothing, cooking, buildings, and such. I mean in the sense that we humans are also animals and sometimes taken over by ancient instincts.
The themes in Beastars include instinctual nature, social harmony, and romantic and sexual relationships. Obviously some of these themes are highly mature in nature. A lot of it is about sex and relationship issues, including issues of emotional and physical compatibility. I love the way this anime explores each of the major characters as the story progresses. The unfolding plot isn’t perfect but it flows well and naturally, and is usually paced in a good way.
Personal Enjoyment: 9
I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed Beastars. I can’t believe I waited so long to watch it. Season 2 had better come soon! I’ve always loved animals, especially wolves and members of the weasel family, and I studied wildlife biology in college. That was an interesting perspective with which to watch the show. I enjoyed the way this anime included tidbits of truth about real animals. For example, bears have sensitive nerves all over their snouts, bucks do shed their antlers, and rabbits really “get around.”
Beastars also included a fair share of comedic moments, such as Legoshi’s complete helplessness and awkwardness in trying to ask Haru for her name. The theme of instincts driving thoughts and actions has always been fascinating to me. It’s relatable as well. Haru and Legoshi are my favorite characters because I feel like I have a mix of their respective issues. There was hardly a moment in this show that I didn’t love or appreciate.
Overall Rating: 8.4/10 Excellent
The way I review and rate anime series is explained on this page. Averaging the numbers for each of the five categories, we arrive at a rating of 8.4/10.0 (Excellent) for Beastars! I highly recommend this show. And that just about wraps it up for today. Thank you so much for stopping by and giving this review a read. I hope you’ll come and visit again soon. Ja, ne!
(If you enjoy Anime Rants, please consider supporting this site. At the bottom of the page, in the footer on the right, there is an option to make a $3 donation with Paypal. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’d appreciate it.)