Hello and welcome. I finally got around to a second watch of Beastars 2nd Season. It solidified my first impression of being quite excellent, though with a few weaknesses like any good anime has. Let’s review part 2 of the story of Legoshi the gentle wolf and his experiences with herbivores and fellow carnivores alike. Unlike my usual reviews, this post will consist of some relatively unorganized ramblings about Beastars Season 2. After I’ve got that out of my system, I’ll add a mini-review section that covers more technical aspects such as visuals, audio, and story quality. Without further ado, let the rant begin!
We might as well start with a look at the psychology of Legoshi. I view him as a relatable, courageous, and truly heroic character first and foremost. That being said, there are also those behaviors and thoughts of his that annoy me. Being thoughtful, quiet, and altruistic comes with negatives on the flipside. Despite his continued efforts to resist and reject meat, Legoshi remains unreasonably hard on himself, and never ceasing to view himself (and sometimes other large carnivores) as problems. He seems to have self-shaming and perfectionistic tendencies in more than one area of life, too. Legoshi also berates himself for having a dirty dream about Haru, for instance.
There’s more. This wolf’s attitude of “I have to love them from the shadows” is irritating. It’s true that he poses a danger to herbivores at times, but it’s unreasonable to punish himself into being a loner forever. Other things that bother me about Legoshi are his refusal to tell Haru important information and his attitude about fighting Riz in the last two episodes. Even though Haru is constantly worried about Louis, Legoshi won’t tell her what’s going on. And about the fight, well… on the one hand, I admire that Legoshi doesn’t simply want Riz to suffer for long years in prison. But on the other hand, it’s insane and stupid to be willing to literally die in that private fight. Legoshi has no self-respect. But that’s enough about the wolf for now.
Now let’s get into some of the meat of this second season (pun intended) by looking at Riz the brown bear. The anime did a good job showing us important facts, thoughts, and feelings related to this character. It can be difficult to present a violent antagonist character as anything but evil, but Beastars made sure to show us Riz’s more sympathetic sides, too. Bears in the Beastars universe must go through quite the painful struggle simply for being born as bears. They must, for example, take daily medication that weakens their muscles and predatory instincts, also causing awful side effects like migraine headaches and long-term insomnia.
For an especially large bear like Riz, who reacted especially badly to the medication, the presence of psychological disorders would be expected. And indeed, Riz suffers from a sense of pervasive loneliness and a hopeless resignation to the fact that nobody will ever understand him. It also bothered Riz that everyone in the drama club assumed he was a big sweetheart and could do no wrong. It’s not that Riz wanted them to think badly of him; but he wanted his pain to be seen and acknowledged. The only person who truly tried to get to know Riz was, of course, Tem the alpaca.
We all know that didn’t end well, but I want to touch on Riz’s psychology related to his friendship with Tem. It’s likely that this was his first (and perhaps only) true friendship. Riz has an intense personality, and had felt alone for years, so the nature of his bond with Tem was strong, emotional, and almost obsessive. There may have even been a romantic side to it, from Riz’s perspective anyway. He let down all his walls and opened every part of his heart. Unfortunately, his lack of sense in doing this– and in stopping his medication– led to the ultimate tragedy.
As someone interested in character psychology, I found it extremely interesting to see how Riz coped with what he had done. During his first fight with Legoshi, the bear reveals wounds on his body and explains that they were self-inflicted. Besides self-harm, Riz also tries to fool himself with cognitive tricks that reframe the reality of what happened. For instance, he at one point claims that Tem consented to be eaten. He also glorified the experience of eating Tem, calling it the peak of his young life and the proof of true friendship between herbivore and carnivore. By the end of the season, Riz is awoken from his delusions, but you can see that they ran deep for a few months.
Now it’s time for a few notes about everyone’s favorite bunny girl. Haru was one of my top favorite characters in the first season. I liked her direct personality, surprising courage, and sexual agency. In the second season, Haru’s character gets much less focus, and is largely left out of the plot. That was pretty disappointing. In the relatively few scenes with the rabbit girl, it becomes clear that she’s very much in love with Legoshi. She has started turning down sexual offers from others at school. Although she worries about Louis, Haru states that she doesn’t think of him as a romantic partner anymore. Despite her feelings for Legoshi, however, she continues to have great difficulty understanding what’s going on in the wolf’s head. And I don’t think anybody can blame her. Legoshi is hiding important truths from her, as well as emotionally backing away because of his own insecurities. I hope Haru gets more development in the third season.
Many characters, minor and main, saw some interesting moments and/or solid development in this season. To go over all of them would make this post much more exhaustive than what I envisioned. Similarly, it would take too long to detail everything we learned about the lore of the society in Beastars. But let me give one quick example of each case. For characters, I loved the interactions of Tao the panther and Kibi the tapir. When Kibi forgave Tao for the accidental injury and reestablished their friendship, it was such a beautiful and moving moment. For world-building, it was interesting to learn more about business in the dark market. Sometimes, carnivores can be the victims, too. We saw this portrayed brutally in the case of the alligator who was forced to sell his body parts to pay off his debts.
With regards to new information in season 2, it’s impossible to not mention the bit about bugs. Fair warning: I am going to ramble about this a lot. It seems that some carnivores consume large insects to build their muscles quickly, and this is the equivalent of performance-enhancing drugs in the Beastars world. But Legoshi’s experience eating giant moth larvae was less like stimulant or steroid doping and more like a shrooms trip. So it’s my opinion that insects in the Beastars universe have different effects depending on species. This would explain why the moth larvae gave Legoshi such a powerful psychedelic experience. But that’s only one interpretation. Let’s look at another.
The presence of supernatural elements in Beastars has not been outright denied. This means it’s possible Legoshi’s vision was real; it could have been some kind of spiritual connection to another level of lifeform. Maybe Legoshi really did talk to a moth about the nature of life and the perspective of different organisms. Personally, I doubt, but it hasn’t been flatly refuted yet.
On a related note, whether or not they have any means of spiritual communication, I believe insects in the Beastars world are similar to hunted wild animals or livestock in our world. Compared to us humans, animals like cows or deer are far less complex and don’t communicate in the way we do. Nevertheless, they are living things with some level of sentience, and should be treated with respect. Likewise, the bugs in Beastars are an order less complex than the intelligent anthro-animals. They don’t speak, nor think in the same sense that the advanced animals do. But an individual like Legoshi would naturally come to the conclusion, as he did, that life should be respected even in supposedly “lower” forms.
That’s enough about bugs; now we’ve almost covered all that’s on my mind for this post. But wait a minute. Why haven’t I said anything about Louis? I love this character just as much as I love Legoshi or Haru. Season 2 was largely focused on Louis, giving his story and development far greater attention than that of Haru, for instance. Well, I’m not spending much time on Louis in this post because I’d like to flush everything out into a Louis character analysis in a separate post. For now, it will have to suffice for me to say that everything about this character was interesting and well-done in season 2.
I’ll discuss this more in my Louis post, but I also want to note that the Shishigumi (Leo Group) characters were also handled excellently. Ibuki the lion was truly a highlight of Beatstars season two. I’m glad the ending song animation was dedicated to him and his character journey.
I’ll always have more to say about good anime series like Beastars, but for this post, there is just one last point. This season was very strong and well-written overall, but the ending was severely disappointing. It’s not that I have a problem with the events that took place. It’s about execution. To start with, there should have been a thirteenth episode to give enough time to wrap everything up without rushing it. For example, the parts about Legoshi getting a criminal charge but being acquitted were far too hurried. Then we have the final scene with Legoshi and Haru. Let me explain the problems here.
The scene goes like this. Legoshi’s narration rushes through an explanation of what happened to Riz and Louis as well as the bit about his criminal record. Then Legoshi (who seems to be having a nice sunset date with Haru) suddenly announces that he’s going to leave school and live as an outcast. Haru is rightfully irritated. She hasn’t been given any reason for this sudden change. Judging by her confusion over Legoshi’s new scars, she doesn’t even know about the fight with Riz. So Haru stands up, starts walking away, and says in a half-ironic voice, “Maybe I’ll get a boyfriend.” Then Legoshi gives a strong reaction of panicked displeasure, and Haru keeps fussing. The scene fades to black.
What the hell? That has to be one of the worst endings of all this year’s anime. You can’t throw so much new information at viewers in the last three minutes of an episode. That’s the first major problem. The second issue is that fans have no idea what to make of the relationship status of Legoshi and Haru. Was that a breakup? Was Haru joking? Why won’t Legoshi tell her anything important? Considering that this romance is a major part of Beastars (or at least it was in the first season), the way it was left hanging was terrible for the show. If there is no third season, then this ending is even worse. I really did love Beastars season 2, but the conclusion was a serious flaw in writing and execution.
Beastars Season 2 Mini-Review
As promised, here is the mini-review section briefly covering the way I scored this anime. There are also a few things in this section I forgot to mention during my rambling. the visuals category is the longest because I haven’t said anything about it until this point.
Visuals: 7/10 (Good)
The visuals haven’t really changed from how they were in season one. That’s fine since Beastars is a rare example of an anime that uses lots of 3DCG and still looks pretty damn good. The lighting is always great, suiting the mood of each scene. There are a lot of interesting-looking effects used outside the usual style of the anime. For example, when Louis is being forced to eat meat for the first time, the whole atmosphere is dark with ominous blue, red, and purple wisps of smoke/vapor. This shows the strong sensory disgust the deer is experiencing. There are also humorous, “anime-ish” effects, like when hearts or sparkles appear around Juno in her girly moments. Other strong visual elements of this show include sincere face expressions, a few exciting and well-choreographed fight scenes, and the character designs in general. This season’s new addition, Pina the sheep, has a handsome appearance indeed.
Story: 8/10 (Excellent)
The story category looks at things like plot quality, pacing, writing, important themes, humor, and delivery of emotional content. Beastars season 2 was great all around. If it had a bit stronger structuring and a better ending, I would have probably given the story category 9/10. Still, this is a commendable score.
Audio: 8/10 (Excellent)
I haven’t seen the English Dub, but I know and love the Japanese seiyuu cast of Beastars, and they did great again this season. Legoshi’s VA, Chikahiro Kobayashi, is a new favorite of mine. Pina is played by Yuki Kaji, who famously voices Eren in Attack on Titan along with other big roles. The music throughout the anime is good, and I absolutely love the intro and outro songs. Both of them (Opening “Kaibutsu” and ending “Yasashi Suisei”) are performed by Yoasobi.
Characters: 9/10 (Magnificent)
Most of this post has been about characters, so you should already know that this category is almost perfect in my view. The characters are so well-written and interesting. Their development continues to impress me. I realize now that I didn’t mention Pina or Juno anywhere in the main section of this post, so here’s a shoutout to them. Pina is obnoxious to be sure, but he has some likeable qualities that show through when truly needed. Juno is well on her way to becoming the next Beastar. During this season, she recovered from the disappointment of being rejected by Legoshi. It was interesting to see her go out of her way to find Louis and try to bring him back.
Enjoyment: 8/10 (Excellent)
My feelings watching Beastars season 2 were overwhelmingly positive. Sure, there were a few things that annoyed me. However, there’s so much more than that to enjoy. Beastars is primarily character-driven, so what I enjoyed most was the character development. The music, voice-acting, and visuals were all great, too.
Overall Score (Average of the Categories): 8/10 Excellent
As you can see, Beastars second season came out with quite a good score. I highly recommend getting into this anime and exploring the characters and the unique world in which it is set. If you already saw season one and were wavering about watching more, then go for it. Trust me– it’s pretty good! That’s all for today so thanks so much for reading. Take care!