There is a dividing line in the world of anthropomorphic animals, between the carnivores and herbivores. In this world, eating meat is a felony. The “Beastar” is a hero who begins as a school leader. He or she transcends all the mistrust and discrimination that defines life in this world, and then, graduates to become a great public figure and world leader. At the high school, Cherryton Academy, the dividing line is between predator and prey, as Legoshi, a gray wolf (canidae), learns when he falls in love with prey, a Netherland dwarf rabbit, Haru.
As Beastars, Vol. 5 (Chapters 35 to 43) opens, Haru, has been kidnapped by the Shishi-gumi. This “Black Market” crime syndicate is comprised of 35 lions (felidae). They are known to kill and to devour herbivores, and also to decorate the entrance to their territory with herbivore corpses. The Shishi-gumi “Boss” wants to devour Haru because he believes her pure white fur holds the most delicious meat. Will Haru accept her fate?
However, Legoshi is determined to rescue Haru, whom he loves. With the help of “Goshin” (also known as “Mr. Panda”), Legoshi just might rescue Haru before she is devoured, but is he willing to pay the terrible price it may cost him to defeat a pride of lions? Meanwhile, the red deer, Louis, suffers an existential crisis.
[This volume includes illustrated text pieces about the design and the world of Beastars.]
THE LOWDOWN: The Beastars manga surprisingly keeps surprising. Since Vol. 1, each volume reveals something in this engaging world that is new to readers.
Beastars Graphic Novel Volume 5 finds creator Paru Itagaki indulging in the romance that she has been teasing since the beginning of the series. Thus far, it has been mostly a one-sided romantic affair, with Legoshi lusting after Haru with every fiber of his being. Itagaki has seemingly made her narrative revel in Legoshi's feelings. Does Legoshi want to eat Haru or to eat her out...? Smartly, Itagaki is taking her time with this plot, which keeps readers coming back for more.
Itagaki has also transformed the annoying red deer, Louis, into a wonderfully complex character. Tomoko Kimura's translation and Annette Roman's English-language adaptation brings out the contradictions and inconsistencies in Louis' personality, which helps to transform him from annoying to fascination. Of course, Susan Daigle-Leach's lettering expresses the varied and the variety in this must-read series, Beastars, and I'm beastin' for the next volume.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Readers looking for exceptional anthropomorphic comics and manga will definitely want to try the VIZ Signature title, Beastars.