Beastars season 2 review – a typically weird and thoughtful follow-up animal planet

July 15, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Anime, Netflix, TV Reviews
4

Summary

Beastars season 2 is as strikingly unique as ever, perhaps off-puttingly so to some, but as a continuation, it manages to flesh out its characters, themes, and narrative to a satisfying extent.

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4

Summary

Beastars season 2 is as strikingly unique as ever, perhaps off-puttingly so to some, but as a continuation, it manages to flesh out its characters, themes, and narrative to a satisfying extent.

This review of Beastars season 2 is spoiler-free.


Netflix’s Beastars is extremely popular, probably at least in part because it’s not the kind of entry-level anime you could recommend to anyone. It’s super weird and horny and if you showed it to someone who wasn’t into anime, you’d probably get a lot of funny looks. But it’s also pretty good, all things considered. It has a nice art style halfway between CG and traditional, a unique world, a plot that fuses together elements of murder-mystery and high-school drama, and a sense of weird experimentalism that makes it feel like a legitimately daring work of art. Beastars season 2, out today, retains all of these qualities while furthering the plot from the first season and delving deeper into the characters, their dynamics, and culture.

Legoshi is still on the hunt for Tem’s killer, whose identity this season reveals, while also internally grappling with his own horniness and self-worth, as ever. He continues to have relationships with Haru and Gohin which progress in different ways, flitting between two types of obsession, really, and he also has several interactions with Rokume, a rattlesnake – it just occurred to me that written down this all sounds absolutely bonkers, but here we are. Either way, Legoshi’s journey forms the arc of the second season, not so much a coming-of-age story – although it has some of those tropes – but a coming-into-their-own one, and after 24 episodes it feels earned enough.

I still prefer Louis’ story. He made a big move in the first season finale, coldly executing the head of the Shishigumi, and he finds himself in the big cat’s jaws here again as he’s forced to navigate the Black Market as a herbivore without ending up on someone’s table. It’s here that Beastars season 2 begins to properly challenge and in many ways unpack its carnivore-herbivore cultural divide while also whittling down an arrogant character’s façade to reveal a much more interesting and rounded personality beneath. This, to my mind, is the best character arc of the season, though it also does a good job of developing both Legoshi and the overall antagonist rather than letting them operate as ciphers or containers for a theme.

What worked best about the first season and continues to here is the fusion of elements – murder-mystery and high-school drama, traditional and computerized animation, anthropomorphic characters who can’t help but succumb to their animal side more often than not, and so on, and so forth. Fans of the manga will have a better idea of what’s coming, but even for those people, I think the show does a good enough job of bringing it to life that little will be lost in exchange for that prior knowledge.

Beastars season 2 isn’t typical for a Shonen, either, and anything that challenges the norms is okay in my book, even if I still feel like some of its more indulgent stylistic choices might be a bit off-putting for some. But as continuations go, this is a good one, fleshing out both the world and characters, developing the central mystery and themes, and expanding on what came before in logical, interesting ways. Maybe I’m not quite as sold on it as everyone else seems to be, but you have to give credit where it’s due.

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