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Beastars Volume 1 Manga Review

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“Beastars” is a promising manga series.

In the first volume of writer/artist Paru Itagaki’s manga series “Beastars,” readers are transported to the world of Cherryton Academy (a high school comprised of herbivore and carnivore students). The series kicks off with a brutal murder of an alpaca male named Tem by an unknown presumably carnivore assailant. The entire school is understandably on edge after the murder. Much of the story revolves around the drama club which is putting on a play called “Adler” about a Grim Reaper. There’s plenty of backstage drama with this group as we get to know characters like a rabbit named Haru, a shady but kind hearted wolf named Legoshi, an angora goat named Els, and a red deer named Louis. Louis is a beastar which is a prestigious term for a hero/school leader who is expected to go on to bigger things in life.

Thematically, “Beastars” is a relevant and unique manga series that dives into weighty subjects such as race, judgments, and animal nature. When the series focuses on its themes and world building, it’s truly compelling. Where the series struggles a bit is with characterization and dialogue. Granted, there’s obviously a lot of room for characterization throughout the series, but it’s slightly troubling that the first volume only has two developed characters in Legoshi (the most well rounded character by far) and Louis. Part of the issue here is that the story shifts character perspectives and roams around from character to character in a rather sloppy fashion. As mentioned above, the dialogue doesn’t do the story any favors either as it’s often clunky and simplistic.

Paru Itagaki’s art style is different from the norm, but it’s a little inconsistent. The backgrounds are frequently minimalistic and some of the character designs are a bit choppy. Still, it’s refreshing to see art that takes risks and doesn’t adhere to the usual manga styles.

Last, but not least this manga contains a couple of extras that include character design notes and bonus short cartoons.

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September 3, 2019 - Posted by | Manga Review | , ,

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