Beastars continues to be an intriguing character piece that focuses on the troubled psychology of our teen animal protagonists. Volume 2 introduces a new character who seems to be looking to stir up conflict and we also learn a surprising fact about the Drama Club that only raises more questions.
Legoshi is thrown off kilter when he runs into Haru, the rabbit he chased and injured the night before, and is so wracked with guilt that he has troubles meeting her gaze. Haru doesn’t seem to have a clear memory of the event and doesn’t recognize Legoshi. Seeing his weird behavior, she assumes that he’s seeking a sexual encounter with her, leading to a rather awkward situation. Meanwhile, the date of the Drama Club’s production of Adler is fast approaching and Louis’ leg injury seems to be getting worse. Will he be able to make it through his performance as the lead? And what will Legoshi, who longs to go unnoticed, do when he gets tapped to play a minor part in the play?
This volume drives home what a powder keg of tensions this school, and society, truly is. In the previous book, Louis had made it clear that he had a message that he was trying to send with the Drama Club’s play, and he spells out what that is more explicitly here. By casting carnivores in all the villain roles, he is trying to present an herbivore hero who is just as strong, or stronger than, a carnivore. Louis is obsessed with strength and abhors showing any signs of weakness, which causes him to push himself way too hard and stubbornly put off seeing a doctor about his leg. This is also the source of his fixation on Legoshi; he’s annoyed that a large carnivore like Legoshi would slink around in the background trying to go unnoticed instead of using his power, and he feels that Legoshi is actually being condescending to herbivores by acting that way. But when he confronts the wolf about it, Legoshi has a very different view on the situation, stating that the world doesn’t need someone like him to be strong but that someone like Louis could change the world for the better if he were to be powerful.
Not all carnivores seem to feel the same way as Legoshi however, and this volume introduces us to the character of Bill, a Bengal tiger who acts as a foil for Legoshi and stirs up conflict in the club. Bill wants to show off his power, not hide it away the way Legoshi does, and he’s much more aggressive. He pushes Legoshi during their rehearsal of a fight scene and seems to be challenging Louis during their conversations. Bill is also into some shady hobbies, and it’s revealed that there is black market that deals in things like rabbit blood. Clearly there are a lot of carnivores who are just as unsatisfied with the status quo as Bill.
It seems like the Drama Club is chock full of emotionally unstable individuals and we learn in this volume that this is by design. The Drama Club has a special recruitment policy where students need to be invited to join the club and apparently only students with traumatic pasts are asked to join. The goal is to allow them to use art as a means of expressing themselves and working though their feelings. This means that all the Drama Club members have secrets in their past they aren’t revealing to their classmates and that we have more mysteries to puzzle over, like what tragedy lies in Louis’ past has caused him to be so intense and untrusting of others?
On top of adding more mysteries, this volume also gives us the beginnings of a romance, as Legoshi seems to be attracted to Haru and, after their little misunderstanding, Haru seems to find him interesting as well. I have mixed feelings about this development. On the one hand, I think Haru and Legoshi would make a fun couple, as her gumption and openness would compliment his more reserved nature. On the other hand, the manga seems to be linking Legoshi’s violent and sexual urges together, which is not a great message to send. I guess I’ll have to wait and see how things develop on that front.
Beastars continues to be an engrossing read and I enjoyed this volume a lot. We still don’t have any real clues about the murder of Tem and I’m even more curious about Louis since the revelation about the Drama Club’s recruitment policy, so I’m looking forward to reading more!
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10
For more information on Beastars, visit Viz Media’s website: https://www.viz.com/read/manga/beastars-volume-2/product/6038/paperback
What did you think of this volume? Are you excited for the upcoming anime adaptation? Be sure to let me know in the comments. Also, be sure to check out my reviews of the other volumes in the series:
- Beastars Vol 1 Review
- Beastars Vol 3 Review
- Beastars Vol 4 Review
- Beastars Vol 5 Review
- Beastars Vol 6 Review
- Beastars Vol 7 Review
- Beastars Vol 8 Review
- Beastars Vol 9 Review