ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Beastars,’ Volume 10

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Beastars Volume 10

Beastars is a genre-mashing manga series from Paru Itagaki that topped best of anime lists in 2020. Published by VIZ Media‘s Signature imprint, Beastars Volume 10 was given to us for review without the internal credits page for translation and lettering credits. Now in its tenth English volume, the series has taken its worldbuilding elements another step further, complicating the dynamics between predator and prey and finally answering a big question: what about interspecies, though? In the last volume, we saw Legoshi continue his training to take down Tem’s killer, watched a puma accidentally rip off his friend’s arm, and saw more of the Black Market’s intricacies. Now in Beastars Volume 10, Itagaki takes the time to add nuance to the Black Market and the relationship between predator and prey that has everything to do with class and less to do with fang.

Beastars’ central characters are the red deer Louis and grey wolf Legoshi. Louis is an herbivore striving to be in control, and as the leader of the Shishi-gumi gang, he has achieved his goal, lording over lions and controlling the Black Market. On the other hand, Legoshi is a carnivore in love with a dwarf rabbit who dedicates his life to protecting all creatures and is currently looking to exact justice against his friend’s killer.

Itagaki has shown us Louis’s background and mapped out why this once normal over achieving schoolboy has now dedicated himself to becoming a predator. In previous chapters, we learned that Louis was once held captive to be sold to the highest bidder as live food. Still carrying the tattoo of his confinement, this has served as a way to understand his drive and ultimately his trauma pushing him towards leading a pack of lions.

In Beastars Volume 10, Itagaki brings readers to the Black Market where a carnivore is chained and on-sale, while a dying herbivore asks to cut pieces off him to restore his own virility. Carnivores, it would appear, are also on the menu. This leads directly to explaining why Ibuki, Louis’s righthand lion, has supported and understood Louis since day one. Ibuki also wears a tattoo, signifying which part of his body is good to eat and why.

Beastars remains a title that does more than just posit a world of carnivores and herbivores. Itagaki creates a complex world where the answers aren’t as simple as nature and are complicated by money and power. Not only that, but while we get to see Legoshi confront Riz about Tem’s murderincluding a bloody bathroom fightwe also get to see what Legoshi’s childhood was like. While volume 11 will have more information about Legoshi’s familial history, Beastars Volume 10 adds even more complexities to the world of Beastars. 

While it’s simple to see the world of Beastars as one divided by predator and prey, it’s also one divided by species within those. Reptiles, for example, fall into their own category. While we don’t know the specifics, the reveal of Legoshi’s grandfather being a komodo dragon offers up two things: a future for Legoshi and Haru and opens the door for more discussions on species relationship and discrimination. This is the first time that we’ve gotten a chance to peak into Legoshi’s history and the first time that, as a reader, I understood the complexity of his position beyond just romance.

Between the reveal of Legoshi’s grandfather and a confrontation with Riz the brown bear, Tem’s murderer, scheduled to happen in a matter of days, Beastars Volume 10 acts like a calm set-up to what will assuredly be a bombastic conclusion to the arc. With volume 11 of the series set up to pull off a lot, Beastars continues to be a series with nearly perfect pace, revealing aspects of its world in perfect timing with readers’ expectations.

Beastars Volume 10 is available from booksellers on January 19, 2021.

Beastars Volume 10
5

TL;DR

Between the reveal of Legoshi’s grandfather and a confrontation with Riz the brown bear, Tem’s murderer, scheduled to happen in a matter of days, Beastars Volume 10 acts like a calm set-up to what will assuredly be a bombastic conclusion to the arc. With volume 11 of the series set up to pull off a lot, Beastars continues to be a series with nearly perfect pace, revealing aspects of its world in perfect timing with readers’ expectations.