ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Beastars,’ Volume 13

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Beastars Volume 13

The world of Beastars has become increasingly darker since the wrapping of the Tem’s Killer arc. For starters, last volume showed that Legoshi has a taste for meat now that is proving troublesome. Plus he has a criminal record, and now he’s fighting off speciest carnivoes with his grandpa – who is a Komodo dragon  – in an alley.  Now with Beastars Volume 13, we get to see more of what society looks like outside the safety of a high school. While they were still children when Legoshi began frequenting the Black Market and Louis became a mob boss, it’s very clear that their childhood is long behind them now whether they are ready for it or not.

Beastars Volume 13 is created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Paru Itagaki and localized and published in English by VIZ Media through their Signature imprint. This volume is translated by Tomo Kimura, adapted in English by Annette Roman, and features touch-up art and lettering by Susan Daigle-Leach.

Now that he has a criminal record, Legoshi is working in a noodle shop instead of attending high school. This job begins to connect him to other members of society that we had yet to see, including denizens of the sea where the values and laws are surprisingly different from those on land. As we see Legoshi interact with these new characters, Itagaki is given the chance to flex her world-building muscle by showcasing even more layers to the society of her fantasy world.

With a new spotted seal and an expanded relationship with Seven, the lamb nextdoor neighbor, we begin to see different perspectives of the world. For the sea creatures we see an entirely different way of thinking about the world, and from Seven we see the way herbivores are ignored while carnivores are not. These little slice of life moments build out what it means for Legoshi to enter the working world and see it as an adult.

But that’s not all. Last volume we also learned that the newly introduced Beastar horse Yahya and Legoshi’s Komodo dragon grandfather Gosha have a long history. From friendship to antagonism, Beastars Volume 13 has the two of them attempt to settle their historic grievances through battle all while a new drug hits the city’s streets.

Beastars Volume 13 is very different from where the series started. In fact, I haven’t seen a more concise and interesting way of showing a character grow over time than by slowly removing the world around Legoshi and pushing him into a new one. Sure, Louis’ time with the Shinigami gang was dark and important, but Legoshi’s growth over time combined with him unwillingly losing the protection of his childhood and the school system is a tragic and powerful device that helps push his character development even further.

Itagaki’s world is filled to the brim with history and context that we keep seeing expanded through character work like Gosha, Legoshi’s grandfather. This creates a dynamic world that is moving and living outside our main characters in a way that is set to make it iconic. While we see the world expand through new characters and situations, it’s the intimate relationships and connections between them that solidifies the strength of Beastars as a series.

Beastars Volume 13 continues Itagaki’s stride of improving with each volume, with a story that is accelerating but also settling its characters into a history, one of the bonds we make with people, the pressures they put on us, and how society comes into play with it all. From Gosha’s family history to his friendship with Yahya and even Legoshi’s own friendships, Itagaki has created a world that keeps growing in the best ways.

Beastars Volume 13 is available wherever books are sold July 20, 2021.


Beastars Volume 13
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TL;DR

Beastars Volume 13 continues Itagaki’s stride of improving on each volume. With a story that is accelerating but also settling into a history, one of the bonds we make with people, the pressures they put on us, and how society comes into play with it all.