Content Warning: Beastars Volume 16 and this review discuss suicide
With each volume, the world of Beastars has become darker beyond belief. Last volume, Legoshi began working with the Beastar horse Yahya to apprehend the mixed-species poacher (read serial killer). But with his dreams for the future at the front of his mind, he finds himself sympathizing with the leopard-gazelle killer, Melon. But this sympathy has landed the kind-hearted Legoshi in the hospital. Now, in Beastars Volume 16, Legoshi continues his quest to find Melon, only this time, he’s confronted with a new reality. Melon isn’t working alone. Legoshi falls into a trap he can’t escape without the aid of a stranger and Louis gets an offer he might not be able to refuse.
Beastars 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, while Melon is a large part of Beastars Volume 16, the true focus remains on interspecies relationships and the children who can come from them. As B-plot, gray wolf Juno meets with red deer Louis and learns why he can’t be with her, even if he wanted to. This leads Juno and Legoshi to commiserate about the drawbacks of being in love with a beast of another species.
The action and hunt for Melon in Beastars Volume 16 is a large part of the volume, as is a new threat against mixed-species children in the volume’s final chapter. That said, this volume is strong for another reason: Legoshi’s mother. At the end of the last volume, Legoshi was in the hospital, near death from a gunshot wound from Melon. He leaves his body and sees his mother, a woman whose entire sense of self was wrapped into passing as a pure-bred gray wolf instead of the daughter of a komodo dragon as well.
In only one chapter, the opening one, we get to see his mother’s story and how he fits into it. She explains her love for Legoshi, but also how she couldn’t live anymore. It’s a somber opening that opens Legoshi up to explore grief and guilt we haven’t seen before now. Itagaki explores Legoshi’s mother’s suicide to add a lonely counterbalance to Melon’s detachment. But more importantly, to offer Legoshi perspective on his life in relation to Melon and to the future children he wants with Haru. It’s a small element that spills over from Volume 15 but manages to set the stage for the compassion and dedication we see Legoshi express as he goes after Melon one more time.
Itagaki expertly weaves together action, humor, and sadness throughout Beastars, and Volume 16 is one of the strongest examples of that. With the final season of the anime approaching, I can only hope that the season captures the somber beauty that lies beneath the eccentricities of the series as well.
Beastars Volume 16 is available now wherever books are sold.
Beastars Volume 16
Itagaki expertly weaves together action, humor, and sadness throughout Beastars, and Volume 16 is one of the strongest examples of that. With the final season of the anime approaching, I can only hope that that season captures the somber beauty that lies beneath the eccentricities of the series as well.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.