REVIEW: ‘Beastars,’ Volume 17

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Beastars Volume 17 - But Why Tho

Beastars Volume 17 is wildly different from where the series began. While we haven’t been focused on high school problems since the first seven volumes, the world of Beastars has been getting deeper, darker, and our lead Legoshi has been growing incredibly fast. The series 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.

Last volume, Legoshi found himself heading towards the bottom of the sea, thrown in by the Shishigumi and saved ultimately by his propensity to learn from those around him, particularly his seal neighbor. Now, with a new determination to capture Melon, the psychopathic jackal-gazelle hybrid who now leads the lion gang, Legoshi and Louis reunite to take back the Shishigumi and capture Melon. To do this, Louis, Legoshi, and the Shishigumi deserters head to the secret organization Kopi Luwak to get information and make a plan. But the resulting negotiation triggers Legoshi’s craving for meat. Meanwhile, dwarf rabbit Haru innocently crosses paths with Melon, unaware of the danger. She finds herself once again the prey to a meat-eater, and while she’s unaware, the stage begins to be set for the finale of this arc.

The truth about Beastars Volume 17 is that that synopsis doesn’t do the volume justice. There is a lot of scheming that happens in this volume, but at the same time, the intrigue isn’t the most potent part of the story at this point. The strongest part of Beastars Volume 17 is that it is all about parallels between Legoshi and Louis. The former is attracted to and moved by a need to protect and love herbivores. After a night with his fiance, Louis realizes that he is driven to dominate carnivores in a way that he begins to feel that he is overpowering his destiny. While he isn’t looking for love necessarily, he is looking for intimacy that he can’t find in the arms of his red deer fiancee.

While Louis is anything but chaste, as he imagines kissing Juno while with his fiance, Legoshi is trying his hardest to push down any need for physical intimacy he may have. And Haru is becoming frustrated with it. Legoshi pushes Haru away out of fear of devouring her and tries to keep the line in the sand firm. Their physical size difference is already a significant barrier. Legoshi’s fear of hurting her is key to keeping the two in a G-rated environment even when Haru spends the night.

Itagaki explores intimacy in a deft way that adds to the series considerably. Whether it’s physical intimacy that is explicitly shown or the act of withholding it, Itagaki allows us to fully understand why the characters act the way they do. We get to see what drives them forward and holds them back. Legoshi and Louis are two sides of the same coin, and it’s how they come together to take down Melon that adds weight to that situation.

Additionally, in Beastars Volume 17, Itagaki goes to great lengths to map out who Melon is and why he keeps killing. In search of meat to make him taste something that isn’t disgusting, Melon is driven by self-satisfaction first and foremost. His trajectory towards Haru with this reality is what makes it all the more terrifying and something I can’t wait to see unfold in Volume 18.

Beastars is a series with emotional depth, and Volume 17 lays a solid foundation in exploring everything in a way that goes beyond expectation. The story is only getting more intense with this volume, and it’s clear that Itagaki has no intention of slowing down.

Beastars Volume 17 is available wherever books are sold now. 


Beastars Volume 17
5

TL;DR

Beastars is a series with emotional depth, and Volume 17 lays a solid foundation in exploring everything in a way that goes beyond expectation. The story is only getting more intense with this volume, and it’s clear that Itagaki has no intention of slowing down.