Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 20, by Paru Itagaki

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Gosha and Yahya are in the Black Market where Legoshi prepares to work his way through the various gang leaders; starting with the Doku-gumi – a gang of Komodo dragons.

The action in this volume is top notch for this series. Even with Legoshi’s classic goofy moments, it’s a real page turner. It’s cool to read but I find it a little bit of a buzzkill for Legoshi to need to go through so many other people to get to Melon but it gives us a change to see what Legoshi has learned so far and apply it in combat. We did read through all that training he was doing so, it’s to see it pay off. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “BEASTARS” Vol. 19, by Paru Itagaki

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Louis and Legoshi meet up with Louis’ old friends from the black market, Kyu and San. Upon hearing what their plans are, Kyu begins training Louis to face Melon. Meanwhile, Yahya meets up with Gosha to talk about Legoshi’s upcoming fight with Melon.

This is one of those volumes where I feel there wasn’t much forward motion forward in the plot but it was still entertaining and scary. They stories in some parts highlights the paper thin civility of the society in this world. Legoshi is darling in his idealism but even aside for the Black Market, the whole society feels like it could implode at any point. Legoshi challenging Melon is more like this hole the mask of civility isn’t broken and everyone becomes like Melon.

Or I’m reading too much into it and it was just a cool read. 4 out of 5. 

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Lenni Reviews: “I Am a Cat Barista” Vol. 2, by Hiro Maijima

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This volume is more tales of Hachi and his café as he helps people with what ails them. This time, we meet a new character, Tama; an anthropomorphic dog who is a friend and comes to work with Hachi. While they dole out advice and comfort to their customers, Hachi shares his backstory and how he came to own a café in the first place.

This is a quick read and very touching. Someone was definitely cutting onions around me while I was reading because I’ll admit, I got teary-eyed. This is a series where everything is dreamlike and kind, leaving you feeling pleasantly at ease. I know this won’t be the type to have many volumes since there’s only so long you can keep this interesting, but I plan to enjoy it while it lasts. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “BEASTARS” Vol. 18, by Paru Itagaki

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

This volume gives us some insight into Legoshi’s friendship with Jack and how it started when Legoshi starts at Cherryton Academy after his mother dies; explaining why Jack and other canine students are so close to Legoshi. In addition, Louis returns to the now abandoned market where he was sold to find his former cellmates; San and Kyu, are still alive and living in the Black Market.

Legoshi is still an idealistic beast who manages to impress the more disillusioned around him. He’s just so earnest about wanting a better future it makes badass  characters like Kyu ready to help him in the inevitable showdown with the psycho Melon. Much like with the Riz arch, the story is taking it’s time getting there. It doesn’t feel like an artificial build up or give a dragged out feeling. We’re just getting all the pieces in place. I still love this series. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “BEASTARS” Vol. 17, by Paru Itagaki

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* This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

In this volume, Legoshi and Louis go into a secret group called the Kopi Luwak, who researches mixed beasts in order to track down Melon. They don’t realize Melon is closer than they thought as he is one of Haru’s teachers in college.

The contrast between a mixed beast like Melon versus a much more sane Legoshi is blatantly obvious. It’s easier for Legoshi to blend in while Melon’s mixed characteristics need to be hidden for him to have that fake normalcy of his day job. As sad as his back story is, it’s clear it is NOT a good thing for Melon to take an interest in you. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “I Am a Cat Barista” Vol. 1, by Hiro Maijima

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Instead of a traditional cat café, this manga has a supernatural café run by an actual cat.

If you remember way… WAAAAAYY back with Pet Shop of Horrors, this has the same vibe of the owner having the ability to give his patrons exactly what they need. But this series isn’t a horror, it’s a light, slice of life, soothing read with some fantasy elements. If you’re looking for something breezy and positive with some beautiful looking food, this is a great read.

The thirst trap of the anthropomorphic cat at the end was confusing, though… 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 15, by Paru Itagaki

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

In this volume, while we do get some wholesome moments where Legoshi meets Haru’s parents, we also get to know Melon; a gazelle/leopard hybrid who is a gleeful poacher. Yaha wants Legoshi to help hunt Melon down.

We also meet Utsugi, a jackal who refuses to eat meat and uses alcholo (and Eyes Wide Shut type parties) to supress her desires for meat.

If you’re underage, don’t watch that movie…

It’s cute to see how Legoshi is still so innocent that the mask sex drug parties embarrass him. I adore how this series keeps enough of this innocence without him being overly naive. He’s aware how serious things are around him and is trying to still be himself; not walking around with blinders on thinking everything is sunshine and roses.

Oh, and spoiler alert… Spoiler…

Still a spoiler…

We get to meet Legoshi’s mom.

4.9 out of 5. Almost perfect but I wanted more of Melon and the threat he poses.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” vol 14 by Paru Itagaki

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Still living on his own, Legoshi is approached by the current Beastar, Yahya, to speak about crime after he busted some drug dealers. Yahya is intrigued by Legoshi and wants to see how much like his grandfather, Gosha, as a way to get revenge on his old friend for picking his family over Yahya when they were younger.

I’m so used to seeing Legoshi as this affable, idealistic guy that it’s shocking when he gets intense. I won’t spoil anything but it’s such a contrast to the heartwarming way he bonds with his canine friends. And we get a new villain that I can’t wait to see in the next volume. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 13, by Paru Itagaki

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

After being arrested, Legoshi is no longer allowed to attend school. He finds a job in a noodle shop and is visited by his grandfather Gosha; a Komodo Dragon. There is also a new drug on the streets and Gosha has history with the current Beastar.

In this volume, we are also introduced to The Marines; water animals with even their own separate language and culture. Legoshi lives in the same apartment as a spotted seal who is trying to learn more about land animals. To be honest, I’d never given any thought to marine life. Incorporating them is cool and I like how Itagaki is using the fact Legoshi now lives on his own to introduce all these new concepts and characters. Legoshi’s neighbors are a trip. I love watching them interact and play off one another. And of course Legoshi is still the type to want to be a hero so he runs afoul of those drug dealers. I hope he never changes. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beast Complex” Vol. 1, by Paru Itagaki

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Taking advantage of the wealth of stories this universe has to offer, Beast Complex is a collection of stories featuring various stories of different types of beasts.

We would want to assume that Legoshi is unique in his relation to herbivores in the main series, this collection really brings to light what a delicate balance is in place and how different types of beasts handle the need to be civilized when your instincts tell you otherwise. It was nice to live in this world for awhile without the threat of a murderer hiding in the wings; just normal day to day stories from kids as friends, to drama between hosts of a cooking show. If you’re even a casual fan of Beastars, this is worth checking out! 4.7 out of 5.

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