Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 7 by Paru Itagaki

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

In this volume we get to meet the Council of Living Beings; where the adult representatives talk about how every school has to present a Beastar every year but Cherryton hasn’t presented one in five years. All of the Beastars are supposed to compete to become the next “Valiant Beastar.” Cherryton is usually the one to present this and win by popular demand but Principal Gon has been hesitant to put a kid in this position. The Council overrules him; deciding which ever Cherryton student solves the murder (the one from WAAAAAAYYY bak in the first volume) will be declared Beastar.

I think we need a slow clap for Principle Gon for being the only one to finally remember that these are a bunch of teenagers who probably shouldn’t be saddled with what an adult would have trouble dealing with. Finally, a sensible adult. So, of course he’s overruled…

We also have Legoshi dealing with some issues and needing Gohin to help him out. There are a couple new students, a badass security guard snake named Six Eyes, and finally getting back to the inciting incident of this series. I was wondering when they were going to get back to that because it’s barely been addressed since volume one. I mean, did this kid not have parents what may wanna know? Or are any police involved? Not that I’m not invested in Legoshi and Louis and all that drama but; yeah. There’s a murderer out there. Might wanna get on that. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 6 by Paru Itagaki

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

After rescuing Haru, she has a heart to heart with Legoshi while they’re holed up in a hotel before they can go back to campus. Louis also returns after being missing for two¬† months only to quit school and we get some back story on Legoshi’s roommate, Jack; a Labrador who was genetically engineered to be less aggressive than wolves in trade for higher intelligence.

While this volume is just as interesting and entertaining as the previous ones, I did do a double take as to the importance of the Beastar title. Having to call a meeting of the leaders of all the animals to put pressure on the school to pick one surprised me. In my mind, Beastar was a sort of Student Counsel President sort of position; giving them authority in the school but not really anywhere else. But it appears to be a bigger deal than I thought, making me wonder why such an important position would be given to a teenager and not an animal who is older and has more life experience. I’m sure we’ll find out, though. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol 5 by Paru Itagaki

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is suggested for mature readers.

When Haru is kidnapped and Legoshi is ready to run right into the lair of a dangerous mob boss alone until Gohin knocks some sense into him. They have to come up with a plan before Haru is killed and eaten.

We also learn more about Haru’s childhood but the real focus is on the rescue. And MAN, are they really going dark in this manga. I won’t spoil the outcome but this volume has some awesome fight scenes and completely screwed my mind up with a cliffhanger. This series really is a surprisingly addicting read and really takes advantage of the original premise set forth in volume one. I can’t wait for the next one! 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 4 by Paru Itagaki

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

In this volume, we get some back story on Haru and Louis relationship, Jack’s friendship with Legoshi, and Juno – another wolf – trying to get closer to Legoshi. We also delve deeper in to Louis’ dark past.

This volume is my favorite so far. How the darkest parts of this world are revealed to us are really creative and really go into how complicated and tenuous the truce between the herbivores and carnivores is. It’s all well and good for these teens to want to get along but much like in reality, the world at large is much more complicated and dangerous than the safe confines of their school campus. Very intriguing! 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” vol. 3 by Paru Itagaki

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

With the Festival of the Meteor on the way, the students are excited and busy with preparations. But Legoshi is distracted by his feelings for the rabbit, Haru, worried that his predatory instincts are behind the attraction.

I had a good chuckle at the Festival of the Meteor, which is to commemorate the meteor that killed the dinosaurs. This series is odd but so creative, I’m addicted to it.

This volume also has a side story about Legom, a chicken who sells her eggs part-time for extra money and introduces Juno, a wolf who develops a crush on Legoshi. It also introduces the town outside the school with a seedy underbelly of black-market meat. There’s some interesting world-building going on here and its awesome to see something this creative. Each volume has something that makes me impressed! There are some confusing action panels that made me stop and flip the page back to make sure I understood what was going on but otherwise, great book. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” vol 2 by Paru Itagaki

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

When the onstage conflict during the school play becomes too real, Legoshi struggles with his carnivore instincts as Bill, a tiger, tempts him to slip.

This volume goes back and forth as to how serious it is, which I actually like! Given the set up of predator and prey trying to coexist in peace could be all about the angst and pain but it’s just dark enough to be intriguing and provide consequences for actions but enough levity to keep it enjoyable. I give this series a lot of credit for succeeding in this balancing act so far. Highly creative and compelling even though some of the sketchy art can be a little confusing sometimes. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” vol 1 by Paru Itagaki

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

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

In this comic, the high school is divided into predators and prey and one student among them is selected to be a ‘Beastar’ – essentially their version of valedictorian as they exemplify the best of both predator and prey. But when a prey student is found dead, tensions are high and loner wolf, Legoshi – a friend of the murdered student – is struggling with his control with so much fear around him.

As I was reading this very sketchy drawn book, I didn’t think I would like it. I was concerned it would be to “on the nose” with the predator/prey aspect only to find it more nuanced than I’d assumed. This is one of the more original manga outings I’ve read in a long time. While the art style may feel strange at first, the characters draw you in. An impressive first volume and I do hope to continue this series.

And yup, totally got the Bella Legosi reference.

4 out of 5.

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