Welcome, one and all, to my continuing episodic review series for the anthro anime, Beastars. Today, I’m watching episode two, The Academy’s Top Dogs. Did it continue the high quality of the first episode? Let’s find out!
I’m going to start here again because there were a few new touches thrown in. I doubt I’ll keep commenting on them as a separate thing, as I don’t think there will too many completely new things as the series progresses. Still, this was a good little mix of technical stuff.
The opening theme is really fun. Jazzy in feel but with rap-style vocals, and a wonderful stop-motion video focusing on Legosi and Haru. They actually look really cute together in the video. In the same way, the ending video focuses on Legosi going through life and makes it clear that there’s a romantic edge that will grow. The ending theme is peppy and, while less interesting than the opening one, is a nice track.
The audio, on the whole, felt more complete in this episode too, with the backing music standing out a few times. In particular, when we returned to the events of the last episode and saw Legosi holding Haru. The orchestral beats of the music helped build a dark tension that was aided by the shift in visual style. From the darker colour scheme to the haphazardly animated monster, the whole scene was built to stand out against the brighter scenes. The focus on the sound of the heartbeat was a nice touch too.
In all, I’m loving how this is set up from an aesthetic standpoint so far. Orange have done a great job with the technical side of things.
Legosi’s Inner Turmoil
This big theme of this episode was inner turmoil. Legosi’s battle with his inner self was a stark reminder that he’s a carnivore at heart, and that coupled with society outlawing meat-eating has left him under pressure. He tries hard to keep himself on track, and he almost succumbed to his bloody urges here.
The thing is though, when he snapped out of it, he did let Haru go. He also tried to figure out how to convincingly lose a fight when he was drawn into with two fellow students. He also clearly felt guilt over what happened, not only feeling like he doesn’t have the right to talk to Haru, but also questioning whether, if Louis is on the righteousness, he’s on the opposite side by nature.
Legosi is a sweet character. He’s awkward, self-conscious and wants to do right, but has a lot of inner demons to battle. Something I find really delightful here is that he’s animated in a way that shows this while playing up his canine DNA. The ear wiggles when he was speaking with Louis and the quicker head movements when trying to avoid Haru were so authentic. It’s going to be fun seeing how he develops.
Pressures Of Being A Hero
Louis is certainly an odd character. He made some odd comments in the first episode but is actually fairly friendly with Legosi here. At the same time, he has an air of arrogance about him. But that’s kinda explained a little. We heard a little about the role of Beastar being equivalent to a hero or school leader and how Louis wants to attain this status. He fights through an injury to perform and does his best to stop the fight and save Legosi from his own tendency to roll over. I’m not sure whether he’s likable or not yet, but he’s certainly intriguing. And that’s a very good thing.
Haru only really appeared at the start and end of the episode, but she definitely had a rough time of it. At the start, she dealt with the fear of imminent death, only to escape. In the end, when asked about her injury, she claimed to not remember how she got it and put it down to a bad dream.
The thing is, that could mean one of two things. One, she does remember and she simply doesn’t want to talk about it. Or two, it traumatized her enough that she’s blocked it out. The second option would certainly make it harder for her and Legosi to connect as the story progresses.
Then came the scene in the shed. After Legosi helped her move some plants, she offered to thank him with food. Being awkward and self-conscious, he stalled in his response, and Haru returned to embracing how others see her. This was telegraphed a little when she commented that Legosi’s colleague ran off because he’d heard the rumours about her. And now that Legosi was acting sheepish, she clearly thought that he had too.
So, she stripped.
There were a few things to note here. The first being that the perspective being shown from Legosi’s viewpoint meant that we got a real idea of how small she is, even though she’s older than him. The big one though is the way she plays into the role. She says it’s her first time with a carnivore and that, even if he’s rough, she’ll do her best to enjoy it.
For Haru, this is what people expect her to be. Promiscuous and there to enjoy and be enjoyed by other people. At the same time, she understands that the size and species difference means it probably won’t be what she’s used to. Even with the humourous edge to Legosi’s reaction, you really feel for Haru here. Especially when you notice the clear disappointment in her when she comes to the conclusion that Legosi is only after her body.
I am assuming that Legosi is named after the famed horror actor Bela Lugosi. Interestingly with that, Lugosi did appear in the 1940’s classic, The Wolf Man. While not the main star, his character was the werewolf that bit Lon Chaney Jr.’s Lawrence Talbot. So, it does make sense as a namesake.
This was another great episode though. The themes running throughout are well done, and the animal traits of the characters are used far better than I expected. So far, this is a big thumbs up from me!
So, those were my thoughts. But what about yourselves? Did you enjoy this episode? Do you agree or disagree with any of my observations? Let me know in the comments below.
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