Beastars vol 1 by Paru Itagaki
Darting through the abandoned halls after dark, herbivore Tem desperately tries to outrun his carnivore pursuer. Tem's luck runs out in Lecture Hall 2, where he is brutally murdered. The next day, fellow members of the Drama Club cast suspicion on Legoshi, a large Grey Wolf. Little does everyone know, Legoshi and Tem were actually close friends, and Legoshi has to weather the fear and hate cast at him with the grief he feels at losing his friend. Yes, he is a carnivore, but he has been fighting his blood-lust all his life. That, and he doesn't want to be expelled, nor break the law, both of which would happen if a carnivore was caught snacking on a classmate.
I'm going back and forth a bit for my personal rating because I think the title got a little over-hyped for me. I enjoyed the story and the mystery that is built in this first volume. I really like the cliff-hanger and can't wait to get ahold of the second volume. I think there is a lot of potential to draw parallels to this dichotomous society and the racism that pervades U.S. culture. But, I didn't find myself liking the story nearly as much as I thought I would given how much I've seen others rave about it. The illustrations are a bit too simple for my taste, and a bit rough in some instances. It seems like there are certain panels that are features, and Itagaki spends a lot of time on them, then there are other panels where characters are moving and they're drawn rather roughly. I'm definitely interested enough to keep reading, so maybe successive volumes will change my mind.
VIZ rates this for Teen Plus, but I'm not sure why from this volume. The murder at the beginning does show blood, and the subject of murder itself is a bit elevated, but I'm not sure yet why this is the rating. Given that VIZ might know more about the future of the series, and the fact that the Anime also has an older age rating, I'll stick with their age rating for now until proven otherwise.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 11-12
This review was made possible with a digital reader copy from the publisher through Edelweiss.
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: July 16, 2019
ISBN: 9781974707980 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, School Life, Mystery, VIZ Media
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