This review contains spoilers for Paru Itagaki’s main series that takes place in the world of Beast Complex, Beastars.
With the second volume of her series, Paru Itagaki’s Beast Complex continues to expand the creative animalistic world of beastars, even if it’s only a little of the intriguing world that Paru had created since the original series.
Beast Complex Vol. 2 continues to tell anthology tales around the city where beastars occur. This volume is notable for not only putting the focus on a few residents of the Beast Apartment. This apartment building was featured in Beastars, the series protagonist Legoshi moves into in the second half of the series. Still, there’s also a story in this volume featuring Legoshi himself and his continuing relationship with his love interest Haru as they move into the next step of their relationship after Beastars conclusion.
Before Legoshi and Haru’s story, which is the last story in the volume, readers will get more insight into Beast Apartment residents such as Eugen, a pig who works a controversial job working as a taxidermist in the city. While he enjoys his career, his love for it is soon tested when he develops feelings for a peacock police officer who gives him a sinister request when he gets a job transfer to a dangerous area in the city with a high peacock death rate.
Other stories featuring the Beast Apartment residents include shiba inu model Mugi, friends Raika and Fina, and reclusive story writer Bogue, all of whom appear at one point or another in Beastars, even if it was for a chapter or two in minor roles.
The four residents, like Eugen, must deal with personal matters that hit their lives, whether it’s growing old and not doing well in their career path now, to the fear of drifting apart and trying to find inspiration for the next piece of their art.
Paru Itagaki doesn’t strive away regarding the actual problems these characters face in these stories. However, even if some of their lifestyles can be considered odd, it fits well in the world, such as Beastars, as each character finds a creative way to deal with these problems without coming to a more obvious solution to them, which causes some stories to have a surprise ending in store for the reader.
Once again, Itagaki’s style in drawing animals of all kinds, from larger animals such as bears, birds, a particularly tall and awkward wolf, or other mammals, to smaller ones such as chipmunks, gerbils, or a certain snow-white rabbit. Each has unique details related to what they are and how different they look compared to their bigger or smaller counterparts.
The central theme of Beast Complex isn’t just these characters dealing with an obstacle in their lives. With the exception of Mugi’s story, each story also involves a relationship a character has with another species of animal that forms as the story goes on and how it helps evolve their characters in the process. Raika and Fina’s story is an excellent example of this, as it involves Raika being worried that he’ll lose his friendship with Fina as she experiences changes in her life that put his job working as her chauffeur at risk.
Because of these changes, Raika strives to continue being seen as a useful friend to Fina. Another example is Eugen trying to find a lighter solution to his new friend’s dark request related to his taxidermy job, which also causes him to reflect on his dark career and hobby.
And then there’s Legoshi, fans of the original Beastars manga who want to see more of the characters and probably want to pick up this volume of Beast Complex to know what happens to him and Haru following the conclusion of that story, as well as what happened to other characters such as Louis, Juno or Jack. So for those hoping to find answers to these characters’ lives after Beastars’ controversial rushed ending, I won’t spoil Legoshi and Haru’s story in this volume but do not expect to read their story, hoping to find a more solid conclusion to Beastars.
See Legoshi and Haru’s story in this volume as a heartwarming hint as to where the next step of their relationship will go in the future, and see what you think as to where their relationship will be going next. Paru Itagaki continues to develop the world of Beastars even after the main story’s conclusion by showing us what certain characters have been doing since.
It’s good that she has taken the opportunity for this volume to shine more light on the minor characters of the Beastars universe and see how they focus on their futures, even if they’re not the characters that fans of Beastars may have grown attached to besides Legoshi and Haru. Still, for readers who are only reading Beast Complex, this is another beautiful anthology volume involving animals of different species forming new and unexpected bonds.
For fans of Beastars, Beast Complex Vol. 2 is a great companion series to read if you’re a fan of the characters in the second half of the series and want more stories in the Beastars universe as a whole as well as something to keep you hooked on the series while waiting for the final season of the Beastars anime adaptation to come out next year. However, don’t go into it thinking this is an epilogue to the series itself; think of it as a “what will happen next” and not something with finality.
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