「そんな鉛を喉に詰まらせて」 (Son’na namari o nodo ni tsumara sete)
It almost defies belief, but Beastars is actually getting more weird, mysterious, and psychologically dark. I miss Haru being more prominent in the narrative, because she and Legosi are great together and she’s really the redeeming element of the story in some ways. But she’s become mostly a concept in this season, the series’ dark matter – and that’s allowed her to influence the direction more profoundly than she could if she were omnipresent. It’s fascinating and counter-intuitive, as Beastars so often is.
It’s pretty hilarious that all Legosi’s fellow carnivores want to know is, “what’s it like for a wolf to fuck a bunny?” But as funny as it sounds to say it, if these animals were real and effectively human in terms of intelligence and emotions, that’s exactly what those boys would be obsessing over. Of all the allegorical facets in the symbolic funhouse mirror that is Beastars, the one that most consistently reflects truly is “carnivores = males herbivores = females”. It doesn’t always sync up perfectly with Itagaki’s writing, but it makes too much sense for there not be be at least a grain of truth to it.
Meanwhile, Louis’ journey into the dark continues to be possibly the season’s most fascinating thread. I confess I’m not fully certain I understand why, but via flashback we now see that he went to the Shishigumi base fully intending to die. Not before taking out their leader in stone cold fashion of course, a last act on Haru’s behalf. I still don’t think Louis loves her – or anyone – the way she does him, but it’s clear she did mean something to him. With the task completed he basically orders the Shishigumi henchmen to eat him, but things don’t come together in quite such a straightforward fashion.
It’s funny that the whole leader thing was a complete accident, the by-product of the outside-the-box thinking Shishigumi #2, because Louis is a natural born gangsta if ever there was one. At first he totally resists the idea, and even turns the gun on himself to take the choice out of their hands. But he survives, and the deputy persists – eventually setting up a meal where Louis is forced to eat buffalo steak. This scene is profoundly disturbing even more than it ought to be (not to mention Louis would get physically sick eating that), but damn, it’s powerful. And I think Louis comes to realize the truth, that this development fits him like a glove. And the power it affords him is not entirely unwelcome either.
Back at school, there’s a new playa at the drama club, a Dall Sheep named Pina (Kaji Yuuki, not quite right for the role as usual). He seems an obvious candidate to fill Louis’ prospective beastar role in some ways – a glib and handsome guy with majestic horns – but apart from their lasciviousness they seemingly couldn’t be more different. Pina creates drama of a different sort with his arrogant and splashy arrival, exactly the sort of distraction Legosi would rather avoid as he investigates Tem’s death, and I suspect an ulterior motive at play with this bighorn.
The carnivores – at whose meeting Legosi makes a rare appearance, because he basically assumes one of them murdered Tem – continue to press him over his night with Haru. Eventually Legosi more or less admits nothing happened (which I figured), and declares he’s content to remain a virgin for life sustaining himself of the memories of that night. But as always with Beastars, things are not quite as simple as they might be.
This whole notion of Haru being Legosi’s “religion” takes the story into some pretty difficult psychological places. “My heart is always with the herbivores”, he muses to himself. And after another chaste evening with Haru (it aborts even before they can kiss), Legosi asks her if she still loves Louis. He resigns himself to “protecting her from afar”, but is that really what either of them want? Legosi is a rare breed indeed, a strange and complicated person who doesn’t fully understand himself any more than we can fully understand him.