「白はモノクロの中でも白いまま」 (Shiro wa monokuro no naka demo shiroi mama)
“White Remains White Even in Monochrome”
This was definitely a breather episode after a pretty frenetic run for Beastars. Even so, this series has an intensity to it that never remotely disappears – whether it’s on the surface or roiling underneath, you’re always aware of its presence. I suppose in its way this reflects what’s going on inside of Legosi, who’s dealing with the usual upheavals of late adolescence cranked up to eleven by his unusual position in this unusual fantasy world.
I suppose the same could be said of Louis. He’s only a little older but superficially a lot more mature, yet he’s kind of in the same boat. I think the difference is that Legosi wants to live a quiet life and turmoil has a talent for finding him, while Louis actively goes out and searches for it. The irony here is surely intentional – temperamentally Louis is the carnivore and Legosi the herbivore, and you get the sense each would be happier if they’d been born that way. The symbolism here runs deep, all the way to Louis forcing himself to eat meat even as it sickens him, while Legosi refuses to eat it even as his body craves it.
Juno is surely a better fit for Louis than Legosi personality-wise, not surprising given the above. She comes to see Louis at Shishigumi headquarters, and two go for a gorgeously shot stroll – and dance – through the city nightscape. There are glimpses of the old Louis here – his easy charm and dry wit – but he’s not going back, no matter how hard Juno tries to drag him. Meanwhile Ibuki and his subordinate have a conversation which confirms that Ibuki’s loyalty to his new boss transcends mere convenience.
As for Legosi, he’s managed to convince Gouhin to mentor him, but the panda is no easy master. It comes as a great surprise to Jack to see Legosi return to the dorms (and to me, at least this soon), and to everyone to see his appearance. Gouhin was rather unsparing with that scythe, leaving Legosi looking almost unrecognizable (Juno is a fan, so who knows what the hell she wants right now – definitely not her). Legosi realizes that Gouhin was right in his advice to return to the club – if he’s not there to protect the members, who will?
The problem is that Legosi is also engaged in full-time training with Gouhin at night, leaving him basically no time to rest. And Gouhin’s training is a brutal regimen to force Legosi to master his desire for meat (which is clearly still quite powerful). Even Pina (I’m amazed anyone ever doesn’t slap him) notices Legosi’s exhausted state. And then proceeds, to all appearances, to try and seduce him. It could just be that Pina is a sybaritic extremist by nature, a sexual omnivore. But I get the sense that he’s deliberately trying to mess with Legosi’s head, betraying some sort of deeper motive as yet unclear. I don’t think his arrival at the club at the time it happened was a coincidence.
Lastly it’s back to Louis, who thematically speaking has become just as central to the narrative as Legosi. This final scene almost makes it feel as if the intro with Juno was a kind of last farewell to the old Louis, as we find him demanding that his stepfather sign the papers allowing him to withdraw from Cherryton. And meeting with resistance, pulling a gun on him – I don’t think he’d use it, but it’s still shocking even given the emotional distance between them. I suppose at the least, this will be a barometer of just how far Louis has descended into the dark side.