「飛べ 破戒僧」 (Tobe hakaisou)
“Fly, O Corrupt One”
For me, there’s almost always been a gap between my intellectual connection with Beastars and my emotional one. I always get the sense that we’re on the cusp of something very profound with this series, and trying to figure out just what is part of the fun in watching it. But it’s rarer for it to make me feel as deeply as think, and this season has been no exception. Haru’s near-absence has been a part of that, no doubt, since it’s her relationship with Legosi that constitutes Beastars‘ most emotionally resonant thread by far.
Louis’ arc dovetails nicely with that since the dominant themes of his storyline are anger and fear. His staredown with his stepfather was a fascinating thing to watch play out, and Oguma proves himself to be made of steel just as his stepson is. He reflects openly on his inability to make any emotional connection with Louis – who he “bought with money” – and in their hard-edged way it’s clear that both of them are bothered by this. Louis isn’t used to losing confrontations, but he loses this one. Oguma makes it clear he’s willing to wait Louis out and expects him to come crawling back in the not-too-distant future.
Cosmo’s interest in Louis, as it turns out, is more maternal (or at least protective) than anything. When she asks to meet at a local bar (the owner is a herbirvore-sympathizing alligator whose best friend was a guinea pig) she’s not being predatory (pun intended). Rather, this is her way of showing gratitude to Louis for saving her – trying to convince him to cut his losses and get away from the Black Market while he can. There’s a common thread to Louis’ two encounters this week – adults who see through his braggadocio to the insecure man-child lurking underneath it. In its way, Cosmo’s intervention was rather touching.
Meanwhile, Legosi continues to bumble through interspecies and gender relationships. I’m not the biggest Juno fan but you really have to feel for her because Legosi works her over the coals (unintentionally) in a big way here. That whole business with asking to see her jaw was just brutal, but he honestly had no clue how insensitive it was. It’s all tied back to his investigation of course, as is his quest to get stronger. On that front he seems to be progressing, as he’s apparently conquered his desire for meat. In fact he buries all the victims Gouhin has had him procuring for his training – having taken the time to learn their names and backstories. That gesture seems to exemplify Legosi as much as anything could.
It’s then that we finally, at long last, get what this generally excellent season desperately needed – a Haru transfusion. It’s amazing how the emotional palette of Beastars totally changes whenever Haru and Legosi are together – everything becomes softer and warmer, and it’s much easier to feel something towards the series for a change. Their library meeting (totally her doing) was adorable, including that graphic with the string phones. Haru has every right to be pissed off, because even if Legosi feels that distancing himself is the best thing he can do for her, it’s still rather cruel. And it undercuts any vesting interest he has in what she does, and who she does it with.
Fortunately for Legosi, Haru really does seem to love him and appreciate the rare sort of soul he is. Legosi is still such a child, flipping from awkward social distancing to a marriage proposal in a heartbeat. Of course she’s thrown, and of course she says no – who wouldn’t under these circumstances – but by doing what he did Legosi has resolved the uncertainty in Haru’s mind about what he’s feeling. He may see getting married as a way of keeping her away from “horny guys”, but Haru is more experienced and understands the significance of the gesture, as absurd as it was.
Finally we have the jaw game, which was an interesting and rather dark twist. It starts with the brown bear telling Bill “Stand down, Cat Boy” when it came time to lift a heavy box – leading Bill to protest that when it comes to carnivores, it’s jaw strength that matters. This game is supposed to be “carnivores only” but Bill goads the others into showing it off – including Legosi, initially reluctant but soon realizing it could be a boon for his investigation. Unfortunately his plan of winning his way through the draw and finding his attacker is foiled when he’s trounced easily by Bill in the first match, his bite force a faction of its former 295 kg power. What’s causing this newfound weakness? It shouldn’t be lack of meat since Legosi wasn’t eating that anyway, but Gouhin’s training might still be involved in some way…