「シェフの気まぐれサスペンスShefu no Kimagure Sasupensu」 ()
“The Chef’s Suspense”
It’s ironic that the most powerful and wealthiest streaming service in the world has the effect of anonymizing any anime it touches. In English, anyway. They’re the Houdini of anime distribution – they can make anything disappear. They do good work to be sure, but their obstinate refusal to adapt to the way anime fans consume content means superb shows like Great Pretender and Beastars get little to no buzz in the West. I’m not saying either of them would have been monster hits, but I think they’d get talked about a lot more than they do.
As for Beastars, it just keeps bowling ahead, burrowing ever deeper into the psychological rabbit hole (sorry, I just realized that sounded awful in context). Riz’ grip on reality is growing ever-looser as he loses himself in the elaborate fantasy he’s built up around Tem’s murder in order to process his guilt. Riz losing his sense of taste at this stage can’t be a good sign for his psyche, and while Legosi navel-gazes and worries about everything and everyone, Riz becomes an ever-more clear and present danger.
It’s not easy being Legosi, don’t get me wrong. His desire for Haru is seeking whatever outlet it can find (his dreams, for now), as he still refuses to allow himself to touch her until he’s settled everything (those goalposts have a tendency to move). Even when Haru tells him she loves him things are complicated, as she piggybacks her tearful concern for Louis on top of that declaration. I want to believe Haru when she says there are no lingering feelings between she and Louis (his dreams say otherwise), and I think she probably does herself. But I’m not so sure.
A romance between Haru and Legosi isn’t so simple as his controlling his natural carnivorous impulses (which is hardly simple in its own right). Every moment he spends with her reminds him of how mismatched they are, yet the heart wants what it wants. Things are a lot simpler for Pina, who basically seems to try to shag everything with a pulse. Sure he causes problems for himself by seeing so many girls he gets their names wrong (a mistake only a true player or total amateur would ever make), but compared to what Legosi’s dealing with, the problems of casual philandering are a pittance.
Of course Pina does have bigger problems – especially one much bigger problem. Pina maintains his bravado even when ambushed in the john (“I guess murderers have to piss too, huh?”), but when Riz almost makes a snack of his honey-scented finger even he loses his composure. I give Pina credit – he’s got balls to be sure, but more so than smarts. He’s not as afraid of Riz as he probably should be, and his act of defiance on stage in rehearsal was a perfect example of that. There are times Pina so convincingly acts like he has a death wish that I wonder if he actually might.
Pina’s plan doesn’t do anything to dispel that notion – frankly it sounds pretty reckless and foolhardy. But it does have the effect of forcing Legosi to act, which may not be an entirely bad thing. Dithering around until Riz finally loses it and kills again isn’t a winning plan, and while Legosi looks overmatched in their epic showdown at least it happens more or less on his terms. This whole business about Tem’s murder and Riz’ adolescence is a classic Beastars punch – psychologically dark and quite inscrutable.
One thing I do know – as admirable as it may be, this effort by Legosi to take everything onto his own shoulders isn’t healthy psychologically or physically. And that’s really what this season has evolved into in a sense – Legosi as much as said so this week. His ideals are genuine but no one, much less a confused and neuritic teenager, can take ownership of everyone’s troubles and act as their protector. Not should they. And I hope that’s a lesson that Itagaki-sensei is building towards here, that it’s OK for Legosi to actually start living for himself.