「あなた鱗粉振りまいて」 (Anata rinpun furimaite)
“Scatter Your Scales”
I wonder if Itagaki Paru is a vegetarian. In the midst of all the metaphorical questions Beastars seems to put to us, that more literal one is interesting too. In the context of this mythology eating meat is certainly wrong – it amounts to cannibalism, since the “meat” is fully self-aware. But it’s undeniable that the urge to eat meat is, for a carnivore, as natural as breathing or sleeping. And she makes no attempt to dispute this – if anything, Beastars goes out of its way to show us how carnivores suffer to conform to society’s expectations.
That theme bookends this episode, albeit in two very different ways. We know Legosi has gotten weaker as a result of his diet, as the series has gone out of its way to show us. But Legosi is a vegetarian in the idealist rather than environmental or wellness sense – the act of taking a life is abhorrent to him. He agonizes – and dreams – over even consuming insects for much-needed protein. Yet the speech his meal (or rather, its unfulfilled potential) makes supports the notion that if done with mindfulness and respect, carnivorousness isn’t inherently wrong.
The headline sequence of the episode, I suppose, will be Legosi going undercover as a she-wolf in order to entreat Louis to witness his New Years Eve showdown with Riz. This is necessitated by his magical transformation after consuming the caterpillar, though if I’m honest it plays as slightly unnecessary fanservice (the “huge strike zone” bit was undeniably hilarious, though). And Louis’ suggestion that Legosi should just call the cops has really been the elephant in the room all season. Legosi is quite literally an idealist to a fault, and that idealism may have extracted the ultimate cost this week (though arrogance will have played a part in that, too).
I have no advance knowledge whatsoever but despite appearances, I somehow feel like Pina isn’t actually dead. If he is it’s a rather ignominious way to go out, and neither he nor Legosi are blameless for it. Pina is so obsessed by his own cleverness that he takes stupid risks, despite Riz effectively giving him more warning that he needed to. And Legosi’s insistence on making this a personal showdown has left Riz free to be a threat to others, something only exacerbated as Riz has abandoned his medication (which is an interesting element in itself) in order to get roided up for the fight.
We’ve seen Ibuki grow and grow in importance as this season has progressed, to the point where he’s now one of the more nuanced members of the cast. Ibuki tells Louis that he was immersed in darkness until he came along, his strength useful only as a weapon to make others fear him. “Because their bodies are strong, they have a strong sense of camaraderie. And their hunger for meat makes them look like they’re constantly in pain”. Louis’ acknowledgement of his admiration for Ibuki and carnivores in general is striking and seems an expression of the author’s feelings. Which, I think, is quite telling.
We have a ton of open questions at the moment. Is Pina really dead? What happened in that tunnel? And how will Legosi turn the tables against an opponent who clearly outguns him, bugs or no? That’s appropriate of course given that we’re headed into the season and perhaps series finale. The one constant through all this is Legosi’s idealism, which impacts even the cynical around him (and who’s more cynical than Louis) in a way real-life idealists often can (if harsh reality doesn’t obliterate it first).