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BEASTARS Episode 11 Review: Doomed Romance

BEASTARS Episode 11

Wrapping up last week’s confrontation with the Shishigumi, BEASTARS episode 11 sees Haru and Legosi share a special romantic moment – but things quickly take a turn for the worse. Louis, too, is set on a dark path. So while this arc may be all but over, our story is just beginning.

Even though last week’s episode was all about clobberin’ time, it must be said that this week’s episode is far more brutal. The level of graphic detail in the clash between Legosi and the boss of the Shishigumi is honestly surprising, especially given that other episodes have shied away from more mature content. Furthermore, the magic of animation makes the violence of the battle that much more palpable, and the addition of color makes the gore that much more shocking. The part where Legosi tries to rip his arm out from the fangs of Shishigumi boss was even graphic enough to make me wince.

Yet, the whole appeal of this scene in the original manga is how the brutality is contrasted with more mellow tones of a softer scene between Jack and Legosi, cut in with the battle. Their conversation about Legosi and his pet beetle is also important as it is actually more about Legosi’s feelings for Haru than anything else, as he worries that he is simply taking care of his pet and lusting after Haru for selfish reasons.

BEASTARS Episode 11

In this sense, Studio Orange’s decision to follow the clash fairly closely as it unfolds in chapter 41 of the original manga pays off well. There are a couple of cuts made here and there to the dialogue for time-saving purposes, but it’s mostly the same. Even the slightly disconcerting scene of Legosi’s pet beetle flying off his hand as a ghost is largely inspired by the implications of the paneling of the original manga.

Indeed, as I’ve said multiple times, we are now well into the better parts of BEASTARS, where Paru Itagaki’s writing sees a marked improvement. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if Studio Orange’s job gets even easier from here on out.

BEASTARS Episode 11

Even so, this episode does see some of the studio’s past choices come back to haunt them. Louis’ surprise entry to the fight, blasting the Shishigumi boss’ head off with a handgun before he can do the same to Legosi, simply doesn’t have the same amount of narrative weight in BEASTARS episode 11 as it does in the original manga, because an earlier scene featuring Louis and Bill – the lion who mauled Legosi back in episode 4 – was cut from episode 8. This is important as it is during this scene that we see Louis handling a gun for the first time, signaling the hidden dark side of his personality and how trying to fit in with the society around him might, in fact, be turning him off the straight and narrow.

Nevertheless, Louis’ turn to darkness is still apparent in this episode and the shock from it should still be palpable for anime-only viewers – leading very nicely into a possible season two.

A Night at the Hotel Rose

Moving into its second half, BEASTARS episode 11 sees Legosi and Haru end up staying together at a love hotel (the Hotel Rose, by the way) setting up a special moment for the unlikely couple that quickly turns sour.

Before we discuss those developments, however, I’m happy to say that one of Orange’s other inconspicuous inclusions from the original manga is very encouraging. As Legosi and Haru eat some yakisoba, they exchange a brief couple of lines about Legosi’s grandfather, foreshadowing events that come later on the original manga. The studio could’ve easily cut this line for the sake of time (as they did at other points during this episode) but including it hopefully means that the team are planning to go that far into the manga with a second, if not third and fourth season. Fingers crossed.

There’s also the hilarious image of Legosi on an escalator, calling back to episode 5 and greatly extended from chapter 43 of the original manga, which perfectly encapsulates his panicking adolescent mind. Never change Legosi, never change.

BEASTARS Episode 11

But the real meat of BEASTARS episode 11 comes when Legosi and Haru are left alone in the hotel room. Viewer anticipation is at an all-time high – will they, or won’t they? Indeed, Legosi seems pretty sure that they will. He even warns Haru that he’s in “man mode” before agreeing to stay with her, and he doesn’t waste much time getting going once the opportunity presents itself.

For those who were worried that such a risqué scene might come off as mere fanservice (perhaps for those who like the series because it is made up of anthropomorphic animals), rest assured. Studio Orange has the gentle nature of the scene as it exists in chapter 43 of the original manga down pat, focusing on the minute motions of the characters to create such an atmosphere: Haru is hoisted up by the weight of Legosi as he sits down on the bed, Legosi clasps his hands nervously, and Haru’s hands gently caress his face as she assures him that it’ll be okay.

But, unfortunately, things don’t turn out to be very okay. A hurdle is cleared when Legosi confesses that he was the one who tried to eat Haru back in episode 1, which Haru secretly knew – or, at least, reckoned – was the case all along. But things then take a turn for the horrific as Haru’s instincts compel her to try and climb into Legosi’s open predator mouth – leaving off in the middle of chapter 44 on a beautiful still frame that reminds me of the iconic ‘postcard memories’ of the late, great Osamu Dezaki.

BEASTARS Episode 11

So while BEASTARS episode 11 might have resolved the problem of the Shishigumi, it’s quite clear that a happy ending is not in store for our main characters. Despite coming to terms with his feelings for Haru as a result of this arc and now having them reciprocated, Legosi’s romance with Haru may be impossible, after all. Perhaps their instincts and respective roles as predator and prey can only lead to a doomed romance, after all.

Indeed, such is the central question of the entire series. But even the problems and conflicts of those around our main characters are far from being resolved just yet. For starters, how will Juno react to her apparent loss in the battle for Legosi’s heart? Furthermore, what on earth is going to happen to Louis now that he’s strayed so far from the path of good?

Such pertinent questions make it clear that while BEASTARS episode 11 may be the penultimate episode of Studio Orange’s anime adaptation, the story of Paru Itagaki’s world is just beginning. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a season two announcement fairly soon (hopefully just at the end of next week’s episode, like was the case with Dr. STONE). In the meantime, you can also check out VIZ Media’s release of the original manga in English.

You can watch BEASTARS episode 11 via Netflix (Japan only).

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