Legosi and friends take a step into the big wide world this week in BEASTARS episode 6, as they visit their nearest city on an errand for the Drama Club in preparation for their performance at the upcoming Meteor Festival. Yet, things quickly turn sour as they stumble into the infamous ‘back-alley market,’ showing Legosi that the adult world isn’t as pretty as it may seem.
BEASTARS Episode 6: Structure and Adaptation
Just as I said last week that the BEASTARS anime would probably get more and more faithful in its adaptation of Paru Itagaki’s original manga from now, BEASTARS episode 6 hits us with a boatload of changes that I have no choice but to discuss.
The big one is the fact that Studio Orange has chosen to skip an entire chapter of the manga, that being chapter 20. Their decision is certainly warranted as it’s a disconnected episode from the rest of the main plot, but that particular episode is perhaps one of the best stories that the manga has told thus far – it involves Legosi and his love of egg sandwiches. Here’s hoping that it gets its time to shine later on.
Another absence is a scene at the beginning of chapter 22, where the newly-introduced character of Juno daydreams about her fellow grey wolf, Legosi, following their first encounter in chapter 21 – which is adapted, by the way.
I have my suspicions that Studio Orange will be using this scene otherwise cut from BEASTARS episode 6 next week given that they’ve done exactly the same in the past, but also because this scene is really important in terms of showing Juno’s growing affection for Legosi, which becomes the source of a fair amount of discord later on.
There’s also a few other, more minor changes that were made from the original manga in BEASTARS episode 6. First off, the layout of the panda doctor Goushin’s office has been changed around so that the photos of his victims are in the same room where Legosi is chained up, instead of being in a separate room like in the original manga.
This makes things a lot easier for the viewer to understand and saves Studio Orange a little bit of time during this episode for more ambitious sequences, which I’ll discuss later on.
Similarly, the location for the vulture Aoba and Legosi’s conversation about the back-alley market has been moved from a corridor to a more static room in BEASTARS episode 6, presumably in the dorms of Cherryton Academy.
This change better underscores the passage of time between the previous scene where their outing to the city was decided and their visit to the city proper, as a shift from day to night is more clearly choreographed. While we’re at it, I should also mention that Studio Orange cut a tiny scene from chapter 22 where Legosi struggles to understand the metro – but by this point, we’re just nitpicking, so I’ll stop.
All in all, it is surprising to see Orange make so many adaptational changes this late in the game. Itagaki’s writing is, in my opinion, strong enough at this point to allow for a more faithful adaptation – but, clearly, they aren’t interested in taking the easy route.
Previous episodes have demonstrated how engaged the entire staff are with the original manga and how passionate they are about bringing it to life in the best way possible. The small yet effective changes made this week make sure that BEASTARS episode 6 is no exception.
A Whole New World
For however much I’ve talked about adaptational changes thus far, there are far more important elements that deserve discussion: the first of which is how this week’s episode opens up the BEASTARS anime to the true potential of Paru Itagaki’s vast, endlessly fascinating anthropomorphized world.
It would be no understatement to call this opening up that comes along with the shift into the Meteor Festival arc the key turning point for the series. Not only are we introduced to some of the series’ best characters – Goushin the buff vegetarian panda, Juno the jealous grey wolf – but the introduction of the back-alley market in itself marks the real solidification of the series’ main theme: the struggle between herbivores and carnivores.
The entire concept of the existence of a place like the back-alley market, where carnivores can go to eat meat, is not only illegal but seemingly entirely antithetical to the mixed-species world of BEASTARS. Yet, as Bill explains, it provides an outlet for carnivores to indulge in their base desires – upon which the apparent peace between herbivores and carnivores exists.
Of course, BEASTARS episode 6 opens up with the announcement of the murder of yet another herbivore at the hands of a carnivore, so this peace clearly isn’t perfect. But it does beg the question of whether or not these animals, or any living being for that manga, can truly overcome their instincts.
Grow Up, Legosi
This theme is delivered to us in the main ‘meat’ of the plot of BEASTARS episode 6, which consists of the conflict between Legosi and the rest of the carnivores as he refuses to compromise on his morals and join them in their consumption of meat – thus becoming an ‘adult.’
Yet even Legosi, someone who refuses to eat meat due to his infatuation with Haru, struggles to keep his base instincts under check. There’s this beautiful scene towards the middle of the episode where the scent of meat entices Legosi, swirling around his nostrils and mouth in the form of a red mist.
He’s ultimately able to tear himself away from the meat and run away from the old herbivore who is offering it to him for a price, but even his morals can’t stop his mouth filling with drool and prevent his energy from being completely sapped, eventually collapsing to the floor in a dirty back alley. It’s in this state that the panda doctor Gouhin finds Legosi, and promptly takes him in for ‘rehabilitation.’
I didn’t actually know that Akio Ootsuka was cast as Gouhin before heading into BEASTARS episode 6, but hearing his voice immediately brought a massive smile to my face. I honestly couldn’t think of a better actor to bring to life Gouhin’s gruff growl.
Aside from the performance, Gouhin is important to the story as he begins to challenge Legosi in an important way – claiming that he only likes Haru because he wants to get close to her and eat her. This is a fear that Legosi has been struggling with since episode 1, ever since his feral instincts were awoken by Haru that fateful night.
Yet, Legosi is still convinced that he truly loves Haru, something which will be tested throughout the events of this coming arc as he faces not just romantic conflict, but also physical conflict – look forward to it.
You can watch BEASTARS episode 6 via Netflix (Japan only).