HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | "Beast Complex" - Volume Three

MANGA REVIEW | "Beast Complex" - Volume Three

MANGA REVIEW | "Beast Complex" - Volume Three

The world of BEASTARS is a large one, which is why I’m glad Paru Itagaki’s expanded it with the anthology series Beast Complex. There’s a plethora of ideas that can be conjured up, especially when it comes to the interactions between carnivores and herbivores. With that being said, there needs to be a good story to tell in order for it to work. Alas, Volume Three of Beast Complex doesn’t have as much to say as it did in the past.

Seven stories make up this collection of shorts, with a fair mixture of scenarios involving all sorts of creatures. A snake finds his bully hung in his classroom, with the serpent going to extreme lengths to hide the body. Two movie stars are in the throes of fame and luxury, only for it to be taken away via a shocking confession. Legoshi and Sagwan also make an appearance, as a search for an ocotopus’s daughter ends with bad news and a full stomach.

Like in past volumes, much of Beast Complex plays with plenty of what-if scenarios. From a carnivore being submissive to an herbivore masseuse to a sheep bonding with a tattooed turtle, these stories give way to situations that play on how different species would react with one another. Sometimes, these animals bond; other times — such as in “The Lion and the Rabbit” — it can lead towards a toxic relationship. (And you’ll be surprised by who the baddie is in that mix!)

However, one can’t help that feel like most of these stories have had their messages already pushed out there in BEASTARS. It’s good to hammer in certain themes and ideas, but in the long run, that can feel like listening to a broken record. We all know the morals and values that Itagaki is trying to push in her animalistic world; it was done with very little flaws in the main series. Here, it just comes off as retreaded beef-flavored water…that’s been sitting in a bathtub awaiting a hungry gator to gulp it down.

That’s not to say it’s a waste of a read. There’s a good dose of dark humor in “The Python and the Hyena”, especially when the reptile swallows a (seemingly) dead body whole in order to keep quiet a rough situation. Seeing as two movie stars fight one another in order to keep a dark secret from leaking has its goofy aspects, especially when a desperate deer overpowers a guilt-riddled leopard. A level of beauty is also on display in “The Wolf and the Seal”, with Legoshi and Sagwan experiencing how marine life mourns the loss of one of their own.

At the end of this volume of Beast Complex, Itagaki says, “I could draw this world forever.” And I hope that she does, as there are plenty of stories still left to be told. All Itagaki needs to do is find the ones with the right amount of spark and originality in it. Volume Three of Beast Complex shows that she needs to realize this, and not just put pen to ink and write & draw whatever. Hopefully by next time, Itagaki will find that focus needed to tell some better short stories.


Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)