Set in the same world as her later series, BEASTARS, Beast Complex is an earlier series that would set up a premise of what would be coming in the future. This volume collects six short stories that would show the tension between herbivores and carnivores, from friendships to romance, every tale is something that someone can relate to in a way.
In another sense, short story anthologies can get complicated in keeping the reader interested, but it wasn’t the case with this series. Each story is short, small in scale, and focused on two characters understanding each other, and don’t deviate from what she is trying to tell in her world, and that is one of Paru’s greatest strengths.
Each story had a lesson behind them, most would argue that it was a cliche, but in this day and age, it is something that is needed in a world that is quick to judge without getting all the facts.
- Lion and the Bat: A Highschool Student that is a Lion with high aspirations and long-term goals is brought back down to earth when he meets a Bat that changes his life forever.
- The Tiger & The Beaver: A Tale (I swear, this pun was not intended,) is about two boys who are determined to be friends, despite their differences.
- The Camel & The Wolf: A Noir-Themed Tale involves a Camel who was a News Reporter that was reporting on “The Nature of Carnivores,” until he met a female wolf who swept him off his feet.
- The Panther & The Kangaroo: A Kangaroo Inn-Keeper meets a young panther who has a snarky attitude but finds out a terrible secret about her.
- The Crocodile & The Gazelle: The Gazelle is an assistant cook on a cooking show, but she isn’t thrilled to find out that the new chef is a Crocodile, chaos ensues, but it ends up being a light-hearted romp.
- The Fox & The Chameleon: A Female Fox struggles with bullies and stereotypes while the chameleon learns how not to blend in. This was one of my favorite short stories in this anthology.
While this was her earliest work, the art, and the writing was great. It is the perfect thing to tie a BEASTARS fan or new readers over until the final season premieres, along with the other BEASTARS Volumes (the 18th volume will be available to buy on May 18th, an odd coincidence, isn’t it?) The second and third volumes aren’t available in the US yet but maybe someday we’ll get a chance to read them.
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