Beastars: AKA Adult Zootopia (no spoilers)

A while ago (like months) I wrote about Berserk and this blog was going to be about mainly manga and anime and well, primarily Berserk. Obviously that is not what has happened and for that I apologize, really I do. I don’t particularly watch anime but I do tend to read a fair bit of manga here and there. Other than Berserk I have read Hajime No Ippo which is a boxing manga (I sincerely recommend this one as well while I’m mentioning it,) as well as even One Piece which I put off watching a reading for a long time for stupid reasons really. I also have read the Pokemon Adventures manga partially which people consider to be a more mature telling of Pokemon. Maybe I’ll write about some of these in the future I’m not sure. There’s a lot I want to do and I have had people tell me to just “do them” which they’re right I should.

The reason I’m saying all of this is because I recently started reading a new manga and currently just got up to date with it. It’s called “Beastars” and is written by mangaka Paru Itagaki. I can’t seem to find out much about her other than she made her debut as a mangaka in 2016 by releasing a short story collection called “Beast Complex” before releasing Beastars.

So, what is Beastars and why is currently my new fiction obsession? Well a lot of people like to compare it to Disney’s Zootopia but more “mature” and honestly, that’s a pretty damn good description and was the first thing that came to my mind as well when I started reading it. The world is a place inhabited by Carnivores and Herbivores and the Carnivores have to keep themselves in check so that they don’t eat the Herbivores as that would obviously be bad. Kind of like how it’s mentioned in Zootopia. The animals are more animal than human but they are all bipedal and have human characteristics, again like the design of Zootopia. Okay, I know Zootopia isn’t some unique piece of media but I do feel like that kind of design for story telling is a little uncommon.

Anyway, the main focus of the story revolves around a grey wolf called Legosi who is very reserved. He prefers to be around Herbivores rather than Carnivores really and he really admires them. The story tends to focus around him coming to terms with his natural instincts of being a wolf and his innate desire to consume prey. There’s a lot going on with him and he’s constantly questioning his own motives as to why he wants to do the things he is doing. For example, a major plot point which is established pretty early is a love interest of his, a small dwarf rabbit called Haru. Throughout the story we can see that he genuinely does seem to care and love her and wants to protect her, but he is constantly arguing if he is doing this out of love or if his body and mind is tricking himself and her just so he can eat her which he keeps telling himself he doesn’t want to do. The topic of interspecies relations is big point in the series, there’s a lot of talk about Carnivores and Herbivores getting together and ending with the Carnivore eating the Herbivore, it’s even shown a couple of times and constantly has different characters from all different backgrounds exploring this concept. Throughout the series Legosi undergoes a lot trying to accept himself for who he is, this happens through physical fights he has as well as conversations he has with both Carnivores and Herbivores and later even Sea animals.

A secondary focus of the series revolves around a deer called Louis who is pretty charismatic and is shown to be a leader. Louis is a year or two older than Legosi and both of them are in the drama club at their school. Legosi is a stage hand while Louis is the lead actor and essentially the leader of it as it tends to give big speeches to them all before a big play or after some big event happens to keep everyone focused. However, this is all done for more selfish reasons than anything else. You see, Louis is trying to become the Beastar of the school. What this means is an animal who rises above the rest so to speak. An animal who once graduated from school basically has life set and tries to make an impact on the world for the better in a meaningful way however that may be. Above Beastars from certain schools of renown is a Sublime Beastar who is chosen from the group of Beastars from the schools.

Louis and Legosi are in a way complete opposites. Louis wants to be more powerful and on top like how the Carnivores make themselves appear, Legosi however wants to just fit it and not stand out at all and live a plain simple life. The pair of them go through many complications between each other and there is so much more I could write about this but I think for now I will stop as any further I would be spilling into a lot spoiler territory. If spoilers don’t matter to you then please keep an eye out as I’m going to be re-reading Beastars myself and once I do, it’ll most likely spark a fire in me to spoiler everything I love about it but I want those of you choose to read this to just experience it pure. As I said though there is a high chance I will come back after re-reading to just spoil it anything though I’ll make sure that’s obvious from the onset.

If you are someone who prefers to watch rather than read then I can happily say that it has been announced an anime is being developed and is set to release in October 2019 so the year of writing this. For those of us in the west it will be exclusive streamable on Netflix.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this though I know it may seem to have become a little rambly near the end and for that I do apologise. I have only spent an hour on this and there really really is a lot more I would genuinely love to talk about but I know if I do, I would basically just get into telling the story.

Cheating in Games: Right or Wrong?

The short answer: no. If you wish to cut and clip this to laugh at others on social media, go ahead I suppose.

The real answer really is subjective. Personally I’m on the side that it kind of is but you can argue that exploits are in a way cheats and I do enjoy a good exploit in an RTS or Grand Strategy and sometimes the odd RPG like Morrowind… I think I’m getting a bit side tracked here. I feel exploits though are slightly different to cheating myself and the reason for that is these are mechanics that are in the game and tend to require time or effort where as a cheat you tend to get something with zero set up or risk and that opens a very different discussion which I won’t get into.

We’ve all heard by now that a game reviewer used a slow down mod to beat a boss in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and this is what spawned this debate. I do find it a little upsetting to be honest that someone who is supposed to give an unbiased opinion on something to help me decide if it is worth my time and money to spend on a product isn’t experiencing the product in the way I most likely will. After all, how are you going to fairly judge an action game by slowing down the action? Overall I feel this is what upset people. You have someone being paid for, what is to many, a hobby and telling people if the product of said hobby is good or not but yet they aren’t actually experiencing the hobby.

What is important to an action game? I would argue the animations and the ability to cancel them. Animation cancelling is a pretty big thing amongst people who play either fighting games or action games, you will often here them saying that one move is better than another because you use a button input for another move before the one you currently used is fully played out by just 2 or 3 frames. It’s a pretty difficult thing to do and requires a lot of practice, I love action games honestly like the Devil May Cry series or the Souls series as well as “Souls like” games such as Nioh but honestly I’m terrible at animation cancelling but I can still finish these games with perseverance and without using either cheats or 3rd party applications such as a slow down modification. I don’t think I could properly give an opinion or recommend the games if I didn’t play them in their original state. If I said to a friend “oh yeah DMC 3 is amazing, there’s a really cool fight with your brother and all these cool moves happen! You should get it!” Would be fair on them really.

Let’s say in this example that like me they aren’t particularly good at action games but do enjoy them but are more used to slow paced action like Dark Souls and haven’t played anything fast paced and they just jumped into it because I gave them a half assed opinion clouded by me using god mode. They would probably quit at Cerberus and not trust my opinion as much in the future. This is the situation a reviewer or critic is in. This is why I think people were upset. Especially since the person who put that article out saying that it was okay for them to cheat in that game also put out an article giving tips on playing the game. How are we supposed to trust their advice when they can’t play the game? I wouldn’t trust someone who knows nothing about electrical installation telling me how to replace my lights in my house and DIY is considered to some a hobby as well.

It’s upsetting really because when it comes to leisure people seem to think that those who want to know about the leisure product are seen to take it as “too serious” when really I think they want to know if it’s worth them spending their time and money on. A lot of people don’t have a lot of free time to spend playing games or watching TV or movies or reading etc etc so when they say to someone “what is the game like?” they don’t want to hear “it’s great with cheats or playing it in a way the game wasn’t intended.” they want to be told what it is like. “Yes the game is entertaining there is a variety or race tracks to unlock and cars with plenty of customisation and eras to choose form and it plays more arcade akin to Need for Speed Underground (I wish) compared to something more simulation like Gran Turismo.” That’s the sort of thing people want to hear in short. Not “You should do X Y and Z to make game easy” only to find out that those things are actually hard to accomplish and are late game things to do and you only managed to do them at the time you did because you was using a 3rd party application to make the rest of the game easier.

At the end of the day if you are just a consumer then no it does not matter if what you do to a game on your own device or home. However if you are being paid to tell people how something functions or to give advice on something it needs to be known if you are experiencing the product in the base version. I wouldn’t want someone who drives a suped up Ford Fiesta and hasn’t driven a base model to tell me how the base model drives, or someone who has exposed cables telling me that there’s nothing with my mains socket that sparks when I put my phone charger in.