Graphic Novel Review: Sabrina Hoenes

The graphic novel I decided to review is the manga Beastars written and illustrated by Paru Itagaki. Beastars is an ongoing series, that is currently on its seventeenth volume. I, however have only read the first one. The overall plot of Beastars is a high school that is divided into two groups, predator (carnivores) and prey (herbivores). Volume one is specifically about the murder of an herbivore, causing distrust and unease throughout the herbivore student body, the prime suspect is a grey wolf named Legoshi. During this time Legoshi befriends a dwarf rabbit named Haru. This developing friendship causes a lot of inner turmoil for Legoshi with his predator instincts.

The style choice is simply that of what is typically seen in manga. Like Scott McCloud said in Understanding Comics, manga is a form of art. So through out the volume, there are a good portion of detailed and in-depth panels. It allows the readers to have a more immersive and “cinematic” experience as they go along. It also follows the aspect to aspect closures furthering the reading experience. As for iconography, there are a lot of school related icons. Such as the uniforms, the desks, and the school building itself.

As I was reading I noticed there there were a lot varying lines. Much like the ones Scott McCloud discussed in chapter five of Understanding Comics. The author uses this technique mostly for the speech bubbles and occasionally as a background or a “cloud” that surrounds the character.

Paru Itagaki, Beastars, Akita Publishing, 2017,
149 -148

An example of this can be seen in these two pages. The scene is after the main male protagonist chases down the female protagonist and is fighting against his predator instincts. The speech bubbles are no longer the typical circles, but are now lines that signify the male protagonists fear and anger. On the right page we can also see a swirling effect happening in the background, indicating that the giant figure is not really in their real world, but in the male protagonist’s head.

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