Non-management: Whether it was do to its eccentrically compelling story or the fact it was funded and distributed through Netflix, Beastars did end up punching outward and achieving some popularity inside some niche circles outside of the typical anime forums. But the discussion I ended up seeing often out there (and in the anime community to a lesser extent) was how similar or better it was to Zootopia. It doesn’t seem particularly fair to me how the lionshare of discussion around Beastars seems to be doomed to being compared to another title when you can very well describe the show without having to resort to that… but that’s kind of rich coming from someone who did just that with this article. Beastars and Zootopia in the same title is just a really effective hook to reel in readers. That said, I didn’t really want take sides over which is strictly better or maturer. I ultimately opted to evaluate their similarities and differences on their own merits, using that evaluation a springboard to touch how the worldbuilding of stories, via animal allegory in the case of these two media, can inform or undermine different interpretations on stories’ moral messaging.
The worldbuilding of Zootopia supports an interpretation about the movie wanting to make a clear stance on real-life racism, while the worldbuilding of Beastars support for a similar interpretation more perilous to make. Obviously part of that stems from them telling two radically different kinds of stories through two different digital mediums (movie format vs TV series), once you discount their similar settings, but it’s looking like they’re going to come to different conclusions of toward their primary conflicts anyway.
Anyway, I’d like to give a big thanks to ANN’s Lynzee Loveridge for commissioning my article. Below is a summary short of the article. If you’re interested in reading further, click the link embedded in the title or at the end of the article sample:
As more and more people watch, come to like, and recommend BEASTARS, many have ended up comparing it to Disney’s Zootopia. It’s hard to blame them for this connection. BEASTARS and Zootopia are both stories about talking animals in a society, and in general, short comparisons are just simpler to put together than whole summaries or synopses. Zootopia has enjoyed popularity ever since its release in theaters, enough popularity that even if most people haven’t watched it themselves, they’ll probably know something about the movie. Like Harry Potter, critics of Zootopia have pointed at certain story elements as being shorthand for addressing real life social issues.
Arguments have sprung since BEASTARS‘ debut as to which animated tale about animals in a society is better or deeper than the other. I’m not really interested in that discussion. Instead, I’m more interested in the differences in how both these stories use their animals in a society, in how those differences ultimately end up making BEASTARS and Zootopia apples and oranges. They are stories with similar settings, but fundamentally different themes… READ MORE