We’ve been trapped in lockdown far too long, and things are getting weird. We’ve never had more time to watch Netflix. We finally have time to finish off the TV series we swore to get through long ago, and are watching the movies we’ve lied about seeing for years (i.e. The Godfather Trilogy, 2001: A Space Odyssey).
But it’s reaching that point where there’s not much left to watch. So we venture out of our comfort zones in search of new content, sinking ever deeper into the Netflix archive. It was in this hole that I came across a conspiracy that I’m blowing the lid on. A hidden agenda amongst the hidden gems.
The fact is, we live in a world where Warner Bros. has to tone down the appearance of Lola Bunny in the Space Jam sequel because people are too horny to be trusted. Has Netflix taken interest in a certain subculture? Because there’s a noticeable uprising in anthropomorphic animal-based entertainment lately. A trend of the four-legged kind. I’m talking about the followers of the fang, besties of the beast: Fursonas Sonicatas.
That’s right, Netflix has unleashed furries upon our streaming services.
Let’s begin with the dating show: Sexy Beasts. A widely written about series, featuring (mostly) hotties in heavy prosthetics going on dates with other furrified individuals. This is supposedly because looks don’t matter and they’ll see through the makeup to the other’s soul. But this is not what happens on Sexy Beasts.
Regardless, it’s a fun premise and the prosthetic makeup by Kristyan Mallett is genuinely worth tuning in for. What’s troubling is the moment you find yourself more attracted to some of the contestants in costume than out. Intentional furry brainwashing? This reporter thinks so.
Then of course, we have Beastars – known in SEO land as ‘Netflix furry anime’, (not to be confused with ‘furry dating show’ which is Sexy Beasts).
Beastars is set in a world of humanoid animals who are divided into herbivores and carnivores. They coexist okay, but the threat of carnivores succumbing to their predatory nature is a constant threat. At Cherryton Academy (where the story begins), it’s not uncommon for a carnivorous student to eat a herbivore classmate.
That’s the basic idea, but the story gets a lot more complicated. There’s no shortage of subplots in this show. There’s a drama club where several students aspire to become the next Beastar, which is kinda like being the Meryl Streep of the animal kingdom, but also symbolic – so the Beastar being either herbivore or carnivore is significant.
There’s a lion mafia and a snake who polices the school like the Basilisk from Harry Potter, and even a brief segue into the world of a chicken who prides herself on laying the best eggs that the other students eat for lunch.
But the true meat of Beastars is the exploration of forbidden desire. The central characters, Legoshi, a grey wolf and Haru, a dwarf rabbit wanna bang each other, but cross-species dating is taboo in the world of Beastars. The fact that one is a carnivore and the other is a herbivore only adds to the stigma. In their own meetcute, Legoshi loses control of his wolfish instincts and attacks Haru.
This dynamic makes for a pretty dark show. There’s also a lot of ‘how’s that gonna work’ at play, and sometimes the show asks questions you don’t want answered.
But there’s something more interesting here than whether or not it’s anatomically possible for different species to get it on: the source of Beastars itself.
Not much is known about the creator of Beastars, Paru Itagaki, who wrote and illustrated the original manga series that the Netflix show is based on. While her furry-status is yet to be confirmed, I ask that everyone look to the textbook definition of a furry: “an enthusiast for animal characters with human characteristics, in part, a person who dresses up in costumes as such a character or uses one as an avatar online”. Readers, the call is coming from inside the fursuit!
But I have to admit, her world had me hooked. All I know is that I sat down to watch an episode “as a joke” and before I knew it, I had binged both seasons. That’s how they get ya. It’s why I’ve recommended both Beastars and Sexy Beasts to the very few humans I’ve seen lately. My NBN technician, neighbour and the nurse who administered my second Pfizer dose are all getting their dose of furrydom right now.
Written by Sophie Chandler. More from her here.