One day at Cherryton School, a boarding school where carnivores and herbivores live together, an alpaca named Tem is killed and eaten in a lecture room. Suspicion is cast on the carnivores, especially the wolf Legosi, who had been friendly with Tem. A struggle ensues between the carnivores’ desire to prey on herbivores and the herbivores’ fear and contempt of carnivores, on the one hand, and the rational thinking that tries to overcome these natural instincts, on the other. ITAGAKI depicts the physical characteristics of real animals while using a smooth touch to create an occasionally humorous dramatic portrait of groups of adolescent animals. The work evokes problems of coexistence that also extend to human society and leaves the reader with much to ponder.
Many manga artists have personified animals, but this story captivates the reader with a vividness that goes beyond mere allegory or fantasy. ITAGAKI utilizes drawing ability that is way beyond what is expected from a newcomer to create a story that has appeal as both a boarding school drama and a mystery. Above all, the setting is masterful and makes the reader take a step back to consider humanity and the real world. While humans are animals who eat both meat and greens, we have come to possess a set of desires that differs from animal instincts by suppressing our animal attack impulses and sexual cravings. This story can be seen as a model that shows that, despite the bluntness of the story, the artist can make full use of her storytelling imagination, making the story all the more interesting. (FURUNAGA Shinichi)