[12 Days of Anime] Day 6: Kemono Friends Proves Me Wrong, Again

I can’t think of a single success story as surprising as Kemono Friends, an anime that aired at the start of the year and quickly stormed through the anime community. I pride myself on an open mind when it comes to anime—I try to give every series the benefit of the doubt no matter my reservations about the art or genre. Somehow Kemono Friends slipped past my net. It wasn’t until I saw the hype on Twitter and many of the blogs I read that I realized I had almost missed out on something special. So I set out to remedy my mistake, and tried the first couple of episodes. The story didn’t seem remarkable, and the CG animation and art were an eyesore…but I kept watching. I wanted to visit the next area with Kaban and Serval. I wanted to meet more Friends. Before long, I realized I didn’t want the story to end. Japari Park had become real.

While Kaban and Serval were our protagonists and we followed them from one area of the park to another, there were several other examples of friendships seen on their journey. A couple of my favorites included Alpaca and Crested Ibis, and American Beaver and Prairie Dog. There are many other interesting relationships in Japari Park, but these particular examples not only got along well, but also boosted one another up in their individual lifestyles. They were also really damn cute.

Alpaca and her home give Crested Ibis an audience for her singing, who in turn helps promote Alcapa’s cafe
Beaver plans while Prairie Dog acts

The good news: more Kemono Friends is on the horizon. Whatever this new screen project may be—a full anime series, specials, or film—I welcome the chance to revisit Kaban, Serval, and any other Friends they encounter.

The bad news: Director Tatsuki was dismissed with questionable explanation and I’m afraid of what direction any new material will take.

Kemono Friends proved once again to me that a good story is so much more than just slick graphics and complicated plot lines. Sometimes the most powerful lesson of all is the most straightforward. I fell in love with Japari Park and all its inhabitants because of the affection that overflowed from their world into mine.


Watch Kemono Friends on Crunchyroll.

 

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6 thoughts on “[12 Days of Anime] Day 6: Kemono Friends Proves Me Wrong, Again

  1. Pretty much sums up my own feelings about what makes Kemono Friends so strangely charming! Beyond the cute characters, I also kept coming back for the next episode because I was curious about the suggested post apocalyptic setting of Japari Park. I also loved Alpaca and Crested Ibis, as well as the hungry library owls 🙂

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    • The owls were among my favorites! I cracked up so much when they had Kaban make them curry, but they didn’t even know what to expect other than that it should be cooked.

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  2. It’s a very feel-good type of show. I didn’t watch it while it was airing, I watched it over a few days at the end of summer, but it was still fun. It’s engaging even though it’s basic and probably targeted at a significantly different age group from me.

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    • I do wonder if that’s true that it’s aimed at a younger audience. It seems to be the type of story that can be enjoyed by wide range of ages, but I can see how it might feel too simple for someone who prefers more complicated premises.

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      • There are plenty of shows that the target audience is kids, with enough interest thrown in for their parents to not hate the show. In fact, that used to be the norm for kids shows, and is what was the biggest contributor to the idea that shows like Barney and Teletubbies were so hated by parents: because there was *nothing* in the show for parents. Now there are both kinds of shows and movies, and it’s not really that the plot or the setup is particularly complicated, it’s more whether it has that kind of connected nature that lets people think about it more. Kemono Friends definitely does this, with the “end of the world” storyline that’s running behind the whole thing.

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        • That’s pretty true now that I think about specifically Teletubbies *shudder* and Kemono Friends. Adults could get into thinking about the origin of Japari Park and the creation of Kaban when kids would just see this as a fun adventure through a zoo. It makes me wonder what direction the new show will take, if they’ll continue the more childish tone of voice, or if they’ll gear it more towards adults.

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