Anime / Kemono Friends

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Welcome to Japari Park!note 

One day a girl without any memories wakes up in the middle of a savannah before being chased and "hunted down" by a Cat Girl. Said catgirl, calling herself a Serval cat, reveals that they are in just one region of a vast integrated zoo called Japari Park, which is inhabited by Little Bit Beastly girls called Friends who are created when regular animals come into contact with a mysterious substance called Sandstar. The girl, given the nickname Kaban after her backpack, sets off on a grand adventure together with her new friend Serval throughout Japari Park to find out what kind of Friend she is. Friends ensue!

During an episode, each Friend is introduced along with their scientific classification. For eyecatches, zookeepers from all over the globe give short lectures on the nature of the featured animals.

Kemono Friends is an anime that aired during the Winter 2017 season. It is part of a formerly unsuccessful multimedia franchise created by Mine Yoshizaki, centered around a mobile game by Nexon which was discontinued a month before the anime aired its first episode. The anime has gone on to become a massive Sleeper Hit and has revived the franchise in a major way.

Kemono Friends is currently being aired by Crunchyroll and is also available for streaming on Steam. After the success of the anime a "new video project" has been greenlit.

On April 5, the director TATSUKI released an unofficial short titled "Episode 12.1" on Nico Nico Douga. He has stressed that it was just for fun and not the aforementioned video project currently in the works.


Examples:

  • After the End: It becomes clear pretty quickly that Japari Park used to have humans maintaining it, but now... doesn't.
    • The girls walk past an old wreckage of a B-2 Bomber and some spent bombs, neither them nor the show comment.
  • All-CGI Cartoon
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The abandoned state of the park has caused some parts to be rather dangerous. This isn't even adding the threat of the Ceruleans.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In episode 12, Kaban sets off to find humans in a nearby region, which Boss indicates might have its own Friends in it since it's still part of the park. After she sets off, she runs out of gas for her boat, but is joined by Serval, Raccoon, and Fennec. Then a new unseen Friend comes by and asks what they're doing...
  • Animal Gender-Bender: Quite literally so. According to Word of God, any animal turned into a Friend is always female regardless of the original sex, which is why some of them (such as Lion and Moose) exhibit male characteristics.
  • Blob Monster: Ceruleans.
  • Book Ends: In both the first and last episodes, a paper airplane is used as part of a plan to defeat a large Cerulean, and Serval decides to follow Kaban after she parts ways.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Averted — everyone is content to eat Japari buns, with hunting just being a game. It probably helps that they're all biologically human.
  • Call Back:
    • In episode 11, when Kaban needs to climb a tree fast, she starts climbing and chanting the way Serval did in episode 1.
    Kaban: Mya, mya, mya, mya!
    • In episode 1, Kaban is forced to admit to Hippopotomus that she cannot swim, fly, run fast, or do much of anything. By the end of episode 11, she has done all those things to save Serval.
    • Hippo goes back on her first episode statement, telling Kaban in episode 12 that she can turn to them when she needs to.
    • A Friend was heard screaming in Episode 1 and mentioned that she may have been devoured by the Cerulean. Then a normal aardwolf was shown in Episodes 12 in the exact same location the Cerulean was defeated.
  • The Cavalry: Most of the plot-important Friends return to battle the black Cerulean in episode 12.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In episode 1, Kaban gives Serval some paper airplanes. In episode 12, Serval uses one of these paper airplanes to lure the black Cerulean towards the boat so it can sink into the ocean.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • The ropes Kaban learns to make in episode 2 are used to make her lifeline in episode 11 and the Friends use it to modify the bus in episode 12.
    • In episode 6, Kaban rolls up some scrolls to give Lion and Moose non-lethal weapons. In episode 7, she learns paper burns. Her improvised torches in episode 11 are made by putting the two concepts together.
  • Cliffhanger: Episode 11 really leaves the viewer hanging.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Crested Ibis, as her singing can really scare off other Friends (Serval just tries to shrug it off).
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The very theme song for this show repeats the lyrics "Welcome to youkoso Japari Park!". 'Youkoso' is Japanese for 'welcome'. So the line is translated into: "Welcome to welcome to Japari Park!"
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The opening, Youkoso Japari Park enote  is sung by Serval, Raccoon, Fennec, and the PPP, the latter of whom also do the ending commentary.
  • Endangered Species: Every Friend who's based on an endangered or extinct species has Empty Eyes.
    • Crested ibis: At one point there were exactly seven crested ibis on Earth. These were rescued from extinction, with all survivors descended from these 7 birds. Apparently one of them became a Friend at Japari Park.
    • Humans: Kaban may be the last human on Earth, or at least in Japari Park. The Quest for Identity becomes a quest for the Lost Colony.
    • Tsuchinoko: They're a bit elusive.
  • Evolving Credits: Animal silhouettes appear in each episode opening, to be filled in after the new Friend is introduced. After Episode 11 all of the silhouettes disappear. It's because, there is nothing to add after it.
    • By episode 7, it also also evolves into Foreshadowing. The new Friends and silhouettes added are holding rope and wood. It's the scene that happens off camera in episode 12 where they modify the bus.
  • The Four Gods:
    • In the anime, these are the controls for the Sandstone Low filter.
    • In the game, they're basically Bonus Bosses of a Brutal Bonus Level where they're the strongest, at least in Cerulean form.
  • Fun with Subtitles: The final scene of the show. Serval and company's boat wipes away the "The End" subtitle. Right before the scene cuts to black, a faint "To be continued" fades in to replace it.
  • Gamer Chick: Ezo Red Fox. Those arcade cabinets were built to last, apparently.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Friends get these when using Wild Release. These also appear when the two owls lead all of the other Friends into combat against the black Cerulean in Episode 12.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The Lucky Beasts call in most of the Friends to help battle the black Cerulean in episode 12.
  • Green Rocks: The Sandstar is responsible for all kinds of weirdness.
  • Hair Wings: Most bird Friends have their wings on their head. Or hair coloured to look like wings. It can be hard to tell.
  • Hollywood Chameleons: The panther chameleon Friend's color-changing ability is treated as actual invisibility.
  • Idol Singer: PPP is an idol group made up of five penguin Friends.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Not a single male character is to be found. Word of God states that Sandstar will even turn male animals into female Friends.
  • Internal Reveal: Kaban's species is human. This is obvious from the start, but the Friends have little experience with humans (especially since they're all Petting Zoo People who already share most of humanity's distinctive traits) and so treat the reveal as a big discovery. Her origins are a legitimate plot twist, however. Inverted by Mirai's recordings, which provide the viewer with lots of information about the setting but mostly come across as Techno Babble to Kaban and Serval.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: "PPP", pronounced as PePaPu. Short for Penguins Performance Project.
  • Iyashikei: It's surprisingly upbeat for a post-apocalyptic alien invasion!
  • Kill It with Water: Thanks to her research, Tsuchinoko knows that water turns Ceruleans into volcanic rock.
  • King of Beasts: Played with. Lion is in charge of a group of friends and acts noble (though more shogun than king), but in private acts like a fairly normal cat.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Kaban is named for the bag she is wearing ("kaban" being Japanese for "bag").
  • Little Bit Beastly: All of the Friends are humans with a few animal features.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The anime already has a rather large cast, but it's only a fraction of the game's cast.
  • Made of Phlebotinum: Sand Star powers the entire show, causing both the Friends and the Ceruleans to exist. It also drives the Ceruleans to attack the Friends and forced the humans to leave Japari park. Serval even mentions that Kaban may owe her existence to Sand Star in the first episode.
  • Mega Corp.: Wild life parks, cafes, food, hot springs, video games ... Japari is a very diverse corporation.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Japari Park makes no attempt to separate its animals and Friends by their original location, only by biome. And even then there's a lot of Friends in weird places, though that could be the result of them moving around unsupervised.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Raccoon and Fennec are pursuing Kaban on the grounds that she's a "hat thief". They visit each place she's been to, only to find out that she left not too long ago. They finally catch up in episode 11.
  • Moe Anthropomorphism: It's the basis of the franchise.
  • Mr. Exposition: Boss, aka Lucky Beast, provides background and information when entering new habitats. However, inside of attractions, it lets Kaban work things out for herself. In addition, in the event of something unexpected (such as a broken bridge), it freezes up.
  • Mutagenic Goo: The mysterious substance known as "Sand Star" turns regular animals into the humanoid Friends (even their remains or a single hair). It also turn inanimate objects into Ceruleans.
  • Nonindicative Name: The first Ceruleans we see are indigo-blue. After that they start coming in more colours and the name stops making sense.
    • A popular view in Japan is that "Cerulean" is a mistranslation and "セルリアン" is actually a portmanteau of "cell" (セル) and "alien" (エイリアン), which makes much more sense.
  • Non-Nude Bathing: In episode 9 the Friends jump into the hot spring fully clothed until Kaban points out that you're supposed to remove your clothing first. The Friends are shocked to find out their clothes even can come off and comment once they've removed them that the water is much warmer.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: There's no squabbling from the penguin girls in the preview for Episode 12. Just an incessant beeping and the sight of Japari Park's sign in ruins. It turns out to be setting up more than just the Darkest Hour.
  • On the Next: Each episode ends with PPP discussing an animal that will show up next episode, which usually quickly devolves into squabbling. This is also the point within the show where the episode titles are given.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Being who they are, Kaban and Serval quickly forget the directions Moose told them to get to the library, and take a forest maze instead; requiring the ability to read. This alerted The Owl-Knowing One staff to their intelligence, which they take advantage of to... have Kaban cook tasty food for them.
  • Ontological Mystery: Behind the fun Quest for Identity and meeting new Friends, there is a significant amount of unexplained background details that is gradually revealed.
  • Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: Even a Tsuchinoko got turned into a Friend.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: Zig-Zagged. One of the owls at Japari Library is called "Professor" by all the other Friends, and the other is her assistant. And they certainly insist that they're wise. While they are smarter than most other Friends, and act as the leaders of the whole island, they still act childishly sometimes, like when they randomly crashed into Serval's head just to show off how they can fly silently.
  • Patchwork Map: The Sandstar somehow allows the various regions to be right next to each other in defiance to the laws of geography. Which allowed the formation of the Japari Park itself.
  • Peacock Girl: The Peafowl Friend who makes a brief appearance in episode 2.
  • Phlebotinum Muncher: What makes the Ceruleans so dreaded. They exist and grow by absorbing the Sandstar in their environment, including any poor Friends that happen to be caught by them. Getting drained of Sandstar causes Friends to revert into regular, non-sentient animals, which the others treat as Death of Personality. Kaban turns out to be mostly unharmed by the effect, as her base species is human to begin with.
  • Prequel: The manga, which is a Slice of Life of the park before it was invaded by the Cerulean. Which makes this all the more heartbreaking.
  • Primal Fear: All the Friends fear fire, but Kaban, as a human, is easily able to control it. Note that Brown Bear is less afraid, similar to her Real Life counterpart. Brown Bear and the owls teach the other Friends how to be less afraid of fire in Episode 12.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Mirai, the park guide from the mobile game, acts as The Ghost and her messages help guide Kaban on her Quest for Identity. Kaban herself is a human Friend born from a strand of hair that was on Mirai's hat as it blew away and landed on a piece of sand star.
  • Puppet Shows: The ending preview scenes are done puppet-style by PPP, the opening theme singers.
  • Quest for Identity: Kaban and Serval are on a quest to discover what species Kaban is.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Prairie Dog and Beaver. In Episode 5, the Beaver, being the blue, constantly plans ahead and has a great amount of knowledge on structural engineering, but, afraid of messing up, can't commit herself to action. The Prairie Dog, being the red, is a heads-on person who does things quick and efficient, but without the ability to think things through or a team to rely on, tends to mess up multiple times. It's through the collaboration of Beaver's planning and knowledge and Prairie Dog's quick work and teamwork dynamic that they become a very impressive construction team.
    • Raccoon is the red to Fennec's blue. Raccoon is desperately trying to chase down Kaban as fast as possible while Fennec just follows along trying to keep Raccoon out of trouble.
  • Robot Buddy: The Lucky Beasts seems to have been created to serve as guides to Human Guests. They will never talk to Friends as protocol unless a human is in danger.
  • Running Joke:
    • "Please don't eat me!" "I won't eat you!" - Kaban and Serval's opening dialogue gets repeated several times.
    • Several Friends are surprised that Lucky Beast (aka Boss) is now talking, although only to Kaban.
  • Science Hero: Kaban is about as close as you can get with no education to speak of. She regularly saves the day through quick thinking. Which is her Friend Special Attribute.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Hands up, how many people had heard of servals before? The animals featured are all over the place in terms of obscurity, ranging from very well-known (otter, lion), to nigh unheard-of (margay, campo flicker), and everywhere in-between.
  • Silent Antagonist: The Ceruleans.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Lion and Moose engage in this at the end of their first duel. The camera zooms out to reveal they popped each other's ball at the same time, resulting in a draw.
  • Sting: Plays whenever the topic switches to the Ontological Mystery surrounding the park.
  • Stealth Sequel: While the anime seems unrelated to the mobile game it's based on, and features a completely different voice cast, with the introduction of Mirai, it's revealed that the anime is a direct continuation.
    • The reason for the different voice cast is also explained: the animals in the anime aren't the same ones from the game, they merely share the same species. This is evidenced by the fact that the Serval seen with Mirai still has her VA from the mobile game.
  • Super Mode: In the final battle, the Friends release their wild sides. Ass-kicking and Glowing Eyes ensue.
  • Support Party Member: True to the game that inspired the anime, Kaban acts as a support character in the anime. While slow and clumsy, she's the one who comes up with ideas to make the Friends more effective. Plus, she's one of the few characters who can read.
  • Tempting Apple: No actual temptation involved, but the library building resembles an apple core, evoking the Biblical fruit of the Tree Of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The opening theme kicks in as the Friends power up for the battle with the black Cerulean.
  • Token Non-Human: The Lucky Beasts, who are little robots that serve as guides.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: All the Friends eat Japari buns, which are made from crops and found everywhere. This allows carnivores and omnivores to be friends with herbivores without all that awkward killing and eating that would hurt friendships. Since Friends are animals changed into humans, it may be that the buns were originally intended just for people.
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