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Manga: Shirokuma Cafe
Shirokuma Cafe (Polar Bear's Cafe) is a Slice of Life manga that received an anime adaptation premiering in the spring of 2012.

The show follows the daily exploits of a lazy, young panda named Panda. Constantly told by his mother to get a job, he one day stumbles into the titular cafe, run by the enigmatic Shirokuma, a soft-spoken polar bear. Joining them are Shirokuma's friend, a sarcastic penguin named Penguin, various animals from the nearby zoo, and Shirokuma's sole employee, a human girl named Sasako.

Tropes featured in Shirokuma Cafe:

  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Rin-rin is the focus of two separate episodes, both based on his obsessive panda fandom.
    • Grizzly gets one when he mistakenly believes Shirokuma is dead.
    • Mama Panda, Mama Squirrel and Mama King Penguin in episode 23.
    • Wolf and Tiger in episode 34.
    • Llama and Sasako spend an episode reminiscing about their hometown.
    • Llama and Full-Time Panda get drunk together.
    • In episode 28, Full-Time Panda gets a entire episode dealing with his jealousy of Panda being cuter and getting all the attention. Full-Time was desperate enough to even beg Rin-Rin to obsess over him as well.
  • Adorkable: Handa is very much so.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Mama Grizzly, from his perspective.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Penguin accidentally makes one to Panda while under the influence of alcohol, hallucinating him to be a female penguin he has a long-standing crush on.
  • Also Sprach Zarathustra: Penguin proudly announces his obtaining of a driver's license while this plays in the background, his emotions so intense that he floats and sparkles in time with the music.
  • Animal Stereotypes: One episode had the zoo animals discussing this, and how uncomfortable they are with it.
    • Overlaps with Badass Decay whenever Lion, Wolf and Tiger talk about their carnivore-ness.
  • Auto-Tune: The initial opening made liberal use of the Cher effect.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Grizzly's Bar certainly has the airs of a Bad-Guy Bar.
    • Bad Guys Play Pool: And there's a pool table there, with a lion and a tiger seen playing a game (Though much later Lion and Tiger are revealed to be pretty good guys.)
  • Baseball Episode: Episode 27
  • Beach Episode: The second half of episode 14.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted. Shirokuma and Panda are nice and friendly, and even the badass and temperamental Grizzly is a genuinely kind guy.
  • Beary Funny
  • Berserk Button: NEVER call King Penguin an emperor penguin or compare her to one. Also, don't insult her son.
  • Bland-Name Product: There is a whiskey menu on the wall in Grizzly's bar. It lists such fine brands as Macillin, Bollantones, Johnnie Runner, Black House, and All-Dipper.
    • At the summer festival at the midway shooting gallery there is a Wee, Polystation 3 and the car dealership Panda gets a job at is called Volvi
  • Blind Date: Panda sets Mr. Handa up on a group blind date, much to his protests. Hilarity Ensues when Panda, Penguin, and Shirokuma tag along.
  • Book Ends: Episode 50 closes out the anime with a cherry blossom viewing party, which was the first activity the gang did in Episode 2.
  • Boy Band / Idol Singer: Yama Arashi, whose members are porcupines.
  • Brain Freeze: Nobody saw the true danger of that shaved ice on the beach. Grizzly also suffers with the shaved ice dessert in episode 16.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Penguin tries to take a picture of Shirokuma with his cell phone and gets distracted at the beginning of "Smartphones" and the episode "Driving" closes with him succeeding.
    • The first episode mentions that the reason that Sloth visited the cafe is that he wants to live in Shirokuma's yard. Episode 32 confirms that he in fact, does live in Shirokuma's yard.
  • Butt Monkey: Handa, Penguin and Llama.
    • Shirokuma seems to love waking up Grizzly during his hibernation in order to ask him trivial things.
      • Though it's half "Playful trolling" and half "I miss hanging out with my best friend"
  • Call Back: The second half of episode 50 is a cherry blossom party, as the gang recalls the party from episode 2 and are subsequently joined by every character who's shown up over the course of the series.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Poor Penguin.
    • Panda as well. One sip of an Irish Coffee knocks him on his ass.
      • Justified that he seems to be around 11-14 years old.
  • Captain Obvious: "Brown Bear runs Brown Bear's cafe?"
  • Carnivore Confusion:
    • Played with. Shirokuma and Penguin visit the zoo's seal exhibit, which forbids polar bears because they are the seal's natural predators. Shirokuma winds up scaring one of the seals away, even if he assured that he won't eat it.
    • In Episode 25, Cub!Shirokuma suggested making bear paw stew (as a joke).
    • There's also hamburger restaurants, and in the manga Shirokuma cooks a roast chicken. Between the anime and manga, there's been at least 3 dogs that can't talk, fish are eaten regularly, and it didn't seem like water buffalo in the garden episode could talk either (althoug. The general rule seems to be that animals that are seen as food or pets in the real world are just food or pets in the Shirokuma Cafe world as well.
  • Cheerful Child: Penguin's nephew and King Penguin's son.
  • Childhood Friends: Grizzly and Shirokuma have been friends since they were cubs. Of course, this doesn't stop Grizzly from yelling at Shirokuma at every chance, especially when flashbacks show that he received the brunt of Shirokuma's antics in their childhood.
    • This was the main focus of "Reunion at the Grizzly Bar!" as Wolf, Lion and Tiger were friends since they were kids, grew up going their separate ways, then reuniting and reliving their teen years as they remember how much they love their favourite rapper MC 496MA.
  • Chinese Pandas: When we do see them at home, Panda and his family are (expectedly) stereotypically Chinese. Especially his Grandfather who does nothing but practice Tai-Chi in every single scene that he's in.
  • Christmas Episode: Episode 37 features the Christmas holiday in both parts. (With background foreshadowing in episodes 35 and 36)
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Early in the manga it's shown that a kangaroo works at Shirokuma Cafe. She mentions wanting some help in the garden and then, outside of a brief cameo many pages later, is never seen again. note 
  • Civilized Animal: Most of the animal characters, pretty much. They tend to zig-zag to Partially Civilized Animal, however.
  • Couch Gag: In the second opening every 3-4 episodes will change what shows on the Panda family's TV. For example: MC 469MA, the Penguin Superhero Show, or Yama Arashi.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Episode 24, where Panda's seen eating a bamboo parfait and Masaki and Tree Kangaroo show up to deliver coffee beans.
    • Episode 32 references the cherry tree party and Penguin getting drunk.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In revenge for Shirokuma's constant use of puns, the animals, Handa, and Sasako band together to say nothing but puns back to him. Shirokuma ends up running away each time. It turns out every friend/acquaintance that Shirokuma runs into, throws puns at him, causing him to start freaking out
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Panda with Smartphones. He really really wants one because they're "Cool" but doesn't give a crap about using it for anything. He just wanted an excuse to use a Panda themed protective cover.
    Panda: The Smartphone was the accessory...
  • Cool Car: The transforming flying car from the first intro. Which is never seen in the actual show.
  • Credits Jukebox: A new ending every 4-5 episodes. Three openings so far, spaced farther out.
  • Cuteness Overload: No matter how uncomfortable Mr Necktie gets at the Cafe, this keeps him interested.
    • Rin-rin with Pandas. Especially at the second Cherry Blossom viewing, he was surrounded by Panda's entire family, Full-time Panda's entire family, and Handa (Whom he literally thought was a Panda for a few seconds) he outright admitted his life's wish was fulfilled.
  • Death Glare: When Penguin accidentally blurts out that he can't tell all the "Penko's" apart during episode 22, he receives a death glare from all seven of them. Rather impressive, considering you can't usually see their eyes.
    • Baby King Penguin has a permanent death glare, albeit unintentional. He is very pure and innocent and just happens to look scary.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Implied with Penguin, as he appears to be easily distracted during driving lessons and has failed his driver's test several times. Shirokuma attempts to teach him, but his advice is largely useless. He eventually does get his driver's license, but Shirokuma and Panda make him twitchy when he's driving.
  • Epic Fail: Penguin and Panda visit Shirokuma when he's sick and try to tend to him. After demonstrating that they're incapable of helping him in any way, they end up catching his cold.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Mandrill. Also, the gorilla at Grizzly's bar (who may or may not be the same one from the Baseball Episode).
  • Everything Is Better With Penguins: Unless you're Penguin himself.
  • Exact Words: Masaki wants to meet Shirokuma's coffee supplier. Shirokuma replies that it's a little far, and it turns out that it's a tree house behind the cafe. He did say it was a little far.
  • Face of a Thug: King Penguin's son is your typical, playful baby penguin... who happens to look like a vicious ball of black fuzz, with a perpetual Death Glare.
    • Mandrill too, apparently being made far too often to play the role of oni at Setsubun.
  • Fangirl: Mama Panda and Mama King Penguin are fans of Yama Arashi. Mei Mei is a fangirl for Handa.
  • Fast-Forward Gag: During Panda's Imagine Spot about opening his own cafe.
  • Festival Episode:
    • The cafe throws a sports day for all the animals (and Handa) with Sasako serving as the emcee.
    • Shirokuma sets up a food stall at the summer festival and the cafe celebrates Tanabata with a massive bamboo tree.
  • Flat "What.": Shirokuma after Masaki declares he wants to learn how to roast coffee from Tree Kangaroo, who does not accept apprentices. Complete with gobsmacked expression when Panda wants in on the attention and says he wants to as well.
  • Food Porn:
    • Since the show takes place in a cafe, this is expected, especially with Shirokuma's desserts and other things he's made.
    • Subverted when Sasako creates three parfaits in the image of Shirokuma, Panda, and Penguin as test samples for a future menu special. When two curious patrons offer to taste them, they demolish the desserts with such frightening enthusiasm that Shirokuma changes his mind and offers a lunch sampler special instead.
    • The show likes to spend several seconds on the food as well as the ingredients.
    • The theme has this (Example Translated): "Let's drink Mocha latte Ole Tea, and add pancakes and ice-cream to that, let's drink strawberry and mango shakes"
  • Foreshadowing: In the third episode when asked if Polar Bear had a problem, he says he always wanted to become an idol. But was too busy with his studies to do so, causing Penguin to say "There you go, lying again..." he at one point was a famous hip-hop performer, though whether Penguin is aware of that career, or simply thought the idea that Polar Bear would actually want to be one is ludicrous, is unknown
    • Panda brings up Yama Arashi in a conversation with Full-Time long before they actually appeared.
  • For the Evulz: In the South Pole Squad Penguinger TV special. the Evil Emperor (Played by Penguin) kidnaps Yama Arashi and forces the entire world to listen to his comedic storytelling. When asked why he did it, he says a few reasons, the first being, "Why? Because I'm evil!"
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Zig-zagged. The animals who usually walk on all fours (namely bears, big cats, canines, and mustelids) are bipedal. However Llama, Tortoise, Sloth and few others still walk on four legs. Though justified that Llama's legs would be too thin to support his weight if he did walk upright, Tortoise's shell weighs him down too much to even attempt, and Sloth simply doesn't have the energy to support himself on two legs
  • Genre Savvy: Penguin instinctively senses he's better off not knowing the details about what happens in the shadowed portion of the Cafe's backyard. Especially when asking about it causes Shirokuma's visage to darken and his voice to distort.
    • It isn't until the second last episode that the characters ask "What is Penguins job anyway?" note  and "How does he climb onto that stool?"
  • Gilligan Cut: Played with. Shirokuma seems to enjoy Tempting Fate in order to invoke one. Sometimes it works, as in the case of Rin-Rin tracking down Panda's home.
  • The Ghost: During the first cherry blossom festival, Penguin while drunk, thinks Panda and Llama are people named Mr. Yoshizaki. and Mr. Nogura. Whoever these people are and whatever connection they have to Penguin is unknown as they are never mentioned again, nor ever seen. Though Penguin being drunk could have made them up.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Tree Kangaroo smokes, though he would be placed under the "Wise or Fatherly" exception in kid shows.
  • Gossipy Hens:
    • Panda and Full-Time Panda like to speculate about Handa's (non-existent) love life and couples at the zoo.
    • Shirokuma gets in on the act when Handa asks him for romantic advice and Shirokuma proceeds to text all the animals for their opinions.
  • Grand Finale: All the characters that have appeared in the anime all come together at the cafe for a cherry blossom viewing party.
  • Hair Decs: Mei Mei has a pair that makes her ears look like odango.
    • And as seen in a flashback, Grizzly's high school crush Tsukiko wears ribbons around her ears.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: King Penguin. People keeping on mistaking her kind for emperor penguins and Panda's sheer cluelessness (or stupidity) when trying to console her don't help. Bonus points for being voiced by Hot-Blooded specialist Nobuyuki Hiyama.
  • Hammer Space: Where does Shirokuma get his miscellaneous pun props?
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Grizzly and Shirokuma since they were cubs.
  • Hidden Depths: Penguin enjoys painting as a hobby, Sloth likes ballroom dancing and has a Ph.D. (Even if it's a doctorate in hanging out in a tree all day.)
    • Panda when feeling guilty for Shirokuma to be questioned by the police, gives Shirokuma a daylong vacation and runs the store in his place. One watching would assume "Hahaha he's going to Epic Fail and run it into the ground!" but actually Panda does a really good job, because he actually gave a crap about work for once.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Penguin criticizes Panda for only stocking things he likes in his hypothetical cafe. Then, when Penguin imagines what his own hypothetical cafe would look like, he does exactly the same thing.
    • Sasako thinks it's romantic to have someone persistently ask you out, until Panda and Shirokuma asked what if it happened to her. Then she pauses and admits it's not as romantic.
    • Polar Bear states how unoriginal it is for Brown Bear to call his Cafe "Brown Bear's Cafe"
  • I Am Not Weasel: King Penguin is frequently mistaken for emperor penguins due to their similar appearances, much to her dismay.
  • Image Song/"Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The ending themes.
    • "Bamboo☆Scramble" (Panda)
    • "Grizzly-san no G★ROCK" note  (Grizzly)
    • "Mizuiro" note  (Sasako)
    • "ZOOtto ne" note  (Full-Time Panda)
    • "Michinoku Shiiku Blues" note  (Handa)
    • "Zokkon! Penko-san" note  (Penguin)
    • "Kimama ni Panda-Mama" note  (Panda Mama)
    • "Llama-san no Llama Mambo" note  (Llama)
    • "Largo" (Sloth)
    • "Bamboo Rendezvous" (Mei-Mei)
    • "Pandaholic!" (Rin-Rin)
    • "My Dear" (Polar Bear)
  • Imagine Spot
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Penguin's nephew and King Penguin's son.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog:
    • Shirokuma claims he's drying kelp on the floor of his house as an excuse to keep Panda and Penguin from coming over to his house.
    • Handa shoo's Panda out of his house twice by claiming he needs to clean his bathroom.
  • Interspecies Friendship
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • A one-sided version with Panda's littler sister crushing heavily on Handa. Then Shirokuma jokes about them marrying and Panda's imagination runs with it.
    • Panda sees a real estate agent mistakes Handa and a female badger as a newlywed couple. Panda's imagination really runs with it and mistakenly lets the zoo believe it's true.
      • The fact the agent was serious, that seems to imply that "real" inter-species couples may actually exist in that world.
    • In another episode, Penguin mistakenly thought Penko was in love with Tortoise.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Shirokuma is talented with pretty much any task, whether it be running a cafe, cooking, surfing, catching a baseball, golf, playing the Ukulele, making sandcastle sculptures, when he filled in for Panda at the zoo, he was even a better Panda than Panda was. Seeing him "Fail at something" rarely ever happens.
    • The same can also be said for Grizzly.
  • Josei: Yes, this is a josei series.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: Tree Kangaroo works behind the cafe roasting coffee beans and delivers them to the cafe.
    • Grey kangaroos work at the cafe vegetable gardens.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In episode 40 both Panda and Penguin bring up the fact that neither of each-other's eyes are visible.
  • Large Ham: Grizzly, Anteater, and the penguins (except Penguin, aka Emperor Penguin).
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Lampshaded when Shirokuma and Penguin go to the zoo and Shirokuma wants to...go see the resident polar bear diving into a pool. Further lampshaded when a sign outside the exhibit forbids polar bears from entering since it's 'confusing.'
    • Played with when the editor of a local food magazine is a shoebill. He doesn't speak at all, letting his writers speak for him, and acts more like a typical shoebill.
    • Brought up again with Mr. Necktie in the second half of episode 16. The episode follows how he reacts to the unfamiliar coexistence of humans and animals, given that he is new to the town because of work. In particular, he experiences Shirokuma's cafe and Grizzly's bar.
    • The anime's second opening shows how the humans and animals live and work together.
  • Local Hangout: The cafe, obviously. Its close location to the zoo means that all the animals tend to hang out there.
    • Bar The Grizzly, while not as frequent, the characters do tend to hang out there quite often.
  • Manly Tears: Grizzly in episode 16. Wolf in episode 34.
  • Mood Whiplash: Some episodes have a more serious tone or do not go for the usual slapstick comedy. However, episode 44 amps this up to eleven. If you didn't cry watching this episode, you're heartless.
  • Moment Killer:
    • Llama unintentionally destroys what was shaping up to be a lovely moment between Handa and Sasako.
    • Panda and the rest of the gang unintentionally did this too during the Summer Festival.
  • Musical Nod/Theme Tune Cameo:
    • Panda (Jun Fukuyama) humming the show's ending theme, Bamboo Scramble (sung by Jun Fukuyama).
    • Penguin drunkenly sings along to the opening theme at a karaoke bar.
      • He does it again in episode 50. Only he's not drunk.
    • Shirokuma sings the first line to Sasako's ending song while cycling.
    • Handa hums part of Sasako's ending song at the end of episode 48. It's a nice touch considering it follows one of their interactions.
  • Nephewism: Penguin's nephew from episode 19.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The first nasty character to appear is a Black Caiman, in a Bad-Guy Bar. Subverted in his later appearances, however.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Invoked In-Universe with the cafe's ghost story night. However, most of the animal ones are not scary, scaring only Handa because he hates scary stories. Then Sasako's (mostly) unheard ghost story terrifies everyone in the Cafe with a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. Handa is rendered catatonic with terror.
    • Rin-Rin (especially the scene when admitting his affections for Panda) goes extremely deep into "Creepy Stalker" territory.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Mandrill has a habit of closing up into others' faces, and this once scared Handa in one episode.
  • Nutty Squirrel: Subverted with the coffee bean assorting red squirrels from episode 19. They take their work very seriously and Mama Red Squirrel gets very serious when it comes to matters of food and nuts.
  • Odd Friendship: Penguin and Grizzy strike one up during the camping trip in episode 17. Despite having nothing meaningful in common, they bond over how Shirokuma and Panda drive them nuts.
  • Once an Episode: Waking up Grizzly from hibernation for a trivial matter seems to have become this.
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • Shirokuma circles around the drive-through window of a local burger joint and freaks out the poor cashier four times before placing an order.
    • Also the sloth leaving the group to go to the convenience store and it cuts to the show bumpers three times before moving on.
  • Panthera Awesome: Lion and Tiger.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted. Panda's "Shirokuma" disguise doesn't fool the cafe patrons for a second.
    • Shirokuma's panda paint job also fools nobody because he's huge. It also gets him in trouble with a local police officer for identity fraud.
  • Playful Otter: One of them frequently visits the cafe.
    • Otters become a plot point in episode 16, where Grizzly thought a group of them ate Shirokuma, when they actually ate a dessert shaped like a polar bear.
    • The Christmas Episode reveals that an otter looks after Grizzly's bar while he hibernates.
  • Power Trio: Shirokuma, Panda, Penguin. Although Penguin and Shirokuma's roles will alternate depending on the situation and Panda is The Ditz.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Neither the manga nor the anime have a real overarching story, so none of the changes are important, but the manga is fairly different from the anime. Characters in the anime are introduced in a completely different order and situation than their manga counterparts. The anime has several stories not present in the manga, and for the stories the two mediums do share, there are always changes in the characters' personalities and dialogues.
    • One of the bigger changes is the still continuing Penko subplot. Penko does not exist in the manga in any form, and Penguin's love life is never an issue.
  • Precocious Crush: Mei-Mei, Panda's sister, has one... on Handa.
  • Pun: A staple of the show's humor.
  • Pungeon Master: Shirokuma is a frequent practitioner of dajare, a Japanese form of humor that revolves around puns based on the pronunciation (rather than the reading) of words.
    • Lampshaded when Shirokuma is driving and he notices a bagel in his car. He proceeds to riff some puns, but then comments that it's not as fun because Penguin and Panda both fell asleep and didn't notice.
      • He even plays them with a Black Caiman threatening to eat Panda!
    • When Panda tries to do the same, nobody pays attention, and then it turns out he is inner-monologuing.
    • Subverted in "Penguin's Confession" when Shirokuma starts to make a pun, Penguin cuts him off and skedaddles out of the cafe. Two seconds later, he comes back in and Sasako fills in a pun for Shirokuma.
    • Handa adds a few puns himself.
    • Hurricane of Puns: This comes back to bite Shirokuma in the ass, as everyone is so tired of his puns, that they start doing it back to him. He gets so flustered that he apologizes for it but everyone acknowledges it's part of his personality.
    • One time when Panda says he's going to be a Roller. Shirokuma does several puns, one of which is dealer. Which in a twist to the running gag, Panda admits for once Shirokuma is correct. Though Panda meant a Car Dealer, while Shirokuma meant a Casino Dealer.
  • Put on a Bus: The zoo transfers Full-Time Panda to the zoo in Singapore, and Panda takes it very poorly.
  • Real Men Can Cook: A variation of this is played with animals that are apex predators.
  • Running Gag:
    • Panda's fear of his mother's vacuum cleaner.
    • Shirokuma's puns.
    • Penguin buying far too much bread at Penko's bakery as an excuse to hang around her...and then trying to dump it off at Shirokuma Cafe.
    • Penguin trying to get people to listen to his rakugo (comedic storytelling).
      • Though in the final episodes he seemed to have ditched that in favour of Ventriloquism.
    • The Emperor Penguin and King Penguin chicks playing rope train.
    • Shirokuma interrupting Grizzly's hibernation for mundane reasons. Then Grizzly tries to pre-empt him.
    • Panda and others fawning over his cuteness.
    • Sloth or Tortoise's slowness. One of them (Or both at the same time) arriving at or finishing up an event long after it's finished.
    • Panda and Full-Time sitting around talking or doing mundane things when they're supposed to be performing for the Zoo patrons, which Handa complains to them about.
    • In the paper doll segments at the very end, Polar Bear always teases about what the next episode is going to about.
      The next episode is going to be the final episode (He says this in the first episode)
      The next episode will be voiced in Portuguese
  • Satellite Love Interest: When Panda asks the 7 Penko's what they like about Penguin, they all realize there isn't anything they like about him. He gets dumped on the spot.
  • Seldom Seen Species: One of the recurring characters is a tamandua, a type of anteater. A tapir and a sea cow appeared in episode 3, and a shoebill was the editor of a local food magazine.
    • Episode 19 introduces King Penguin, the 3 members of genus Pygoscelis (Adelie, Chinstrap, and Gentoo), and Tree Kangaroo.
    • Lesser Panda from Episode 20 and then on.
    • Mr. Crested Serpent Eagle from episode 29.
    • The alligator who called Panda delicious is a Black Caiman.
    • Prairie dogs and ring-tailed lemurs work in the cafe gardens.
    • The Yama Arashi consists of different types of porcupines, and capybaras assist with the music.
    • The local animal doctor from Episode 46 is a tarsier.
  • Serious Business: Apparently buying all-you-can-get walnuts and dining in all-you-can-eat cake restaurants are so, according to Mama Red Squirrel and Mama King Penguin.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Shirokuma on occasion. This irritates Penguin when Shirokuma starts speaking in technical jargon.
  • Sexophone: Played when Mei-Mei meets Handa for the first time.
    • Also in "Rin-Rin and the High School Girl" in which the girl trips and Rin-Rin catches her.
  • Shaped Like Itself: "I think the act of acting naturally is 'acting natural'."
  • Shipper on Deck: All the animals for Handa and Sasako.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Revolutionary Girl Utena, of all things.
    • Panda's Training Montage in episode 6 is a shout out to Rocky, complete with a shout of "Adrian!"
    • He also starts walking around in an outfit similar to Darth Vader.
    • Shirokuma does an...interesting impression of Holly Golightly while promoting the cafe's latest dessert.
    • In episode 18, Shirokuma tells a horror story that he changed color due to a mouse chewing on his ear and he feared mice because of it.
    • Among Full-Time Panda's collection of mecha model kits [that he keeps hidden in a bush in the enclosure] are what look like several Gundam mecha, as well as GaoGaiGar.
    • One of the visitors to Penguin's art show is probably meant to be Osamu Tezuka.
    • In "Love Love Driving Tactics", at the start of the drive Panda seems to be playing a PSP like device. The panel on the back with the ring makes it glaringly obvious.
    • In the Summer Festival there is a mask that looks glaringly similar to Naruto.
    • In episode 38 Panda is reading a Manga of a Sherlock Holmes expy.
    • In Episode 49, "Mr. Llama's Time Capsule" As they're sitting down on a stoop eating cream buns, Sasako gets up looking around.
      Panda: Did you just see Superman?
  • Shown Their Work: The penguin classification in Episode 19, even using the genus names Pygoscelis (for Adelie, Chinstrap, and Gentoo) and Aptenodytes (for King and Emperor). They also described how the species from genus Pygoscelis got their names.
    • Most of the animal stuff in general.
    • The squirrels teaching Masaki all about coffee.
  • Something Blues: The fifth ending is called "Michinoku Zoo-Keeper Blues". The BGM that plays whenever Tiger, Lion and Wolf are present is called "Wild Beast Blues".
  • Squee: The ladies on the group blind date as well as the karaoke bar waitress, upon seeing Panda sitting on the floor of their karaoke room and pulling out bamboo to eat.
    • Panda is shown to relish being adored, but then he gets annoyed when Shirokuma steals the spotlight from him, as demonstrated during the beach adventure.
    • Mei-Mei's reaction to Handa in general.
  • Species Surname: All the animals are simply referred to by what they are (Llama, Sloth, etc.).
    • Inverted with Masaki, a human patron. Shirokuma jokes that he calls him "Human" while everyone else refers to him by name.
    • Averted with Mei-Mei and Tsukiko.
    • This could possibly be justified, that the name Panda, may be to Pandas, as John Smith is to humans. So Full-Time Panda, and Temp-Panda, may also just be called "Panda" in their respective families, and are given different titles at work to make it easier.
  • The Stoic: Shirokuma, though he also has Not So Stoic moments.
  • Stunned Silence: When Panda finds out Rin-Rin (his secret fan) is the local male florist, he's rendered into a horrified silence.
    • Sloth and Tortoise show up to the cafe play sunset, hours after the game is over. Everyone is literally staring at them.
  • Sugar Bowl: The world this show takes place in, is a world where humans and anthropomorphic animals live in harmony as equals, no prejudice between them, drinking and smoking are shown but never in a way that they look sleazy, no villains are present (Unless you count that creepy Caimen, but even he was toned down), everyone is friends with one another (Even if they won't admit it) the third intro really hammers this trope in.
  • Surprisingly Good English: The British-sounding explorer in Handa's explanation of pandas.
  • Supreme Chef: Shirokuma, naturally. Sasako is also pretty talented with food as Shirokuma loves her pot stickers (gyoza) and two female customers thoroughly enjoy the parfaits she made.
    • However, Sasako and Panda found Shirokuma's pancakes to be too salty because he added salmon to it.
    • Grizzly is no slouch, either. Although this is to be expected as he did grow up with Shirokuma and he operates his own bar.
    • Grizzly's Mother apparently is a master at making soup, since everyone at Bar The Grizzly loved it to death, despite not even being on the menu (which Grizzly complained about).
  • Swapped Roles: Shirokuma and Panda try out each others jobs for a day. The results are mixed, to say the least.
    • Panda tries out the other roles at the zoo and utterly fails at all of them. Llama, on the other hand, is such an excellent replacement panda that Full-Time Panda compliments him several times. Witnessing this causes Panda to go back to his original job and Llama to ponder what other roles he could try out.
  • Sweat Drop: Sasako, Handa, and Penguin get instant ones as soon as Shirokuma or Panda say something outrageous.
    • Panda whenever he has to deal with Rin Rin.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Shirokuma is in need of an employee to help him run the cafe and the animals that he interviews all fail at answering his questions. He ends up hiring Sasako after she comes into the cafe carrying Sloth on a branch.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Things, actually. Panda Mama, Ms. King Penguin, Mama Red Squirrel, and a fourth woman in episode 23 basically camp out in the cafe, and demand free coffee refills.
    • Poor Red Panda has to deal with them when they also invite Sasako along.
    • Penguin when he visits Panda's house for New Year's.
  • Token Human: Although there are plenty of humans in the setting, Sasako and Handa are the two main human characters as Sasako is the cafe's sole human employee and Mr. Handa is Panda's zookeeper. They inevitably get dragged into the shenanigans.
    • Rin-rin is the local florist who's a Loony Fan for pandas and even gets a few A Day in the Limelight segments of his own.
    • Kirino the second zookeeper is Handa's subordinate.
    • Masaki, Tree Kangaroo's apprentice. At one point Shirokuma wonders if he should just call him 'human'.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Compared to his manga counterpart, Panda is much more rude and thoughtless to his friends and peers.
  • Too Much Information: In Episode 10's group date, Handa tries to impress the girls with his knowledge of pandas...and their poop.
  • True Companions: Penguin may be annoyed by Panda's often thoughtless remarks, but after seeing how depressed Panda was after learning of Full-Time Panda's reassignment to Singapore and how it affected his job performance, Penguin goes to defend Panda and calls himself Panda's best friend.
  • Ugly Cute: In-Universe: King Penguin's son, who she defends as being "adorably ugly".
  • Weirdness Magnet: The Cafe is a low level one. Mostly oddments and inexplicable anomalies. (Where do those dogu and Jomon potteries come from?)
    • Mr. Necktie thinks the town itself is a low-level one because of the large number of animal citizens.
  • X Meets Y: Cheers with Funny Animals.
Shining HeartsAnime of the 2010sSmile Pretty Cure!
Seigi No MikataJoseiSpotted Flower

alternative title(s): Shirokuma Cafe
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