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YMMV / Shirokuma Cafe

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Many people, including a lot here on this wiki, see Panda as a teenager due to his immaturity; others point at his mother nagging him to get a job, his never going to school, and the other characters treating him like an equal and say that he's supposed to be a NEET.
  • Ear Worm:
    • With 12 different ending themes, it's dang near impossible to not get one stuck in your head.
    • The three intros are of various musical styles but are all very catchy, notably the first opening with it's infectious line "Ma-ma-mahalo!".
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Grizzly isn't part of the main cast (Panda, Polar Bear, Penguin, and Sasako to a less extent), but he's at least very popular amongst western audiences.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Episode 43's focus on Full-Time Panda's night out with Llama and friends makes all the more heartbreaking sense when you realize that Episode 44 is the revelation that Full-Time Panda has been transferred to Singapore. It's one of his last nights in Japan so he spends a night out with his co-workers and friends.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Social Awkward Penguin got a species/genus makeover and is now an anime character. (The meme and the original manga are contemporaneous in appearance, so they probably weren't inspired by each other.)
    • We Bare Bears, a 2015 cartoon, also has a panda/grizzly/polar bear trio. WBB's Ice Bear is also a quiet jack-of-all-trades similar to Shirokuma, but exaggerated to an extreme. This was acknowledged by SC's creator. The episode "Coffee Cave" even had the bears suggest naming their cave "Polar Bear Cafe" only to shoot it down because it was already taken.
  • Ho Yay:
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    • Grizzly and Polar Bear occasionally appear to be more than just friends due to their closeness. The ending of episode 42 is especially full of fuel for this.
    • Polar Bear and Penguin were already friends prior to them meeting Panda and their relationship could be comparable to one of romance, especially after Polar Bear poses as Penguin's date.
    • A one sided version with Rin Rin's obsession over Panda. He's crazy about pandas in general but it's Panda in particular he loves to fanboy over, including sneaky photos and imagining getting his affection. It becomes so blatant that it crosses over to Stalker with a Crush territory.
    • Polar Bear is ridiculously nice to Panda and the two call each other the familial terms "Polar Bear-kun (Shirokuma-kun)" and "Panda-kun, resulting in a predictably popular ship (if all the fanart on Pixiv is anything to go by). This is a bit of a Relationship Voice Actor reference, as it wouldn't be the first time Takahiro Sakurai (Polar Bear) and Jun Fukuyama (Panda) gets cast together in Ho Yay-friendly roles — most notably Suzaku and Lelouch in Code Geass.
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    • Wolf and Tiger's incredible bromance in Episode 34, where Tiger lets the now-jobless Wolf work at his bakery and gives his full support when Wolf applies for work at Donkey's Bakery. When they find out he got accepted, the two are very happy and embrace each other.
  • Tear Jerker: Episode 44, where Full-Time Panda gets transferred to Singapore and Panda struggles to cope with his absence, seems to do all it can to be depressing, and just happens to be aired on Valentine's Day.
  • Uncanny Valley: When Polar Bear and Panda switch jobs for the day, Panda dresses like Polar Bear by dying his black spots white and looks... odd. The fact this is the only scene in the entire show where you see his actual eyes (they look just like Polar Bear's), is rather unsettling.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: King Penguin from episode 19 is female and even referred to as "Miss King Penguin". However, her voice sounds masculine (she is voiced by a male voice actor along with a few other animal mothers) and it makes her seem male. It doesn't help that she has "King" in her name.
  • The Woobie: It's easy to feel bad for some characters due to their Butt-Monkey moments.
    • One can feel a little bad for Llama sometimes. He's a genuinely nice guy but rarely gets any attention at the zoo, with the adjacent giraffe exhibit getting all the visitors.
    • Penguin is prone to getting the "The Friend Nobody Likes" treatment from Panda largely to his jerkassness and is generally perceived as lame/not interesting.
    • Rin Rin is seen as abhorrent by Panda and it's hard to watch him be instantly rejected by Panda when he's genuinely not being creepy just because Panda doesn't like that he's a man.
    • In episode 44, Panda himself. Watching him breaking down SOBBING shortly after he learns that Full-Time Panda was transferred to Singapore is completely gut-wrenching. Afterwards, Mr. Handa asks him if it's okay if he could work three days until they find another Panda to work, and Panda decides to work a full seven days a week, driving himself to exhaustion.
    • Mr. Handa works so hard at the zoo, and is loved by all the animals... but has absolutely no skill and no luck with romance.
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