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Anime and Manga, Impressions

Polar Bear Cafe: episode 1

There’s nothing more silly than having animals run a cafe. Well there are, depending on people’s taste, but that’s besides the point. So, because of this premise that I wanted to follow this anime from Spring 2012. But did it tickle my fancy? Not particularly well.

A promising potential of shenanigans was shown in its nonsensical opening song. I like the song quite well, in fact. I don’t listen to much of this kind, but this one really hits it with me. I don’t see myself skipping the OP for a few episodes. But the accompanying animation is what makes it really silly. It really puts a smile on my face and have me laughing silently as I watch it. I mean, sure, the panda-car is somewhat silly, but then it turned into a penguin-snow mobile, and then into a flying polar bear car! What’s up with that?

A nice touch with the Japanese subtitle, using emotes like that.

After that mirth inducing start, it kind of falls off a little bit for me. The jokes are mostly animal-based, since the majority of the characters are animals. Most of them fall flat for me. There are a few wordplay jokes, but it probably needs a mastery of Japanese to get the joke properly, and through translation, it got delivered sub-optimally. Well that’s the way with those kinds of jokes anyway. There are other, more visual jokes; like how  main character, a NEET** panda, is coerced by his mother to look for a job, or the conversation between the titular polar bear and his regular customer, a penguin. But as I said before it falls flat delivering the jokes. Some took too long to deliver the punchline, missing the window to make me laugh. I got a few good chuckle, but that’s mostly it.

But then, our NEET panda found a part-time job at a zoo, and there it starts to get a little bit interesting. There, our cute panda is working together with a full-time bigger panda in the zoo. The job, unsurprisingly, is to act like a normal panda. Of course, the animals in this show are more like normal-human-in-animal-body, our young panda is confused on how he himself should act. Quite weird, but there you go. After a hard day’s work at the zoo, the NEET panda goes back to the cafe to chill and relax with other part-timers (revealed afterwards). A novel idea, and one I would love to see the series grow on it.

Regardless of all that, the saving grace for it is the beautiful and amusing ending song. As far as I can tell, it’s a stop-motion animation of our NEET panda using, off all things, Go pieces. Accompanied by what I think are traditional Japanese  and modern music instruments, both the animation melds into a beautiful mix of old an new.  I don’t know how to describe further how I feel regarding it, other than sheer amusement and delight at it as a whole. Sadly, there’s no video of it on Youtube. *sad panda*

Love it.

Another beautiful touch is the preview sequence. The characters that delivers the preview are cutout paper dolls. They do some jokes here too, but I don’t feel like laughing at it much.

On the whole, I like it, but a little bit disappointed. The OP and ED are quite wonderful, but they can only hold me for so long. I like how the animals of the zoo are actually the animal-citizens working in it and act as they are supposed to if they are not projected as humans. Hopefully they can expand on that; IMO it has so much potential than to be just a slice-of-life comedy, only with humans projected into animals. Here’s me looking forward to the next episode.

**NEET: Not in Education, Employment or Training.

[I had this written last week, and thought to have scheduled it to post on Sunday or so. But as it turns out, I didn’t. So my plans of posting my impressions of Spring 2012 anime season is all in disarray.]

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About fEast91

A foreign student who happens to like manga/anime and headphones.

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