Anime Review: Kemono Friends

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Hello and welcome to Japari Park! My name is Lystria, and I will be your guide to this wonderful place. Here, you will find that all of our animal girls roam freely in their natural habitats, each with their own strengths and abilities to adapt to their environment. Each one of these denizens of Japari Park is a friend, and they are in search of finding more. Perhaps you might be the one they’re looking for?

Japari Park is made possible by the anime and video game that has brought it to life: Kemono Friends. Without further ado, sit back, watch out for SPOILERS, and enjoy all of what we have to offer!

At this time, I will be answering all of the questions you might have about Japari Park and Kemono Friends.

PPP

Well… some of your questions.

What is Kemono Friends about?

Kemono Friends features all kinds of friends you will find in Japari Park and the adventures they have together. Starting in our savanna region, we meet with our star of the Park, Serval. One day, she discovers a mysterious animal in the savanna. Not knowing what kind of animal she is or where she comes from, Serval calls her Kaban, the Japanese word for “bag,” like the one she carries with her all the time.

Together, Kaban and Serval traverse across Japari Park along with an explanatory robot named Lucky, to reach the Park library. There, Kaban hopes to find out what kind of animal she is, and where she might find others of her kind. And of course, along the way, they meet new friends, each with their own special abilities.

kemono-lucky

What are friends?

Friends are the inhabitants of the island, exclusively here at Japari Park. Although they all have human features, they are each given features of animals. No one is really sure why they live here, or how they were brought here in the first place, but what they do know is that they exist, and they make the best out of their abilities in each region on the island.

If you would like to know more about each of these animals, Kemono Friends provides audio explanations about them for the intermission of each episode, taken from zoologists across Japan, the United States, and Canada.

Each friend is unique to their own animal features and abilities. And they’re very cute, don’t you think?

Ibis

Please, just don’t upset them.

What dangers are at Japari Park?

Friends may be dangerous at first glance, as they can be quite territorial. Like all creatures, they each respond differently to outsiders and the unknown. Some will fight, others will run or hide. However most of the time, they are social creatures, and they are always looking for friends. As long as you show no harm to them, they might think of you as a friend.

The most dangerous things about Japari Park are the ceruleans that also inhabit the island. Said to have come from the Sandstar, ceruleans devour friends, bringing them back to their place of origin and erasing their memories. Coming across one is very deadly, and it is recommended that you run away from them first. Fighting them is a last resort!

kemono-cerulean.png

How do friends interact with other friends?

Japari Park is home to a variety of friends, so naturally not all of them will agree on what’s best for each of them. For example, Lion and Moose have started their own factions in the plains area, where they are often at odds with each other in battle, pitting their friends against each other. Although playful, they are measuring each other’s strengths to see who is the most fit to rule the region.

But not all friends act out of aggression toward each other. In fact, most of them work together to achieve common goals, helping each other out to the best of their abilities, just like how American Beaver and Pairie Dog came together and built a house for themselves, with the help of Kaban and Serval on the Lake Shore. They are friends after all.

kemono-working.png

What kind of animal is Kaban?

Kaban doesn’t have the same strengths and abilities that other animals have. However, she has the power to think and make critical decisions, allowing her to learn and adapt to the other animals at Japari Park. For these reasons, one can easily find that she is in fact human.

kemono-kaban

Other friends think that being human makes Kaban a very special kind of animal, but Kaban does not think she is any more special than the others. In fact, she cowers before a lot of her friends’ unique abilities, not knowing what her own really are. Kaban learns a few things from these friends on her adventure, but she also gained mutual respect with each of them.

For that, Kaban does not see her as particularly unique, let alone superior, to her friends. Even though her friends count on her to make decisions, she lacks the confidence in her own abilities. However, with each friend she finds, Kaban learns to trust her animal friends on her journey to discover who she is.

kemono-serval-kaban

Where are the humans?

It’s not certain where the humans of Japari Park have gone, but it is clear that they have designed most of the Park themselves. From robots, to elaborate structures, to other machines on the island, humans have had their hand in making Japari Park the place it is today, but they are nowhere to be found. Kaban appears to be the last of her kind on the island, and she doesn’t really know how she came into existence either.

What we do know is that the humans of Japari Park seem to have played a huge role in the rise of the ceruleans, and have done what they could to contain them to the best of their abilities. However, those humans had failed and have since left the island. Although there is much exposition in Kemono Friends, it is never clear whether humans were responsible for the near destruction of Japari Park or why they had left in the first place. However, Kaban and her friends still live there, and they must find as many clues as they can to figure out this mystery for themselves, and what meaning it brings to their existence.

kemono-friends-group

Are humans bad?

Given the clues that humans certainly had an impact on the creation or discovery of the ceruleans, it may certainly seem that way. The original humans of Japari Park might also be blamed simply for running away from the island, leaving the other friends to fend for themselves. The original Japari Park seems to have made a huge distinction between humans and animals, but that distinction isn’t very sharp.

With Kaban’s own realization into the world, humans are seen as one among the animals, and they can learn and interact with the animals as any animal would. The other friends at Japari Park are just as confused as Kaban when it comes to understanding humans and their original intentions.

Whether or not humans are ultimately responsible for the dangers at Japari Park, it becomes clear that they are not the only ones that are going to change it. Rather than meet her friends to fit her own needs, Kaban selflessly cares for each of them, as if they were equals (for the lack of a better term). And in turn, it is out of this respect for these animals, learning from them, that Kaban finds her own courage to fight for her friends, and properly see them off when she ventures off to find out where the humans really have gone.

kemono-end

I don’t think Kemono Friends sees humans as bad. Rather, humans play a very specific role to recognize something that isn’t nearly as obvious to the most arrogant of our species: that we, too, are animals. And by that realization, we are not the only ones that must bear the responsibility to protect all animals for the sake of our own good. But it is by the respect for animals and recognizing our disposition from each one that may help us all live in a better world.

Who’s your favorite animal at Japari Park?

With so many varieties of friends at Japari Park, we are all going to have our own favorites. For me, I am quite fond of Margay. She comes across as a super fan for Japari Park’s idols, and knows a lot about the history of the island’s most popular group, PaPiPu. She may seem very shy and distant at first, but she loves experiencing the crowd, as she draws more friends toward her. She’s quite the organizer with a bit of wit, and– oh, what am I saying — SHE’S SUPER CUTE WITH THOSE GLASSES!!

Margay

Sigh… there’s no way to make this NOT sound like I’m a furry.

That’s all the time we have for questions on our tour of Japari Park!

So if you would like to know more about this world and the adventures of cute anthropomorphized animals as anime girls, check out Kemono Friends!

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