Anime Review: Shirokuma Cafe – 21
Looks like Sasako has some competition.
What will they come up with next in the world of Shirokuma Cafe? I mean, it’s weird enough that animals are able to work regular human jobs, but animals are also able to work the jobs… of other animals? That’s exactly what happened in the first half of episode 21.
Panda, in his usual whimsy fashion, decides that he no longer wants to be a panda. Knowing Panda as well as they do, you’d figure the cafe crew would be prepared to react to any offbeat announcement Panda makes, but even they were speechless at that declaration. The half is then spent with Panda working as and essentially being other animals at the zoo. We see him tackle being a badger and an otter, among others. Naturally he’s not good at being any other animal, but how fun would that be if he was?
The second half was spent with Panda’s sister Mei Mei (played adorably by Kana Hanazawa) fangirling over her new crush
Prince Han Handa. Mei Mei happened to visit the zoo one day and her heart was won over by Handa’s kindness. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that this “extremely popular, good-looking prince” (according to Mei Mei) has the likeness of a panda. Those who know me won’t be surprised to know that I ate this whole segment up seeing as I’m a fan of Hanazawa. It even had an interesting, albeit odd, twist to it.
Shirokuma Cafe continues to be full of surprises. Seeing as the show’s world is structured that way, the option to explore human-animal intimate relationships has always been there. Even for a show like this, the concept is just too absurd, right? But then you begin to realize that “Nothing is too absurd” can absolutely work as this show’s tagline. And while the episode technically doesn’t explore it in its kinda-sorta way, the fact that the characters reacted like the potential of that kind of relationship is normal in that world is unsettling… yet oddly amusing.
The first half of the episode was harmless and had its funny moments, particularly with Llama. The second half was right up my alley. Hanazawa was on point as Mei Mei, and the way she fawned over Handa was just too damn cute. If the show revolved around Mei Mei instead of Panda it would be the best anime in the world! (Yes, I’m biased, okay.)
Good episode, although seeing a limited amount of both Shirokuma and Penguin felt quite foreign.
GO Rating: 3.5/5
Llama discovers his true calling.