Anime Review: Shirokuma Cafe – 22
No, seriously, Penguin, who do you really like? They’re waiting for your answer.
Penguin may not have had the same amount of screen time as Panda and Shirokuma throughout the season, but Shirokuma Cafe is making sure it makes up for it. In episode 22, not only do you get your dose of Penguin, but you get extra dosage of penguins all together.
Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo, the trio of penguins from the Pygoscelis genus family, had a dilemma on their hands. They had an abundance of penguin card sets (cards that help tell every single penguin on Earth apart) and they needed to think of a way to sell them. The gang (minus Penguin, who was forced to hide in the corner because too many penguins in one vicinity is confusing) all gave their input — Panda suggested to sell them to kids, Shirokuma suggested to sell them as shoehorns, Sasako suggested to give them away at the train station along with tissues, among others — but their ideas proved to be as useless as their perceived value of the cards. Eventually, they discovered the perfect use for them, which was interesting to say the least.
The second half of the episode finds Penguin having Penko trouble again. And by Penko trouble, I mean Penkos trouble. After having trouble choosing which Penko he likes, he’s forced to date all of them. Sounds pimptacular, right? It would, except for that fact that every time Penguin went on a date, he had to take all 7 of them out at the same time. That’s an obvious disaster waiting to happen; more so because Penguin couldn’t remember their names. Good ol’ reliable Sasako ends up providing a nice tip on how to tell them apart… it just didn’t work out as well as Penguin had hoped.
Holy penguin overload, Batman! Like this whole show, Penguin is an acquired taste. He may not be as “lovable” as Panda or as punny as Shirokuma, but he plays the perfect straight man (straight penguin?) to those characters. I personally like the Penguin character. At the right dosage he’s very entertaining, particularly when he flies off the handle, gets smitten or gets drunk. Indeed, drunk Penguin is best Penguin.
That said, I don’t know what it is, but a Penguin-centered segment just doesn’t work for me these days. I thought it was fine whenever they focused on Penguin’s date-asking adventures with Penko earlier in the season, but now anything Penko-related just isn’t appealing. Maybe it’s because I feel like they botched that whole narrative? The whole Penko thing is a mess. Or maybe it’s because Penguin is better when he has Shirokuma and Panda to play off of? You’d think playing off 7 Penkos would provide good fodder, but it’s just not the same.
As for the Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo story, I thought the use of their characters was a waste. Anything would have been better than them trying to figure out how to hawk penguin cards. Still, if you’re a penguin otaku, you’ll absolutely love this episode.
GO Rating: 2.5/5
It’s not what you think. (That is, if you’re thinking what I think some people are thinking.)