It’s time the world puts an end to senseless penguin-on-penguin violence.
Who knew king penguins had it so tough? Not only are they smaller than emperor penguins, they often get mistaken for them, too. And even their babies aren’t as cute.
We meet a king penguin in episode 19, and his inferiority complex and the big chip on his shoulder were on full display. Naturally, King Penguin doesn’t get along with Penguin (emperor), and they get into their fair share of arguments along the way. Penguin wasn’t the only one who suffered the wrath of King Penguin, as poor Panda also met his ire.
And if you thought an outdoor pool segment filled with king penguins and emperor penguins is a lot, Shirokuma Cafe made sure you had your complete penguin fix with the introduction of Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo, a trio of penguins from the Pygoscelis genus as well. Other than penguin overload, this segment was quite educational.
Besides a brief appearance from Penguin himself, a penguin breather was given to viewers in the second half of the episode. Instead, it focused on an odd story about a cafe customer named Masaki (or Human, according to Shirokuma) and his desire to be a pupil to a coffee-roasting master named Tree Kangaroo. No, really.
This was definitely a bounce back episode, although a complete catastrophe would have been worse than last week. On the plus side, we were introduced to a lot of new animals — different variations of penguins, red squirrels and a tree kangaroo — and a new human character who I think has made a brief appearance in a past episode but was never identified. It further adds to one of the best cast of characters (seriously) of the past two anime seasons, and adds to the bustling world of Shirokuma Cafe. You never know what kind of animal you’ll meet next, and it’s one of the alluring aspects of the show.
The episode also had its collection of humor and eccentricity, which is a combination this show excels at. How the show is able to present a very random idea out of nowhere and turn it into a watchable narrative is beyond my understanding most of the time, but it usually results in a good time and that’s all that matters.
On the downside, Shirokuma Cafe seems to have become a very directionless series ever since they wrapped up the Penguin/Penko story. I understand that it’s episodic by nature, but they at least had something constant in terms of narrative going on. And unless we’re going to get a follow-up episode of Masaki becoming a full-fledged coffee-roasting master, then his story and introduction, as well as the introduction of the other new characters, only added to yet another filler episode.
What happened to furthering the potential romance between Handa and Sasako? That’s something I want to see at least every other episode, which was the going rate for the Penguin/Penko courtship. Shirokuma Cafe is clearly better suited as an 11 or 12-episode series and it’s been pretty evident the past few episodes.
GO Rating: 3/5
Let’s envision a future where emperor penguins and king penguins live in peace and harmony.