Hello, everyone. I may not be an anthropomorphized animal, but I am still one of the MANGA.TOKYO Friends, Ayumi!
Do you know the lines ‘Ama~zing!’ ‘Oh, you’re a Friend that can do XX!’ that are currently taking over Japan’s otaku Twitter world? And that’s not an exaggeration. These lines that make you think that intelligence has degenerated to this extreme come from none other than Kemono Friends, the anime that is taking Japan’s otaku world by storm (and probably will in the future as well).
There are probably many people who thought that this anime was boring, lacked content, had a low intelligence quotient, and was so childish that it shouldn’t have aired in the middle of the night. Granted, there must have been many people watching the opening song and the first episode saying ‘Wha.. What is this?’ and sat there open-mouthed until it ended.
Well then, why is such a ‘healing-type’ anime popular in the otaku world?
Japanese People are Tired
It may seem like a childish reason, but I can’t talk about Kemono Friends without mentioning this.
There are many Japanese people who work overtime for days on end, who struggle with the stresses of daily life and with other worries. It may be bad to paint a whole country of people with one brush, but while it is sad, I think that the lack of self-affirmation is one of Japan’s distinguishing features. In the midst of this, starting with Serval-chan’s line ‘Oh, You’re a Friend that can do XX!’, the world establishes itself as a place where ‘even if you make a mistake, you don’t blame anyone and you will not be blamed.’ In this world, the concept of invalidation does not exist and the entire anime is enveloped in happiness. I think it is the perfect anime to watch when you are tired from work.
When something bad has happened and you begin to blame yourself for it, you can watch the anime and think ‘I’m a Friend who is good at XX.’ The anime helps you see things a little more positively. There are probably many Japanese people who were attracted by that. In other words, if you are tired of life and you watch the anime until episode three, you’ll be happy.
The person who created the opening song is Masayoshi Ooishi, the man behind the opening song for Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun (Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun). No wonder the tune is so catchy; I listen to it more than 10 times a day. It is an opening song that can make you happy.
It Pretends to be a CGDCT Anime
There are many ‘healing-type’ anime and they come in different forms. There is an endless supply of the so-called CGDCT(Cute Girls Doing Cute Things) anime. I can’t say I’ve completely explained the reasons behind this anime’s popularity with just the previous paragraph. Why is Kemono Friends excelling so much?
・Turbulence lies behind the happy exterior
‘Amazing!’ ‘So fun!’
Hidden behind these lines that seem to lower one’s intelligence is a ‘civilization of corrupted people’ that seems to fit this world but isn’t really suitable. Not one of the characters who appear in the anime touch on that one question ‘why is there such a thing?’ It’s just there, so it’s used; everyone uses it. What is that?
・Who is the main character? What are the rest of the characters?
One of the main characters, Kaban-chan (because she has forgotten her name, Serval-chan named her after the bag she carries), doesn’t know what kind of Friend (animal) she is. It seems like she has lost her memory. However, there is a certain something she can do that the others can’t and a certain thing she talks to that the others can’t react to, so there is clearly a difference between them. At first, you’ll confidently think ‘She is definitely a human, right?’ but as the episodes go on, you’ll find yourself deeply involved and wonder that you might be wrong. What is Kaban-chan?
・What’s with the pictures accompanying the ending song?
When the ending song starts playing from Episode Two onwards, you might have reactions such as ‘Damn it! There’s nothing but disturbing crap! What is this?!’ At first glance, it’s nothing but a regular ending song, nothing special. However, when you take the above points into consideration, you begin to feel scared thinking, ‘Wait, is this..?’
The cute preview that plays next as if nothing happened makes you feel even more disturbed. I want to hurry up and see what’s coming!
A Precise Setting and a Moderate Margin Captured the Fans’ Hearts
On top of the murky, unclear feeling embedded in me that became a habit and made me want to watch more and more, the margins left behind made the people who watched the series think ‘I wonder if the anime has a meaning behind it.’ Even though, the show never forgets the main theme of ‘feeling happy while watching.’ In a way, the anime managed to retain the one thing it felt was more imporant than the rest: that good and positive feeling.
Also, the attention to detail is surprising. For example, in Episode 3, there is a scene when Serval-chan crashes into a bus; when I learned that it was used because serval cats are often hit by cars, I realized how much enthusiasm the staff had for the anime. I thought, ‘Wow their tenacity is too amazing…’ I went straight past respecting them to actually being a little weirded out (I’m praising them). In addition to Serval-chan, there are so many other tiny details packed into the show that I thought, ‘Did the staff read an animal picture book from cover to cover???’
So everyone, please try to find the trivia hidden in the show! There are all kinds of information, from cute references and stuff that will make you chuckle to dark humor!
It Would be a Waste not to Watch it
In light of all I’ve said above, I hope you now understand that Kemono Friends is not just a low-intelligence anime about cute girls prattling on and doing cute things.
Of course, low-intelligence anime are soothing, and at times necessary, so I am not invalidating their existence. I just think it’s a waste to say ‘It’s just one of those stupid anime’ and not watch it. It might be a little clumsy to express adult themes using computer graphics but in terms of content, I think it’s an anime of high quality. I didn’t see anything wrong with the CG at first, but by Episode 3, it becomes the charm point of the show.
I can proudly recommend Kemono Friends.
Those who read this article and became interested in Kemono Friends, please watch it! The show has so many lines that are easy to use on social media! [laugh] And then let’s all say ‘Amazing!’ (Sugo~i) and ‘So fun!’ (Ta~noshii~!) together!