Kemono Friends – Preview
Original Air Dates: January 10th, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: Japari Park is an enormous integrated zoo built somewhere in the world. A mysterious substance found there, ‘Sand Star’ causes the animals to turn into anthropomorphic versions of themselves, “Animal Girls!” When a child gets lost within the park, she must attempt to find her way home and in turn meets many different animal girls!
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Kemono Friends gives Hand Shakers a run for its money in terms of most disappointing show visually, this season. Zero work has gone into blending the 2D backgrounds and CGI characters. It’s painfully obvious how low effort this entire affair is as our characters run through fields of grass and not a single blade reacts to their movements. It doesn’t help that the character models are extremely basic, and their movements often feel stilted. It gives the entire thing a visual look that’s wholly unengaging.
Linny: The CGI is plain, basic and not at all impressive. In some shots, their movements look very awkward such as how one of the characters literally breathes with her entire upper body moving up and down. It was probably done to simulate how cat like wild creatures breathe deep and hard to cool down after an exhausting activity but because of the low budget animation, it just looks unnatural and concerning.
Tom: Looking past the visuals Kemono still struggles to offer much in the way of characters or story. We don’t get a lot of interesting characterization. Instead the show is more concerned with dropping a fact or two here for each anthropomorphized animal or harping on a few too many unfunny jokes. If it wasn’t obvious already, it’s looking like Kemono Friends was missing a label on many of the anime tracker sites, as Kemono Friends seems most likely aimed at a much, much younger audience.
Linny: The show is very ‘creative’ with its anthropomorphic creatures in that it makes it clear cuteness takes precedence over accuracy. So far, we have only seen less than a handful of ‘animals’ and while some of them could ‘pass’ for cute girl versions of their origin animals, our young miss hippo will have you scratching your head about what exactly makes her hippo-like.
Tom: Compounding issues is Kemono’s absurdly simplistic story about a little girl that has stumbled into a park with anthropomorphized animals by some kind of weird fantastical star magic. This has apparently also led to some weird alien like creatures that are so inept that they don’t feel frightening or threatening at all, but rather outright moronic.
Linny: Despite the missing tag, this HAS to be a kid’s show. The story and characters are too mind numbingly simplistic for anyone older than 10 to enjoy it. I might have praised this show as being educational for kids as they do have real life audio inserts of zookeepers explaining the animal featured in the episode. However, the show is so lax with everything else, as in it contradicts itself in the very first episode… Our Serval character lets us know she is nocturnal as night time approaches but the show has her sprinting and zipping around with no issues all day before she reveals this. This is me being nitpicky and all in all, this show could be a fun and somewhat educational show for young kids save for some inconsistencies. Everyone else should best stay away unless you enjoy everyone happy and cheerful ALL THE TIME, really low budget CGI, and huge life threatening problems solved with something as simple as a paper airplane.
Tom: Kemono Friends is supposedly based off a gaming property? Either way it feels like low effort children’s entertainment, as that’s about the only demographic I can imagine being able to generally look past its basic writing and poor animation. But even children have better offerings than this.
Linny: If you can’t afford to take your kids to a fancy zoo, or your local zoo only has like 5 animals, maybe Kemono Friends can be a fun way for them to learn about more exotic animals at home. However, low animation quality, and the whole importance of moe over facts makes this show a hard sell even then.
Kemono Friends is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com