This show gets an unfair rep. People feel the need to signpost any positive takes with_ "ironically"_ or "it's so bad, it's good" rhetoric, and that's a sadness. This is one of the most wholesome, and fulfilling shows to air in a long while. And I mean that. There should be no shame in admitting that you like it, admire it, or saying that it reached to you emotionally to any capacity.
There's a lot to unpack in this low-budget show, made lovingly by ten people. Touches upon so many themes that you don't see enough. My absolute favourite of them is that the show is told from the perspective of kind, curious, innocent, and inquisitive creatures only just discovering and understanding what a human is. The show is high-key "humanity, fuck yeah". It's a fresh perspective that really helps you appreciate the gifts we have as people. Smart, calculating, social and constructive creatures. I think this is a concept that is not only touched upon often enough, but is a well needed theme for us to look towards in the dire times we live in. I can only speak for myself but it puts a fire in my belly where there never was one before.
"Wow! So cool! You're good at building!"
You know what? Yeah. Yeah we are.
Kemono Friends is a heartfelt, sweet show. Its Friends go through numerous growths and changes as the story progresses, giving the entire diverse cast a very robust-feeling personality and character arc from end to end. The show also has some of the best unspoken backstory and worldbuilding I've seen for a good while, the world feels fully realised from the get-go and the concurrent mystery thread will keep you hooked. Elements that may seem strange or a mistake often get looped back around at a later point and given a pretty fascinating explanation.
Half the charm definitely comes from low quality visuals. Many scenes are rife with awkward motions that are present in some of the more intricate action choreography, and even simple scenes like characters struggling to walk from one side of the screen to the other. That isn't to say the show is completely without visual value, though. The Friends should be heralded as the pieces of genuinely great character design they are. Taking on a human form while adopting the many visual and personality quirks of the animal they are based on, there are so many genuinely impressive character designs that manage to capture the base animal to a shockingly good extent. Hippo's hair forming the mouth and teeth shape of an actual hippo had me screaming. And we've all seen Shoebill, whom belongs in a church mural on a stain-glass window.
It goes through the run-time with basically zero fanservice or ero content whatsoever. Which I think is a genuine point of cherishment. There's nothing wrong with content of a sexualised nature, but Kemono Friends realies that its addition wouldn't improve the show in any meaningful way whatsoever. (I dunno the target demographic for this show. It broadcasts way into the middle of the night in Japan, so it's hard for me to assume it's FOR kids. Anyway, it's very kid friendly, one of the best shows you can show em, actually.)
Kemono Friends being a surprise hit that is sending oodles of love and support in the way of the creators is also so endearing. It's a success story, 0 to 100, no one expected a struggling little studio to make something great, and it happened. It's so infectious, there isn't a single part of KF's existance that doesn't put a big damn grin on my stupid face.
If you haven't already, I can't stress enough that Kemono Friends should be watched by anyone and everyone. A relatively simple story about discovering your self-worth and finding your place in the world that goes through a myriad of surprise twists and turns, and will leave you with a big smile.
Wow, it looks like you're a Friend who's good at reading reviews!