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I’m not sure if Kemono Friends was such a charming show to watch despite or because of the horrible CGI animation.

The animation in Kemono Friends was truly, deeply, awful and yet also managed to be part of the charm of the show.

A girl with a backpack (Kaban) awakens in Japari Park and is met by the moe anthropomorphised version of a serval cat. Serval-chan promptly dubs her Kaban-chan and they set out to find out what sort of animal she is[1].

Japari Park has been abandoned, and animals are being converted to Friends by contact with the mysterious Sand Star that emerges from a volcano at the centre of the park. Most of the episodes involve Kaban and Serval meeting new Friends, and solving local problems, and these are often pastiches / tributes to other genres. These included mysteries and idols[2], and a slow building story along the way.

Each episode usually includes a recorded interview with a zoo keeper about the habits and natures of the original animals that the Friends for that episode were based on.

Kaban-chan and Serval-chan work really well as the lead characters in this setting, and the supporting cast are usually quite well realised.

There are some monsters called ceruleans running about though that can do nasty things to Friends (like reverting them back to their original forms and wiping their memories).  Despite that Kemono Friends is, for the most part, an example of the very relaxed end of the world. The generally amiable tone reminded me of Yokohama Shopping Trip, and also of the back story to ARIA[3].

For the most part.

Then there’s the end to episode 11 Cerulean which stands a very good chance of winning the best “Well, that escalated quickly” moment award for anime in 2017. Unfortunately episode 12 Amusement Park didn’t quite live up to it, but was amusing enough in its own way[4].

The ending points towards a possible sequel and I’d be happy to spend more time watching Kaban-chan and Serval-chan make their way through more of Japari Park.  Whilst there’s been no announcement yet, Kemono Friends was a surprise hit in Japan, and I think that a sequel is likely to emerge at some point.

In the meantime here’s the OP, and yes Kemono Friends’ character animation really is that bad. It’s still quite a charming show, so give Kemono Friends a try and see if it works for you.

[1] No prizes for guessing.

[2] The penguins are an idol group which is highly amusing when you consider their general popularity in zoos.

[3] ARIA:That cheerful futuristic slice of life show which is set on a terraformed Mars because Manhome (Earth) has become an ecological hellhole. Oh, and Neo-Venezia was built on Aqua (Mars) because the old one sank due to climate change.

[4] Finales that make me go “Meh” seems to be a theme this season. See also: MinaKama and DemiChan.