Kemono Friends is a Japanese media franchise centered on anthropomorphized animals called Friends. Although most people will be most familiar with it because of the anime series, it is interesting to note that it actually started out with a mobile game before going on to become something more. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Kemono Friends:
1. Kemono Means Animal
The title of the series is very simple and straightforward in nature. After all, a literal translation of Kemono would be “animal.” With that said, there is in-setting meaning for the second part of the series name, seeing as how Friend is the term used for its anthropomorphized animals.
2. Set in Japari Park
Kemono Friends is set in a place called Japari Park, which is a zoo that serves as home to a wide range of species. Said zoo is huge, as shown by the fact that it encompasses entire ecosystems.
3. Contains Rare Species
Some of the species in Japari Park are very rare, so much so that they are considered to be on the edge of extinction in the real world. In fact, it is amusing to note that there are literally cryptids in Japari Park, seeing as how one of its residents is a Tsuchinoko, which is a kind of Japanese youkai that resembles nothing so much as a very plump snake.
4. Changes Caused By Sandstar
The animals are anthropomorphized by a mysterious substance called Sandstar. The series doesn’t go into detail about what Sandstar is supposed to be, but to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t need to because that isn’t the point. Regardless, the result of the transformation are essentially what anime fans would call catgirls and other animal-eared girls, though it should be noted that the anthropomorphized animals are not limited to having animal ears as animal features.
5. The Anthropomorphized Animals Are Always Girls
It should be mentioned that the anthropomorphized animals are always girls. This is true even when the animal that was transformed was male rather than female. In fact, some of the Friends seen in the series were once male animals, which is why they retain animal features that are characteristic of male members of their species.
6. Threatened By Monsters Called Ceruleans
The Friends are threatened by monsters called Ceruleans, which feed on Sandstar. This is problematic for the Friends because if the Ceruleans eat the Sandstar contained in them, they will revert to their original selves. They won’t die, but since their previous selves weren’t sapient, this would result in a death of personality that isn’t much better than a death of body.
7. Direct Continuation of the Game
Initially, it was believed that the anime series had little connection with the mobile game, which was set in a much more bustling Japari Park. Eventually, it turned out that the anime was a direct continuation of the mobile game. Something that brought about mixed feelings in the fans of the mobile game because it becomes very, very clear that Japari Park has been abandoned by humans by reasons that remain unknown by the end of the series.
8. The Friends in the Anime Do Not Share the Same VAs As Their Mobile Game Counterparts
As a result, it is no coincidence that the Friends in the anime series are not voiced by the same VAs as the Friends in the mobile game. After all, while the characters look either the same or very similar, they aren’t the same characters. Even Serval doesn’t count because the implication is that she was a serval exposed to Sandstar, drained of Sandstar by a Cerulean, and then exposed to Sandstar a second time, meaning that her current personality isn’t the same as her previous personality.
9. Caused Grape-Kun to Become Notable
The success of Kemono Friends resulted in promotions with a number of Japanese zoos. In one case, a cutout of the Humboldt Penguin character from the series seems to have won the affection of a penguin of said species named Grape-Kun, who would stare at the cutout for hours at a time. Unfortunately, Grape-Kun passed away because of medical complications, which is why the original cutout has been replaced with a new cutout showing the character along with Grape-Kun.
10. Huge Uproar Because of the Replacement of the Director
In September of 2017, it was revealed that the director of the Kemono Friends anime wouldn’t be coming back for the second season, which resulted in an uproar because a lot of fans believed that he played an important role in creating the series’s success. The whole situation became bad enough that the corporation behind the decision saw its stock price fall by 3.3 percent.