They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Hentatsu (TV), Minarai Diva, Tesagure! Bukatsumono, and more!
7: Hentatsu (TV)
MAL Score: 5.14
Hentatsu follows two girls exploring a seemingly abandoned version of Nakano Broadway, a Tokyo shopping mall known for Mandarake and other shops catering to fans of anime and other forms of pop culture.
If Kemurikusa was characterized by elaborate a complete senseless display of the most intense boredom, waiting to the last episode to show some kind of plot bait to make you innocently think “oh, shit, maybe this thing is ‘dip’, I’m gonna watch this ‘fun’ show again, I’m sure it’s full of meaning, maybe there’s even some biblical references as in Evangelion!”; Hentatsu is not much far away from this concept.
This is an anime of 1.30 minute long episodes about two anthropomorphic characters discussing, and that’s all. It basically stuns you with the most stupid script, so stupid that you cannot even believe it’s just like that so you pointlessly try to extract some kind of message where there’s not any. That’s in the worst case, in the best you just add it to your list of ‘dropped’.There’s nothing to tell, nothing to show, absolutely no meaning in their words.
Animation vaules? Just Yaoyorozu’s average crap.
In the last episode you discover that this bad joke is just a promotional animation for a future new work, but that doesn’t liberate it of being a total insult to you as an spectator. After watching this bullsh*t I can see Tatsuki’s egotistical soul impregnated into this piece, looking to you over the shoulder and mocking on you because you are not intelectually smart enough to understand the greatness of their works. However, I ironically consider it better than Kemurikusa just because at least it doesn’t martyr you with empty episodes of 20 minutes long. I appreciate it.
All in all, if you are that kind of anime fan that enjoys watching anime with pen and notebook and having a headache at the end of the day (Serial Experiments Lain fan’s prototype), you may extract something from this, as well as from Kemurikusa. If not, just avoid this grotesque and never look back.
There is no story. It’s just completely random conversations between the only 2 characters in this show. If you lose a bet and are forced to watch this, I suggest getting drunk cus then there is a possibility you would at least smirk at some scene. Cus I sure did not.
I dislike cgi animation in general, so it is my opinion, tho if I liked it I guess it would be average at best. Not pretty at all.
The sound was irritating me a lot. I guess it was there to make the scenes funny? To make a better atmosphere? I do not know. The VAs… the VAs… oh man. By episode 3 I already wanted to kill myself cus of that forced laughter that is present EVERY SINGLE EPISODE WHEN LITERALLY NOTHING IS FUNNY.
One would think that if we already have a short animation of 12 eps each 1min, it would not make sense to tell a story, so we would focus the characters, after all they are the only point of this animation, right? Well no. Of course not. All we know about the characters is that one is a cat girl with cat ears and one is a demon girl with horns and even that is not explained.
The last second of the last episode was such an enjoyment, cus I knew I had no more left and I could now forget I ever wasted 12 precious minutes watching this.
I personally watched this for the challenge, but I tell you, spare yourselves and go and waste 12 minutes on anything else.
The title, “Hentatsu”, can be interpreted as a dumb joke about being a strange way to spend your time, which it certainly is. Despite being 12 separate minute-long shorts, it has quite a few gags that land squarely.
6: Minarai Diva
MAL Score: 5.38
The story follows two aspiring divas who hope to become famous through a unique brand of music.
Unfortunately, this idea is as bad as it sounds. You won’t get any pleasure out of this unless you were one of the people who tweeted during the live airing. The voice actors are easily distracted and talk about pointless topics. At times, the 3D CG program crashes and a “technical difficulties” screen is put up. Some 45 minutes later, the finished songs are sung karaoke-style and sound absolutely dreadful even by bubblegum j-pop standards.
Whatever you do, don’t watch this show. This is my pick for the worst anime of the year, even worse than the much-maligned Pupa and Glasslip. At least both of those had some production value. If you want to turn off your brain and enjoy a different ED song every time, watch Super Sonico, which is infinitely better than this.
EDIT (2020 Oct 19) Six years later, the Vtuber industry has exploded with full-scale agencies like Hololive. It’s clear that this show was just far too ahead of its time, and that the technology wasn’t there yet to make Minarai Diva a success. This is still one of the worst shows of all time, but as a predecessor of Vtubing, the historic significance of this show should be remembered.
5: Tesagure! Bukatsumono
MAL Score: 6.74
The CG anime centers around the extracurricular activities of students.
Or does it? If you look past the CG animation and watch through the first episode, you will discover right away that this is a series filled to brim with anime trope parodies. Its OP sequence goes through, with almost methodical precision, every cut you can expect to see in an anime opening, while the lyrics provide instant narration. “And now we’re running! And now we’re reaching out our hands! As long as we keep this up, we’ll have a real anime opening in no time!” Similar parody is seen frequently throughout the series, with topics ranging from anime hair colours, to overly powerful student councils, and even to the way anime schools never seem to have male students. It’s always hilarious to see this show pick out, with such unerring accuracy, the little flaws and irregularities of anime that every other series has come to ignore.
The humour extends beyond parodies of the anime medium. Tesagure! describes the activities of the Tesaguri-bu, a club dedicated to letting its members grope for their respective interests. As such, every episode has them discussing a different club activity they could take part in. This opens up into a systematic break-down of activities as they are portrayed in anime and manga, with the characters very wittily pointing out illogical features of each. But it doesn’t stop there. The characters spend roughly half of each episode brainstorming ways to improve upon the activity under discussion, each coming up with their own ‘New XXX club’. ”新しい”, “new”, is a word you’re going to hearing a lot when you watch this show. The brainstorm segment is generally the highlight of each episode, as the ideas thrown out are deliberately ridiculous and very funny. It’s because of this random humour that even people who don’t watch a lot of anime can appreciate a lot of the comedy in this show.
As a matter of fact, much of what makes this show funny besides the continually inserted jokes is the characters themselves. The main cast (four of them, and of course all girls) each come off as having distinct personalities and play each other off very well in their separate roles, from Koharu the naive kouhai to Hina the mysterious (and floating) senpai. Cliches they may be, but as a unit they work very well, and their energy alone is enough to make even unfunny jokes crack a laugh.
It is a unique feature of this show’s production that allows the characters to interact so realistically and with such energy. While most anime are animated and then dubbed over, Tesagure! has its audio recorded and then the animation made to match. Supposedly, parts of the dialogue are also improvised, resulting in moments when the characters talk over one another or bend double in laughter for seconds on end. These are small details, but they really solidify the character interactions of the show. If you were to watch Tesagure! with your eyes closed, the group of girls joking on your screen might not be just the two dimensional characters seen everywhere else. For once, they could be real people, and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Tesagure! is, as a result, one of the truest and most entertaining pure slice of life series in the anime medium. Juggernauts like K-ON! and YuruYuri feature with a good mix of slice of life and drama, and so become as entertaining as they are. For Tesagure! to reach similar heights of entertainment with its far lower production quality and nothing but slice of life should be a testament to how well this show is executed. If there ever comes a day when an English fansub group picks this up and subs it in full, do yourself a favour and watch it. If nothing else, you will be impressed with a very strong sense of the 新しい.
Tesagure! Bukatsumono is a very meta piece. It shows you the cliches and tropes prevalent in many anime and manga while playing with new(新しい yes, you will hear this a lot) and interesting and lewd and gay and sometimes violent ways things like cute girls falling from the sky, or cute girl running to school bread on mouth, or maybe guys who keep shouting while playing sports, could be different from the norm.
So if you like panic attacks, sliding, bad puns and strange imaginations of Japanese voice actors, give this a go.
And one last bit, this anime is half ad-lib, so that’s fun.
So, what is Tesagure? Like I said: it’s basically a Japanese variety show masquerading as an episodic, slice-of-life anime. The masquerade is paper thin, of course, and the show indulges often in pointing it out. It’s animated entirely in MikuMikuDance, which is this really awful 3D animation program that is the software equivalent of trying to wrestle a coked-up, greased baboon. If you’ve ever watched stuff on Youtube or NicoNico labelled “MMD” that’s the program: models will clip through each other constantly and the hair meshes just go nuts all the time. So, the fact that these guys were able to make relatively professional-looking, fifteen to twenty-minute episodes with minimal clipping and nothing going insane is grounds for, like, the Nobel Peace Prize. Now, don’t get me wrong, Tesagure looks awful. I mean, it’s made in MMD: you get what you pay for. The textures for the models are simple and probably just stock that came with the software. Be that as it may, I think that lends a lot to Tesagure’s charm. See, it’s supposed to look stupid because it’s a Japanese comedy and Japanese comedy is quintessentially incapable of subtlety.
And that’s the most remarkable thing about Tesagure. The writing is actually funny — to me, a Westerner. The reason I find this so remarkable is because Japanese people have a hard time dealing with comedy. Partly this is a consequence of culture: being funny isn’t Japanese. Japanese culture is super-serious even when it’s trying not to be. I’m not trying to be racist or bigoted here: I’m positing this on anthropological fact. Moreover, the Japanese language, though in certain areas quite robust, is highly contextual, owing to its Chinese and Sanskrit roots. Quite often, sentences and even certain words have multiple interpretations and everything coming out of Japanese person’s mouth is highly ambiguous, subject to a high degree of misinterpretation, and predicated on a host of tacit assumptions grounded in the cultural paradigm. So, telling a joke in Japanese is really, really hard. The language simply isn’t built for it. Consequently, Japanese people who want to be funny have had to construct ways around this. Their solution, from what I’ve experienced, has been to simply hammer the joke in as hard as physically possible, subtlety be damned. Crack open any gag manga and you’ll probably see one of the characters do a little aside after the joke where they flat-out explain it as obviously as possible — because they have to, lest the Japanese audience be confused (“I don’t understand. She said ‘I really like you.’ Why did she hit him? Oh, I see, she wasn’t being serious. My language is incapable of denoting sarcasm.”).
Conversely, Tesagure’s jokes somehow come across despite the ponderousness of the language. And I think the main reason why it is so successful is because all of the dialogue is recorded live. That’s why I’ve been calling this a Japanese variety show. The voice actresses are literally in a little sound booth together talking to each other and doing the gags. And it works amazingly well! Moreover, the jokes are ad hoc and done on the spot, just like in Japanese talk shows, so occasionally the girls will break down into giggling fits on the spot or screw up the joke or interrupt with little quips. This gives the dialogue an incredibly life-like quality that really brings the humour to life. They aren’t just reading the gags in typical manga-esque, stone-faced monotone. They are just a bunch of Japanese women goofing around in a sound booth. It makes the comedy more human, more spontaneous and natural. It utterly lacks the artificial quality you’d find in something like an internet 4koma. In the later episodes, the girls will record on location at actual Japanese parks and attractions. The actresses themselves even exclaim how unheard of that is!
One of the seiyuus is a real-life pop idol (I’m not big into J-idols so I don’t know who or care) and all of the other seiyuu have professional vocal careers. Thus, they sing both the opening and ending themes and they are really quite good! The soundtrack to Tesagure is nothing short of godlike and I willingly listen to the OST frequently. In addition to the opening and ending themes, they will occasionally sing other songs which, when translated, are extremely self-deprecating and actually incredibly clever. I would watch this show for the music alone, which puts Tesagure head and shoulders above other comedy anime.
Tesagure is basically the Japanese version of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. They just sit around riffing on anime and manga stereotypes and doing humourous bit gags. And that’s great because it actually works super well. It’s genuinely funny for everyone, not just Japanese people: real John Lennon, hands-joined-across-the-world crap. Man, I hate MikuMikuDance.
4: Tesagure! Bukatsumono Spin-off Purupurun Sharumu to Asobou
Japanese: てさぐれ！部活もの すぴんおふ プルプルんシャルムと遊ぼう
MAL Score: 6.92
A spin-off of the Tesagure! Bukatsumono series.
This is my first time writing a review, and English is my second language, don’t expect much from this.
***For people who have not seen “Tesagure Bukatsumono”
I’m pretty sure more than 80 percent of the people will look at the title, and think “WTF is this?”
This is the spin-off of “Tesagure Bukatsumono” series. Tesagure means “find it by your hands”, and bukatsu is extracurricular activities. The word mono after that is just to make the word bukatsu look cooler, so forget about that. It’s not the disease. This Anime just talks about “What ifs” for extracurricular activities every episode.
Before you guys watch this, there are couple things you should know. First off, this is an anime where the voice actresses fool around, and make you laugh. And was all put into an anime afterwards. Half of what they’re talking about are nonsense girl’s talk, which are adlibs.
Since the girls are talking one after another, sometimes they overlap and conflict with other people. Due to that reason, the subtitles doesn’t tell you everything. So if you want to really enjoy this, I would study Japanese and their culture. And what I mean by their culture, the jokes they make sometimes will be things that are popular in Japan right now, and they try to make a parody out of it.
The animation style has horrible computer graphics, since the animation is not important.
Oh, you should watch Tesagure Bukatsumono first season, since it’s shorter in length with 11 miutes, when this spin-off is 24 minutes long. (Wow I can’t believe the spin-off is longer than the original.) And then, think over if this anime is good enough to take your time.
***For people who have seen “Tesagure Bukatsumono”
They added 5 more characters of adaption from a nonpopular manga series.
And this time, they don’t talk about extracurricular activities, but tries new things. Some are really hilarious like when they play the werewolf game, which is popular in Japan.
Mikami, Shiori (Yuruyuri: Akari, Attack on Titan: Krista Lenz)
Takamori, Natsumi (Sakurasou:Kamiigusa Misaki, Another:Misaki Mei) wow misakis
Ookubo, Rumi (Acchi Kocchi:Tsumiki, Yuruyuri:Chinatsu)
Uesaka, Sumire (Chuunibyou:Dekomori, The idolmaster Cinderella girls:Anastasia)
Komatsu, Mikako (Teenage romance comedy SNAFU: Totsuka, Nisekoi:Tsugumi Seishirou).
Its not the same as the series before, but it is still good, that I looked forward to it every week.
But just telling you guys, the story in the end of each episode is not good, so you can skip those.
3: Kemurikusa (TV)
MAL Score: 7.07
A few young girls with strange powers and a tree that has grown through a railcar cling onto life in a desolate land, searching for its last reservoirs of water. Their routine struggle to survive is interrupted by the arrival of Wakaba, a boy with no memory beyond his own name.
The girls and their new companion commit to a perilous journey across seas of burning red fog—all in order to find what they need to sustain themselves on the more distant, dangerous islands swarming with robotic bugs. Their ultimate fate will be decided by their own strength, along with Wakaba’s curious ability to understand the Kemurikusa: mysterious glowing leaves with wondrous powers. Besides the girls, Wakaba, and the hordes of ravenous bugs, the Kemurikusa are the last sparks of life surviving in this land. How did things end up this way? Why are there so many empty buildings with no one to live in them? Wakaba and the girls lack the answers to these questions, which means the truth can only be found within the Kemurikusa.
[A Seriously Underrated Show]
From the studio and creator that brought us Kemono Friends comes their latest show: Kemurikusa. This original show is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi that hooks the viewers with its slow revealing mysteries and excellent world-building, dynamic character interactions, wide set pieces, and great soundtracks. The 3DCG may take some adjustment and getting used to, but it’s not necessarily awful. In short, anybody that’s familiar with Tatsuki’s work should watch this anime.
And also, did you know that Kemurikusa translates to “smoke grass”, “smoke plant”, or “smoke weed”. Yep, this is literally Winter 2019’s dankest anime. Thank you, Tatsuki.
Synopsis: A trio of red-haired sisters, living in a post-apocalyptic world overwhelmed by a red fog, must fight against red robotic ‘bugs’, while searching for water and other resources. One day, the sisters find a large source of water and encountered a “human” named Wakaba; an encounter that would forever change their lives.
For a show that has a short and simple synopsis, the story is more complex than that. There are many unanswered questions regarding our main characters and the world they live in. Some questions include: where do all the red bugs come from, what is a “Kemurikusa” leaf and what does it do, who is Wakaba, what happened to the world and how did the destruction occur, who is the first human, where did the blue walls come from, what are blacked out words in the memory leaf, etc. These question will not be answered in the first episode nor the second, but rather over many episodes. And the show does an amazing job at revealing these answers and truths.
Each episode reveals a tiny bit about the world and its characters through dialogue, visual, and audio context. Some examples include: robotic ‘bugs’ come in various shapes and sizes and can be good or bad, Kemurikusa have many powers with multiple usage, the world is divided into several large islands, etc. There are also many different locations, such as abandoned office buildings, amusement parks, the “Sky Bridge”, villages, railway tracks and stations, etc, and they are stunning to look at; the world-building is well done and throughly explored. With the help of Wakaba’s curious nature, these areas, the nature of the Kemurikusa leaves, and several main characters are also explored. All of this combined makes Kemurikusa a very intriguing and engaging anime.
Upon viewing the first episode it should be no surprise that this show uses 3D character models, which I believe is good, with CGI animations. Now, usage of 3DCG in anime has mostly gotten a bad reputation, mainly the art style could appear strange or the animations could be stiff and janky.
This show, in my opinion, doesn’t have a bad or strange art style, in fact, its usage of lighting and color are amazing, for example, 1) a stale gray and black world is lightened up with bright colors of red and green with the occasional blue and yellow, and 2) when a character or bug ‘dies’ their body deteriorates into glowing leaves and drifts away. Both examples highlight how beautiful colors and lighting effects can have on a show. Now, the composition is fantastic; the use of abandoned villages and tall office buildings, ruin houses, decaying trees and vegetation, etc, are all framed and shot to provide a sense of desolation and passing of time. It’s haunting and intriguing.
The show’s animations are sometimes smooth and fluid, and other times they are stiff and janky. The fight animations and choreography are okay and not very exciting, thankfully, they are brief and few in numbers. Also, there is the occasional still images that provide context for what is happening on screen. Overall, the animations and art are good.
The voice acting is hit-and-miss with Rin’s and Ritsu’s voices being the most standout and noteworthy, while Wakaba’s and Rina’s voices are too high pitched and somewhat annoying. Wakaba’s voice is most annoying when he’s saying his favorite catchphrases, such as “So Interesting!”, “Wow!”, or “I see!”, and when he’s being ‘too curious’ about everything that surrounds him. Rina’s voice, on the other hand, is just too high pitched and tries too hard to be the typical loli character. However these complaints are very minor and negligible after a few episodes.
The sound design is pretty good. Its opening song titled “KEMURIKUSA” by nano features heavy drums, multiple guitars, a piano, and the singer rocking it out to our characters walking in various settings and fighting the red bugs. The ending song titled “INDETERMINATE UNIVERSE” by Yuuyu is your standard J-Pop that features background images showing our characters connected to a red-string and when some characters die, they deteriorate into glowing leaves and drift away. The endings’ background images heavily implies whether our main characters are die or alive, this is a disturbing and interesting way to reveal answers. Both songs are great and well worth listening too. The background music is also pretty good as it sets the perfect mood and tension.
The show heavily revolves around its central characters, i.e., Rin (tsundere), Rina (Loli), Ritsu (cat girl), and Wakaba (“human”), to drive the narrative and progress the story. Moreover, there are many moments of character interactions, which enhances the development of our characters. Along with our central characters, we have some secondary “characters”: Midori-chan (Kemurikusa tree), Ai-chan (Kemurikusa fish), Shiro (beeping Roomba bots), and the mysterious “dead” sisters (Ryo, Ryoku, and Riku). These secondary characters play a vital role in progressing the story and strengthening the development of our main characters.
Our main male character, Wakaba, is unique in that he can sense and detect “warm spots” through the thick red fog. These warm spots can be anything related to the red bugs, or red trunk and tree branches. He talks a lot in a high pitched voice and is very curious about everything that surrounds him. This is both good and bad. It’s good because we, the viewers, learn more about the world, the Kemurikusa powers, the red bugs, and who the characters are. In general just about everything. On other hand, it gets annoying and somewhat tiresome after awhile. Still, he’s nice, kind and willing to help the sisters whenever they need it.
Our trio of red-haired heroines, namely Rin, Rina, and Ritsu, are sisters who are not normal humans, i.e., they drink copious amounts of water, they use Kemurikusa leaves for numerous activities throughout their lives, they jump and leap further than normal humans, and they emit a bright glow when fighting the red bugs. Rin is a self-determined, serious, and tough girl, who has a reverse ponytail and white scarf. Rina is a short, energetic, and exuberant girl, who has the ability to make multiple clones of herself, eats many types of metal, and wears maid clothing. Ritsu is a soft-spoken and caring girl, who always appears tired and has cat ears; she also controls a Kemurikusa tree named Midori-chan, and uses it to scout for enemies or for transportation.
From its simplistic and short synopsis to its robotic and apocalyptic setting to its trio of red-haired heroines with masked background details. Everything seems to be shrouded in obscurity. But, like most series, not everything will be explained in the first or even second episode. It takes time. And this series is no different, it slowly and methodically reveal answers and truths over the course of the series. This coupled with its excellent world building hooks the viewers in wanting to learn more about the story and setting. Accompanying the setting and story is the good sound design, mainly its rocking opening and ending song. Additionally, while its art and animations, at times, appear janky, its composition and lighting are outstanding. The character interactions are frequent and provide many moments of character development, still some characters like Wakaba can be somewhat annoying. Overall, though, this series provides entertainment in the form of a slow-revealing mystery, great soundtracks, stunning compositions and lighting, and proper character development. A good series in my opinion.
There’s a TLDR at the end, dw.
Art: Let’s get this straight immediately: this is by far (I mean it) the worst looking anime I’ve ever had the displeasure to watch. It looks more like Foodfight than an actual anime, the characters look awful, the animation is frankly appalling, to put it mildly. It looks like a high school student project more so than anything else, I cannot find a single redeeming factor artistically, other than a random “oh that looks cute” which isn’t exactly a high wall to climb.
It is at its best when everyone is still and talking as little as possible, while the action scenes are pure unadultered junk, they’re so bad you’ll start to wonder if you’re watching a parody rather than a show taking itself seriously.
Sound: It doesn’t help that the voice acting direction is dreadful, too, and that almost all voice actors range from ear-bleeding bad to just mediocre. I’m extremely thankful that Mikako Komatsu is Rin’s voice as she’s the only one that didn’t immediately annoy me while talking. In fact, I don’t know how her agent blackmailed her into voice acting for this series but I’m glad he did. She’s by far the only one that can bring her wax-looking character to life and the only one that is actually able to convey different emotions (imagine that) rather than droning on in the same tone, whatever happens.
I found Wakaba’s (the guy) seiyuu to be particularly irritating, the only emotion that you’ll get out of him is mild surprise or childish interest for something. Whether he’s eating, walking or someone’s dying, the tone of his voice is always the bloody same.
Sound design and mixing is frankly poor too, things you’d expect to make LOUD sounds don’t have any at all, you’d think it was a glitch of some sort. Rin in the last episode gets an arm and a leg cut off (don’t worry, they’ll grow back 20 seconds later) and you’ll be wondering how did that happen since there was NO sound at all that even remotely suggested it.
Music is ok but nothing exciting at all.
Characters: oh boy. If you want an assortment of archetypes you’ll get them here.
Lolis with blackboard-scratching high pitched voices? Check.
Cute robot sidekick? Check.
Stupid boy with a heart of gold? Check.
It’s uncanny. If I’m honest though, I didn’t find the characters all that offensive. There’s nothing new or surprising about them at all but they don’t milk their archetype to death like you’d expect from an anime of this kind.
You’d expect me to write more about them but there really isn’t more to it than that. They’re not developed much if at all and even when they are, there isn’t anything eye-opening, rather just confirmations of behaviours that were already apparent.
Story: This is the only part of the anime that I’d give a pass to. We’re in this world where there is basically one enemy, a red fog that takes control of robots (called mushi, although I preferred the ones from mushishi) which then proceed to kill any living thing. Kemurikusa, these different-looking (and different-acting) leaves, are pretty much the hearts of almost all characters, who are obviously trying to survive and then, logically, destroy whatever is causing this red fog to occur. In this journey (well, right at the end of it) there’ll be also a clear explanation for pretty much everything that lead to this situation (granted, there’s a lot of painstaking stupidity in those explanations but whatever). The concept of kemurikusa is not one that I’d heard of or read about before watching this show so it was nice and interesting. It would have been far more interesting if it had been explored more but that would have meant more episodes and my eyes and ears can only take so much. The very end is extremely convenient, blandly clichée-d and phoned in but again, for this kind of anime I wasn’t expecting anything more so I’m fairly happy with it. Be aware that there are A TON of huge plotholes in it so don’t stop asking “wait what” or “wait why”, just take it in stride and move on.
Enjoyment: I know I pretty much panned this show to hell and back and I do stand behind everything I said. Still, I found myself enjoying it quite a bit, although I can’t really point at a single reason why. Kemurikusa won’t waste your time, won’t drag its feet and it doesn’t try to do things that it knows it won’t be able to pull off (well, most of the time anyway). It’s a nice journey and one that has a very obvious ending but thanks to its relative brevity, it’s a journey that can be worth undertaking, if this anime resonates with you.
TLDR: watch the first 2 episodes, if you can stand the art and the characters, it’s all uphill from there. If you can’t, you’re not losing out on anything special at all.
After the success of Kemono Friends, we all thought the sky was the limit. But thanks to corporate greed, Tatsuki was kicked to the curb when they thought his usefulness had ended. Following this incident was a massive social media outcry from not only Japan, but around the world. Despite the hardship,Tatsuki and Studio Yaoyorozu picked themselves back up and went to work to tell another compelling story. This time, with an entire fandom in tow.
Kemurikusa is a brand new series by Tatsuki and animated by Studio Yaoyorozu. It’s set in a dystopian world following the sisters Rin, Ritsu, and Rina. I have to preemptively say, there are a large amount of similarities to the first season of Kemono Friends. Obviously because they both share the same director, but it’s something worth pointing out. This time around the story is much darker and bleaker than Kemono Friends. The characters are constantly trying to survive as they attempt to find water and fight off Red Bugs. They come upon a mysterious person named Wakaba, who may very well help them find the paradise they’ve longed for.
The characters are the first thing I want to touch on. I found this cast of characters delightful and a joy to see them interact with one another. Tatsuki is incredibly good at making adorable, likable characters. They contrast very well with the dark, mysterious, and dystopian backdrop. And again, like Kemono Friends, the characters have a synergistic relationship with one another. The sisters have special powers and are able to fight the Red Bugs, while Wakaba is both intelligent and is able to think outside the box thanks in part to his insatiable curiosity. This relationship works so well because it allows everyone to be useful, and no one is left to irrelevancy. Rin is serious is always on the lookout for the enemy, Ristu is motherly and kind, Rina is goofy, innocent, and childlike, and finally Wakaba is easy going, sometimes air-headed, and easily frightened. It’s a nice mix of personalities that you are quickly charmed by. Seeing these cute, endearing characters struggle in this twisted world only made you cheer for them more.
Continuing on the story itself, it’s a story of survival and trying to find a better life with the ones you love. The plot strings you along the entire time as there are numerous mysterious elements that keep you hooked. This is another aspect Tatsuki is very good at; his stories never lack mystique. How did the world get this way? Where did everyone go? What’s the story behind the mysterious, yet powerful Kemurikusa leaves? Because of the survival element, tension was consistently present. The characters’ lives were constantly in danger as they walked into the unknown; be it from fighting off Red Bugs or running out of water.
I did however, find myself bored a handful of times. At least one or two times an episode it’s nothing but showing the characters walking and getting around difficult terrain. While it is interesting to see the world unfold in front of us, I just couldn’t shake my feeling of boredom at times.
There are a number of things that I don’t feel as though they were explained well enough, which left me feeling a little disappointed. However, the entire story is contained in the 12 episodes. Which to me, is a breath of fresh air. There always seems to be room for a sequel nowadays, but this resolves the entire story from beginning to end which gives you a feeling of fulfillment and completeness.
Visually, this was a big step up from Kemono Friends. Studio Yaoyorozu now has more experience, and it shows, but this may have also got more funding behind it as well. While it still retains the simple looking animation, the character designs are attractive and the animation is much smoother and more intricate. However, the animation still looks rough at times and at best it’s only middle of the road, at least for industry standards. I think what helps set it apart is the art style, which is cute and round. It’s basically becoming iconic at this point.
As for backgrounds, it was filled with crumbling buildings and structures, empty cars filling some streets while others are completely barren. You’ll see a variety of structures like an amusement park, a residential district, an industrial district and more. What happened to what appears to be this once great society? Tatsuki uses this to his advantage as a “show, don’t tell” technique that he did so well in Kemono Friends.
The music wasn’t anything to write home about. It served it’s purpose as I don’t have anything particularly positive or negative to say about it. And from what I can tell of the voice acting, it was great. Everyone had a distinct and innocent sound to them that I just loved.
It’s been a long road for Tatsuki since the end of Kemono Friends. But I can happily say he has another winner on his hands. At the time of this review, volume 1 of Kemurikusa has sold 15,000 units. Kemurikusa is an interesting world with a great cast of characters. The story leaves you with a sense of satisfaction and is an overall enjoyable experience. While it does lag behind in couple of key aspects, Kemurikusa is still a memorable show that I found myself loving by the time episode 12 rolled around.
After the way he was treated, it’s terrific to see a director like Tatsuki land back on his feet with Kemurikusa. His blending of cute and dark along with a twist of mystery, Tatsuki has found a successful formula that works, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the future.
2: Tesagure! Bukatsumono Encore
Japanese: てさぐれ！部活もの あんこーる
MAL Score: 7.09
Second season of Tesagure! Bukatsumono.
1: Kemono Friends
MAL Score: 7.55
Japari Park is an untamed paradise where many humanoid animals, known as “Friends,” live their everyday lives in all corners of the natural environmental park.
One lazy afternoon in the savannah area, the energetic Serval encounters a peculiar new Friend. Curious, she swiftly takes down the Friend, named Kaban, to try and discover what species she is. To Serval’s disappointment, not even Kaban herself knows the answer.
The two become friends and set out on a grand adventure through the many habitats, landmarks, and attractions of Japari Park. Their destination is the park library, where they hope to shed some light on Kaban’s identity. Along the way, they meet many other Friends, looking into their lives and helping them out. However, they soon begin to uncover the sinister reality behind the park and their own existence.
First, I’ll get a few things out of the way. The animation and art style are lacking in massive ways. I don’t think anyone will try to argue with that. The voice acting is also pretty shoddy in a few places. However, there is so much more to Kemono Friends than just that.
The biggest draw of the show is that it has some of the best world-building I have ever seen in anime. Kemono Friends truly understands “show, don’t tell.” As the series goes on, viewers start to learn more and more about the weird and mysterious world this seemingly simple story takes place in. If you’re reading this review, it’s probably too late for you now, but the theory-crafting and discussions had around Kemono Friends in Japan and the western world were so much fun. By drip-feeding us information about the world, fans were able to come together week to week to discuss their new ideas and knowledge. The mystery of the park might make this one of the best mystery anime too!
The story seems simple at first; a lost girl and an animal girl wander around a park filled with animal girls trying to find out what the lost girl is. Every week, they meet other animal friends and help them with their problems as they progress towards their own goals. But the aforementioned world-building is what draws this all together. In the background of each episode, new things are added to the viewer’s knowledge-bank about this unique and interesting world. As your interest in the world grows, so does your love for these relatively simplistic, but fun characters. You grow to love watching them simply have fun, as the dark past of the world unfolds.
It may sound pretentious, but Kemono Friends is not a show that you’ll get the full enjoyment of just by watching and forgetting it. Kemono Friends was a show that I spent HOURS thinking about and talking about, because it was simply so amazing that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I watch a lot of anime, so usually I’ll watch an episode and immediately forget about it, even if it’s something I love. I simply couldn’t do that with Kemono Friends. It’s one of the first shows of the over 300 that I watched that I wanted to discuss in-depth and engage with on all levels. And I know for a fact that it wasn’t just me that felt this way, because it has truly become one of the most popular anime in Japan.
I honestly cannot predict how enjoyable this show will be outside of the special environment that existed while it was airing. Thousands of fans, albeit mostly Japanese (luckily, I understand Japanese!), came together week after week to theorize and enjoy the wonderful world of Japari Park. You might not be able to get over the art or voice acting and that’s fair. But watching Kemono Friends is the most special experiences I have ever had in my life-long anime career. I don’t know if anything will ever be able to replicate this feeling, but I hope that future creators take notes from Kemono Friends.
Give this show a shot, at least until episode 4. If you watch to that point and still can’t get into it, it might not be for you. I 110% advise you to make your own theories about the show and THINK about it as you watch, taking breaks when possible. Go back and read the episode discussion threads on Reddit to get a sense of what people thought at different points in the show. Enjoy the wonderful fanart and other creative pieces that the huge, dedicated fanbase of Kemono Friends have made. I hope that this show gains more traction in the west, because it is so disappointing that so many western fans missed out on the magic. If anything, push through it to get ready for the inevitable (considering those sales) season 2 and prepare for a new round of magic!
Welcome to Japari Park!
Kemono doesn’t really start until you sit through the credits of the second episode, until which the true nature of the show finally starts revealing itself to you. It’s slow it’s subtle, but it doesn’t bog you down with exposition dumps every five minutes (*cough*LittleWitchAcademia*cough*). Which is even moreso impressive considering this was meant to be a low budget collab for a failed mobage that’s so bad it makes Kancolle look competent. However, unlike Kancolle, which seems like soulless corporate drivel designed to pander to as many people as possible, there’s a real heart to Kemono Friends and a real passion behind its team.
So yes, the animation is pretty crap and the anime gets pretty cringy at times, but keep in mind the target audience for this is for really young kids and the fact that adults can get a kick from the surprisingly deep lore hidden in the subtext or enjoy the show for what it is proves the strengths of this anime. And all in all, the charm of Kemono Friends is simply impeccable.
It ain’t perfect, but watching this genuinely made me happy, it reminded me of simpler times and simpler shows for babies. Perhaps that’s the secret after all. An enjoyable piece that relaxes the mind and puts it to ease without being condescending as most media aimed at a younger audience do.
For what it’s worth, it’s worth checking out.
Mind you this was back at a different time. Before anyone knew that Kemono Friends was going to be good, or be as popular as it was. Actually, it was on the day it came out. Me and my PV and studio ignoring self looked at the summary and I liked it. Kemono Friends was actually one of the shows I looked forward to this season. Before we started my friend said he had a bad feeling about it. I told him not to jinx it, but he did. So I thought…
Kemono Friends is the perfect example of why you shouldn’t drop shows. Or at least you should give shows more of a chance. I was close to dropping it myself but I didn’t, and I think it was all the better for that. For each week that I watched the show, the more attached to it that I got, and the more it became to grow on me. The animation was bad but the rest was so great and so enjoyable to watch. The first episode may have been terrible but each one after that only got better and better.
Under the crappy animation and lackluster art there is a really good show here. What the show is able to do is build up this impressive lore and backstory while also exposing the viewer to the comfy times of the friends that live on the island. This gives it the feel of a children’s show but it has much more to it. The comfiness on its own is nice but it’s the mixture of both the darker undertones and that comfiness that really allows this show to shine. Because the two are pitting against each other in a way it creates a unique atmosphere that the show surrounds itself.
Even more impressive the show was able to foreshadow the events that would happen later as well as slowly leak out information relating to it. They are experts at doing this I would say and many things that you may pick up on early may be important later down the line. In Kemono Friends things aren’t throw in haphazardly, they are there for a reason. Their ability to do this hints towards Kemono Friend’s wonderful storytelling and narrative abilities.
All of the characters on Kemono Friends are likeable. They aren’t the deepest but they do develop and grow over time (or for most characters over their episode). While I’d love for more depth what Kemono Friends has worked well for itself and what it’s going for.
As bad as the art is it’d be expected the sound would be too. However, I really like not just the OP and the ED but also the OST. It may not be much but they do a geat job of picking the right songs to fit the right moods. Their chilling music is quite chilling and I like the use of dubstep for the cerulean moments. The playful sounds that they have during the happier moment all match the mood as well. The OST works so well together I even really like Serval’s voice as well.
It may look like a bad show but Kemono Friends is anything but. It’s able to provide both high moments of hype and soft moments of comfy. The balance between the lore and the comfy is just stunning. Kemono Friends took some of the best aspects of children’s shows and worldbuilding lore shows and shoved them together. And the result was something well worth watching.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Kemono Friends
2. Tesagure! Bukatsumono Encore
3. Kemurikusa (TV)
4. Tesagure! Bukatsumono Spin-off Purupurun Sharumu to Asobou
5. Tesagure! Bukatsumono
6. Minarai Diva
7. Hentatsu (TV)