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Polar Bear Cafe

Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman

Polar Bear Cafe (which is known as Shirokuma Cafe in Japan) is an anime series based on a manga by Aloha Higa.

While the series is called Polar Bear Cafe, the viewer is given the impression in the first episode that the series is focused on Panda, a lazy but kind-hearted panda bear. His mother is trying to get him to get a part-time job, so he isn't constantly lazing around the house and eating bamboo. During the first story in the first episode, Panda applies to work at Polar Bear's Cafe, but doesn't get the job. The second story shows Panda applying for a part-time job at a petting zoo. However, Polar Bear's Cafe does seem to become the main setting for the series, hence the title of the anime.

Polar Bear is the owner of Polar Bear's Cafe, a dining establishment that is popular with both humans and animals. Unfortunately, Polar Bear has a habit of making bad puns with his customers. Penguin is a frequent customer at Polar Bear's Cafe, and likes to make commentary about the people at the cafe or things going on around him; in a lot of ways, he makes me think of Norm the bar fly from Cheers. Sasako is a human girl who gets the part-time job at the cafe that Panda didn't get.

Polar Bear Cafe is an enjoyable anime, although I found myself wanting to facepalm at how dim-witted Panda can be. I appreciated the animation style being used in the series; while animals are the main characters in Polar Bear Cafe, the animals aren't drawn in an overly-cute way.

Visually, I saw nothing offensive for younger viewers. However, even with animals as the main characters, I don't think younger viewers will appreciate this series as much, due to the slower pacing of the storytelling. Additionally, since there are currently only subtitled Internet streams available for viewing this series in North America, a viewer would have to be able to read and keep up with the subtitles in order to fully appreciate what is going on in the episodes.

With these factors in mind, I would personally recommend Polar Bear Cafe to anime viewers who are nine or 10 years of age and older.


Title
Episodes
Release Year(s)
Director
Studio
N.A. Licensor
Polar Bear Cafe502012-2013Mitsuyuki MasuharaStudio PierrotN/A
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Content copyright © 2014 by Lesley Aeschliman. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lesley Aeschliman. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Brenda Chen for details.

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