English: Polar Bear's Café
Synonyms: Polar Bear Cafe
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 5, 2012 to Mar 28, 2013
24 min. per episode
G - All Ages
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.961 (scored by 4938 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisShirokuma Cafe revolves around a Canadian white bear that quits his boring job and starts a cafeteria near a zoo. He loves telling tall tales and always brags about himself. According to him, he was picked up by a human couple who owns a diner while he was drifting around on an iceberg.
Though he has lost all contact with his Canadian family, he has discovered a new home in serving the diners' clientele, thanks to the kind couple. His café is an embodiment of his personality. The place is always packed with many regulars, animals and humans, who are drawn by his charismatic magnetism.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Shirokuma Café
Summary: Shirokuma Cafe: Golden Week Special - Shirokuma Cafe Selection
Characters & Voice Actors
Polar Bear Café (Shirokuma Café): A charming, puntastic show filled with memorable moments – 9/10
PLOT: Polar Bear Café is about the daily lives of a bunch of animals who frequent a café run by the titular Polar Bear, including a panda, a penguin, a llama and a sloth (among many others). There are a few random humans thrown in there too – the perma-smiling Sasako, the bumbling zookeeper Handa and the panda obsessed florist Rin-Rin, but the cast is mainly animals. Animals that no one bats an eye at when when they’re casually wandering about town buying groceries, or working in a bakery or running a bar – they’re fully integrated into society. And yet there is a fully functional zoo where a number of the characters actually work! You kind of take this strange setting for granted after a few episodes – it just works.
Polar Bear Café is a show I couldn’t watch without a smile on my face (trust me I desperately tried when watching the later half of the series on my own in public, being caught grinning and giggling like an idiot when there’s pastel renditions of wild animals emitting showers of sparkles and hearts on my screen is not fun); the show just thrums with feel-good vibes. It’s also consistently hilarious, and displays excellent use of puns, parodies, basic comedic timing and the usual tsukkomi/boke routines. The series uses all the run-of-the-mill s’life situations (festivals, onsen, road-trips, all the holidays you can think of) but simply having the characters be animals puts an interesting spin on things, as they have a unique outlook on things. I don’t usually get on well with s’life shows, but I adored Polar Bear Café – it just balances the mundane with wit so well.
The characters are probably what kept me coming back to the show so much – the central quartet of Polar Bear, Penguin, Panda and Sasako just have superb chemistry and play off each other brilliantly. The side characters are also wonderful and all get their own episodes to shine – my favourites have to be Polar Bear’s long suffering childhood friend and bar owner Grizzly and poor overlooked but utterly charming Llama.Polar Bear Café also has “The Feels” in spades – it just gets under your skin and forces a reaction out of you with alarming frequency. After 50 episodes these characters feel like old friends and I was desperately sad to see the series end, I do hope we get more at some stage.
ANIMATION: The animation is by Studio Pierrot and is very simple but serviceable. The animals are well drawn and surprisingly expressive given many of them lack the usual facial features humans rely on to determine emotion (just where are Penguin & Panda’s eyes anyway??). The over all look of the show is quite soft and pastel, and there is creative use of sparkles, bubbles, hearts, flowers and sweatdrops to punctuate gags or emotion. On the flipside the humans in general are actually terrifying in their inexpressiveness – Sasako in particular has completely dead eyes that are rather unnerving. The show also experiments with unusual visuals in its many EDs – stop-motion, live action, shadow-puppets and paper cut-outs all get a turn, and it is clear that the staff had a lot of fun making this series.
MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: The cast of Polar Bear Café has to be one of the most star-studded I’ve ever encountered. Everyone seems to be a noteworthy name – the central quartet consists of Jun Fukuyama, Takahiro Sakurai, Hiroshi Kamiya and Aya Endo – but the extended cast reads like a who’s who of popular seiyuu! They all seemed to have lots of fun working on this series as well, as the chemistry is brilliant and the acting is really excellent on the whole. A few actors even voice a number of different side characters giving them completely different voices and displaying their range well.
Another thing of note is that there are a lot of different EDs for this series and each of them is an image song, sung in character by the seiyuu – resulting in some truly wonderful songs. I particularly loved Panda’s ‘Bamboo Scramble’ by Jun Fukuyama and Llama’s ‘Llama Mambo’ by Daisuke Ono, but all the song are special in their own way. Even the OPs are pretty damn good, but I’ll always like the first OP best.
Overall I just have to reiterate who utterly charming this show is – it’s a wonderful show to watch if you need cheering up (just avoid watching episode 44 for that purpose – it’s a proper tearjerker). When I first picked up the series last Spring I never would have imagined it turning out to be this good – always a joy when that happens. So yes Polar Bear Café is a show I’d highly recommend picking up – it deserves much more love! read more
I’m still a relative newbie to anime, but so far, slice of life has been pretty good to me. Polar Bear Café manages to continue this trend. It’s a pretty silly and stupid show. It may not be gut bustingly hilarious (I’ll explain why), but it’s still very entertaining. This is my review.
Contains Minor Spoilers
The story of Polar Bear Café is really simple as it just follows the daily escapades of a café run by a Polar Bear’s regulars. There is no overarching plot and the stories are broken up into two 12-minute segments like a lot of western animated shows. This show is clean. No toilet humour, no lowbrow humour, no sexual innuendo. The humour comes from the terrible puns Polar Bear gives in every episode, the goofy situations characters find themselves in, some slapstick and their banter and conversation. Comedy is incredibly subjective so someone might find this hilarious while somebody else might only chuckle in between certain scenes. I found the comedy to be very hit-and-miss. When the humour works, it’s hilarious, but a lot of times the jokes fall flat. It gets repetitive. There are only so many times you can take intentionally bad puns. However the individual episodic stories are varied so if you didn’t like the first half, you’ll probably end up liking the second.
I have to say the art looks fantastic. It’s really bright and fits the silliness of the show, like something out of a children’s book. The majority of the cast consists of animals and they’re drawn perfectly, resembling their real-life counterparts. The humans in the show look pretty plain. It seems more detail was put into the design of the animals than the people. Expect greatly exaggerated actions and facial features that provide for a lot of the slapstick.
The seiyuus of Polar Bear Café do a great job with the characters. I always thought that a Panda would sound like he does in this show if he could actually speak. I love the first OP. It’s catchy and upbeat and I listen to it every time. The ED’s change more times that I can count but there hasn’t been any that I particularly liked and I usually skip them. I watched the second and third OP’s and they’re catchy and fit the show, but it wasn’t up to the standard of the first.
The characters of Polar Bear Café are probably the anime’s standout and saviour. They’re funny, stupid, likeable and all have great chemistry. The way the regulars interact in the café seems like genuine conversation that friends have every day. The three leads are by far the best of the bunch. You have the oblivious Panda, the deadpan Polar Bear and the irritable and love sick Mr. Penguin. They play off each other well and their personality clashes always manage to put a smile on my face.
Like I mentioned, the show is very hit-and-miss. The clean humour can get repetitive and lacks bite, but the individual sitcom-like stories and the three leads always manage to be entertaining. I don’t think I would have enjoyed this show so much if Panda, Mr. Penguin and Polar Bear weren’t in it.
It’s very silly and goofy and not something I would recommend watching as a marathon, but if you give it a chance it might end up as something you’ll love.
Using the restaurant theme but actually can take place in any settings, Shirokuma Cafe and Working are pretty much situation comedy that happen to take place in restaurant and coincidentally share the common activity of arubaito (part-time work.)
Shirokuma cafe take a safe route of all-age and genders appeal. I double dare anyone to come up with demographic group that can't watch this.
Working is a male-oriented show that have lots of girls (as usual) and happen to appeal to female too due to it's neutral standing between male and female emphasis. It is made from female-mangaka manga that serialized in late-teen to adult mangazine, but pretty much anyone can read it with no parental advisory.
Both are peaceful slice of life show with cafe/restaurant as setting. Also have the same trio-seiyuus (Jun Fukuyama, Hiroshi Kamiya and Daisuke Ono).
It's basically the same as Working!!
Jun Fukuyama, Hiroshi Kamiya, Daisuke Ono and Yuuichi Nakamura are in this. However, instead of Inami most of the characters are the types of people that will kill you.
The idea of working part time at a local place for income and fun becomes an element presented in both series.
It makes a good usage of comedy that is entertaining and has a lot of fun dialogues to inspire humor. In fact, it creates entertainment with the interactions between the main characters at their working environments.
Both series also follows a slice of life like format without a direct linear story; some of the VA are also the same for the main characters in both series.
Opening Theme#1: "Boku ni Invitation (ボクにインビテーション)" by JP (eps 1-26)
#2: "Rough & Laugh" by Clammbon (eps 27-38)
#3: "You&Me" by Saki & Rie fu (eps 39-50)
Ending Theme#01: "Bamboo☆Scramble" by Jun Fukuyama (eps 1-5)
#02: "Grizzly-san no G★ROCK (グリズリーさんのG☆ROCK)" by Yuuichi Nakamura (eps 6-9)
#03: "Mizuiro (みずいろ)" by Aya Endo (eps 10-13)
#04: "ZOO tto ne! (ZOOっとねっ！) " by Katsuyuki Konishi (eps 14-17, 44)
#05: "Michinoku Shiiku Blues (みちのく飼育ブルース)" by Wataru Hatano (eps 18-22)
#06: "Zokkon! Penko-san (ぞっこん！ペン子さん)" by Hiroshi Kamiya (eps 23-26)more
#07: "Kimama ni Panda Mama♥ (気ままに パンダママ♥)" by Toshiyuki Morikawa (eps 27-30)
#08: "Llama-san no Llama Mambo (ラマさんのラママンボ)" by Daisuke Ono (eps 31-35)
#09: "Largo (ラルゴ)" by Kishou Taniyama (eps 36-38)
#10: "Bamboo rendezvous ♥ (バンブー・ランデヴー♥)" by Kana Hanazawa (eps 39-42)
#11: "PANDAHOLIC!!" by Tokuyoshi Kawashima (eps 43, 45-46)
#12: "My Dear" by Takahiro Sakurai (eps 47-50)
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OppaiSub [OppaiSub] (Brazilian Portuguese)
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