Kemono Friends was a series that should've been dead on arrival. The game that it was based off of was cancelled before the original anime aired, it was being handled by an inexperienced studio, and had incredibly poor animation. However, it turned out to be anime's biggest underdog instead. Kemono Friends was so popular that it sold over 120,000 copies of its first two volumes. A number almost unheard of in the anime community, save for industry giants like Madoka, Monogatari, and Love Live. Live concerts, collaborations with Zoos, special events, and of course an ocean of fan projects flooded the nation of Japan.
how did something so minuscule make such a historic splash? The original Kemono Friends was extraordinarily well written, had phenomenal atmosphere, was a master of mystery, eye-catching and charming character designs to spare, and oozed creativity and fun. This was thanks to a dedicated, hard-working team and a director with a vision. The director Tatsuki was a visionary who took what most would've laughed off as a dead brand into a wonderful story with so many important lessons to be learned. The impact of his work is amplified when you watch the uninspired empty shell that is Kemono Friends 2.
Kemono Friends 2 tried to be everything its predecessor was, and failed at every single aspect. Nearly every single facet of this almost "soft-reboot" was copy and pasted from the original season. When season 2 was announced, the community was thrilled. However, there was a misstep on the stairway to glory. Kadokawa decided to part ways with Director Tatsuki, wanting to go into a new direction. In short, they wanted to maximize as much money as possible from their new cash cow. Obviously this didn't sit well with the community, but the new season was being produced anyway with a new team and director.
As I said, this failed on nearly every aspect, except for the animation. Now that Kadokawa is putting money behind it, Kemono Friends has never looked better. The charatcer models are more detailed and are even more appealing to look at. It's animation actually looks good and the visuals are just head and shoulders above the first seasons. This is one of the few positive aspects of the show.
The story itself, almost beat for beat, copies the original season. We meet a human with a hat who appears seemingly out of nowhere who's trying to find their way home. Kyururu is basically a Kaban clone, but without the charm or development. Of course they meet new Friends on the way, but the meetings aren't meaningful or impactful. I won't reveal any more for the sake of spoilers, but if you've seen the first season you'll know what I'm talking about. It happens so often it becomes off-putting.
The characters of course have always been a strong aspect of the franchise. The Friends are cute, charming, and so much fun to watch. This season added a number of charming characters like Giant Panda, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Seal, Saltwater Crocodile, Bat-Eared Fox, Gorilla, Domestic Dog, and more. However, their character arcs are incredibly weak compared to the previous season's. Usually when a Friend had a problem, Kaban would utilize what makes the Friend unique to help solve their issue. This would leave them with a sense of self-worth and in a much better place. That was not the case here. They tried to emulate that, but it wasn't impactful.
Now, we have to talk about the elephant in the room when it comes to characters. Kyururu, Serval, and Caracal. This is possibly Kemono Friend's biggest flaw. The relationship between Kaban and Serval was phenomenal. They both played off of each other's weaknesses and it created this wonderfully charming synergistic relationship. And by the end of the season, it was clear that they had both influenced each other in positive ways. This was a highlight of the original season. This time around is just a disappointment. While Kyururu is nothing but a simpler, less developed Kaban, Caracal also joins the fray for some reason. She takes on a lot of Kaban's role as someone who is level-headed and thinks before they act, which counters Serval's often instinctively silly, spontaneous, and impulsive nature. But that inclusion really makes Kyururu a bland character with no real stand out traits.The biggest crime of all was splitting up Kaban and Serval. The writers tried to bridge the obvious gap between the two series, but the writing came off as shoddy and disappointing.
The music carries right over from the first season. Can't say I can't blame them for reusing it, it was a great soundtrack with numerous memorable tracks ranging from whimsical to mysterious. Not much else to say about that.
Another big let down was the refocus the show had. The new director claimed he wanted this to appeal more to young children, and decided to tone down much of the mysterious and often ominous hints the previous season was so well known for. This stuck out like a sore thumb, and took away what made Kemono Friends such a unique property. A marriage of both child-like whimsical fun with an ominous and brooding backdrop that kept the viewer hooked.
Kemono Friends is a franchise that no one expected anything out of. It overcame everything in its path and has become an icon in its own right. Season 2, attempted to ride the coattails of its predecessors success but unsurprisingly fell short. The ending left us with more questions than answers, and just ended up leaving us with an empty feeling of "What could have been?". The lessons we learned and the relationships built are but distant memories in this show that feels somewhat familiar, but just isn't the one we knew and loved. Ultimately, it feels like a cheap imitation.
The world and its characters are charming, cute, whimsical, fun, and incredibly memorable. As a fan who loves the series to death, I can't bring myself to give this a negative score. There were upsides to the sequel with improved visuals and great additions to the cast. But in the end the fans deserved better, Tatsuki and Studio Yaoyorozu deserved better, and God knows Kemono Friends deserved better.
Stoicism tells us that everything in life is cyclical, and by God if Kemono Friends 2 isn't the greatest example of history repeating itself, then I don't know what is.
You see, if you've made it this far into the series, then I'm sure you know of its underdog story. Kemono Friends started out as a smartphone game that had its services discontinued before the premiere of the anime, the anime premiered to harsh backlash, and over time it gradually won over its audience. Now we know it as the series director Tatsuki defined it as - nothing else seems to fit the series better than
Tatsuki's wholesome down-to-earth charm. This is made apparent in any spin-off media to come out of Kemono Friends, where as good as they are, if Tatsuki didn't have a hand in it then it surely wouldn't feel like Kemono Friends.
Fast forward a bit, we have the whole fiasco where Kadokawa unreasonably fires Tatsuki, a great injustice has been made to the Kemono Friends fandom, and now here we are. Kemono Friends 2, sans its series-defining staff member (or its original animation studio, for that matter).
Now, it's important to remember Kadokawa has no part in the actual PRODUCTION of this anime - that's entirely the job of the new studio, Tomason. Likewise, Tomason had no part in the firing of Tatsuki - to take the reigns on this series must have been a huge undertaking to them knowing they had to follow in the steps of Tatsuki, and in fact they drew a lot of inspiration from the work he did on the original Kemono Friends.
Knowing this, as upset I was about Tatsuki not being here, I went into this series as indifferent as I possibly could, and I absolutely wish I could say the same about everyone else. Looking at the stats for Kemono Friends 2 shows a huge spike in 1/10 reviews, presumably from mega-fans of season 1 who were quick to judge the series, who would have given this show a 1/10 review regardless of its content just to smite Kadokawa (who ironically has no part in said content of this show).
I honestly just wish people would judge Kemono Friends 2 as its own thing, because if these mega-fans were to perhaps go into this series with more of an open-mind, then they'd surely find a lot of what made season 1 so great here. No, it's not as entertaining as season 1, but it's a silver lining. This whole situation couldn't possibly be more ironic - Kemono Friends 2 is starting out the course of its run incredibly likewise to that of its predecessor, with viewers quick to judge and dismissing the series without much thought. In fact, a lot of the complaints made about this show are incredibly similar to the ones seen when season 1 began.
"The animation looks bad." - As if season 1 looked good? The animation isn't what you define Kemono Friends as a series by, every Kemono Friends fan should know this. Much like season 1's animation, this is something you get used to through time.
"The main human is uninspired." - Much like Kaban from season 1 was the shoehorned-in human, huh? Kaban starts to show her strengths in later episodes of season 1. Just give this series time to develop itself.
And so on.
I feel like looking at the reception for Kemono Friends 2 has made me slip into some alternate reality, where Kemono Friends never DID win over its audience, and the unfair immediate reception the series got during its premiere just stagnated throughout the course of its run. It really pains me to see the other series Tatsuki went on to make, Kemurikusa, not doing too well either. It's as if Tatsuki has all this creative energy but is using the wrong outlet for it, and because the best elements out of Kemono Friends 2 and Kemurikusa couldn't come together, both parts of the divided Kemono Friends fandom are left unsatisfied.
On its own, without Tatsuki, Kemono Friends 2 is a great anime. Tomason is putting in an honest effort and it shows. Sure, it doesn't quite match the grounded tone of the original (as no part of Kemono Friends media without Tatsuki quite did), but it's clear they're doing their best to replicate it to make fans of the original happy. Quite honestly, this is the closest any form of Kemono Friends media without Tatsuki has come to replicating his style. And while the tone of the original isn't quite there, the spirit of it surely is. All the goofiness and wholesomeness that made me love season 1 so much is definitely still here.
Give it a try and keep an open-mind. If you go in expecting something exactly like the predecessor then you're going to be disappointed. Treat this as its own thing, and much like season 1, you'll find that this grows on you. There's even some surprises in store here, some moments that genuinely surprised me, some scenes that I thought were done masterfully.
Those mindlessly hating on Kemono Friend 2 are gaining nothing out of it, but to everyone else, you are still very much welcome to Japari Park.
TL;DR: "The creators are obsessed with making mysteries and building suspense with absolutely no direction or end goal". "The "LOST" of anime". Watch it only for the cute moments. If you're a strong fan of the character relationship between the main characters of season 1, be prepared for extreme and consistent disappointment.
As a extraordinarily enamored fan of season 1, i will spare you a long story about how much i enjoyed season 1 and say it's "10/10 for me!". But also keep in mind how important the characters relationships built up through S1's 12 episodes were. What and how much you might expect from season
2 in terms of "Fun" or "cute" content. There were many mysteries and loose ends. It even ends on a cliff hanger involving the 2 main characters and set up a lot of expectations!
"Zutto isshoni/ずっと一緒に" Together forever. Serval and Kaban. A mainline mantra of couple character songs. It's what made the story so great. You expected more of that. Them. Together.
Season 2 takes so much of that away and replaces it with a typical, general anime feel and plot line. Full of emotionally dreadful plot and harrowing violent moments cranked up to 11 (something that was few and far between in season 1). Virtually every episode involves a violent encounter. Past cannon is ignored involving the enemy, leading to further confusion and inconsistency.
Some "True fans" may try and discount such a review by saying "But you have to read/play X media to get it!" The anime should stand on its own. But it doesn't. Instead, it's more concerned with setting up cliff hangers and mysteries so that you'll buy the new "Season 3" game.. Scrambling around the lore so that it fits better with the future game. Season 2 story and plot fell victim to soulless corporate merchandising and profit driven ideas. As much as i hate say this. The original heart of Kemono Friends seems to lay with previous team and/or director "Tatsuki", who was removed and replaced.
This anime not only left me feeling completely unfulfilled and frustrated by the end of it. But it also managed to put me into a net negative state. No mystery was solved. Only MORE questions. More confusion. More pain. As a big fan of Serval and Kaban, it absolutely disgusted me what they decided to do with that wonderful thing.
The cute moments were very good though. It fails to capture season 1's special and unrepeatable tone and brand of humor and cuteness. But it was still a very wonderful part of Season 2.
Kemono Friends didn't die....it was murde- it turned into a franchise zombie.
Kemono Friends was a juggernaut sleeper hit in Japan mostly done by Tatsuki, however with some executive meddling from Kadokawa, Tatsuki was unfairly fired and Kemono Friends went on with a seocnd season without Tatsuki, the visionary and lifeblood of the series itself gone. The second season to say that it felt underwhelming was an understatement but not to the point of botchery, just half assed.
So Kemono Friends 2 starts off with a new character who doesn't know where she is and wants to find her home with a sketchbook, she finds many various
Friends along the way and find out more about Japari Park and the Ceruleans and Beasts that they happen to find. On the basis the new character Kyururu voiced by Yui Ishikawa is an even watered down Kaban from the first season but she is also accompanied by Serval from the first season and Caracal voiced by Riko Koike who's keeps Serval in check.
Now the first season's mysteries made the anime and the audience question Japari Park and it's guests and to be more precise humans and what happened to them, why Ceruleans roam and how they even exist in the first place, it was subtle in it's mystery and utilized well with it's first season to portray something deeper than it was initially, The second season on the other hand has some lackluster and blatant mysteries thrown in without a hint of subtlety and it seemed that the second season cared more about it's slice of life comedy aspect than the mystery which was the buildup of the first season, the second season doesn't have ANY of that and yes there are small mysteries in this second season but they give out such blatant hints and questions answered as quickly the next episode that the mystery is barely there let alone what it was in the first season. YES Kemono Friends IS a slice of life comedy, but it was also a mystery, a GOOD mystery hidden away and dive bombed when it hit it's climax about the revelations, the second season just got the barebones of it, used it's nostalgic callbacks and points of interest and rarely delved into what it was trying to do and when it did, it "tried" but without the hint of solidarity to itself, it felt scattershot as if it was trying to tick off a checklist.
Now as much as LA is harping on the second season and it's major flaws, the second season still has some merit to it as the second season DOES in some form like it's world building and developing it's new and old characters (no not just Serval) and what mysteries are given to us, the biggest and ONLY one being a Beast following Kyururu and co. is the ONLY point of interest as it's never told outright what and HOW Beasts were created.
The animation emulates Yaoyorozu to an ok degree as it's now done by Tomason though some of the character designs did felt a bit nonchalantly done, the animation was just "ok", but felt like a downgrade weirdly enough, Yaoyorozu had a small budget and they managed to pull it off, Tomason's animation just looked like it was aping from Yaoyorozu's low animation as an excuse to keep it low quality jank (maybe as a form of consistency towards the first season, but come on), but what Tomason did...it wasn't horrible, as LA said, it's to keep with the consistency towards Yaoyorozu and to that LA wouldn't outright say the animation was the biggest flaw, ohhh no, the plot was the main culprit for that one.
The voice cast is decent enough though LA didn't expect Kyururu to be voiced by Yui Ishikawa of all voice actors, not saying she's horrible for the role, just that LA didn't expect her to. LA will be here all day if LA pointed out all voice actors, so the only notable ones are Yuka Ozaki reprising her role as Serval and she did well considering the material given anyways. Either way, decent voice cast.
Kemono Friends 2 for LA kinda lost itself with Tatsuki gone, but through watching the anime, it tried, especially with the director Ryuuchi Kimura trying to show a different side of Kemono Friends, that of the slice of life aspect of it and good on him for trying to show it in his own way let alone all the backlash that he really doesn't deserve (that belongs towards Kadokawa), but Kemono Friends was just ALOT more than that and it doesn't show here unfortunately.
People might not have never wanted to see another Kemono Friends after the debacle with Kadokawa and Tatsuki and to the people who do, you STILL have the first season and for the people who sees Kemono Friends 2 as something new and different, that's fine to. But the one lingering thought that Kemono Friends 2 kept giving LA constantly was if the first season was ANY good to begin with and this sequel definitely gave off that vibe time and again, now LA isn't saying this sequel dirtied the franchise but "worrying" to say the least.
Ultimately for all the sides that either hate or praise this second season, LA is more or less on the side of the former, but not to the degree of hate you'd expect as LA did see some potential from all this, but it just didn't have the true spirit of Kemono Friends to keep LA interested like it did the first season and felt more aimless, lackluster and clamoring onto it's nostalgia of the first season more than anything but the second season being sullened?...no...scattershot...yes.
I actually finished this abomination of an anime. To keep it short, they basically disregarded the friendship of Kaban and Serval in S1 to make the one of most pointless S2s in the history of crappy animemes. It was meant to be crap from the start, because the genius behind it was fired as director. I don't even get the logic for that. Other things to take note of:
- They made a new protagonist with no redeeming qualities to become a big liability throughout the show, especially at the end.
- They remind us of Serval forgetting Kaban just to piss us off
- PPP is
a cashgrab as usual
- the story itself was pointless, given that she settled with the fact her home was a home with everyone (something she should have realized a long time ago)
- dialogues and sequences in general are stupid and can lead to lost brain cells
- they try to make it look good in the end by playing Youkoso Japari e, which instead reminded me what an insult this is to S1
- some interesting points of the story weren't built upon, probably made to scam me to watching further
- oh and they have some serious issues with tigers, they just dropped her in at the last episode to die
Regret. That's what I felt after watching this. There were so many things I regretted after I finished watching KF2. Among them the three biggest things I regretted was not giving this series the attention it deserved up until just the day before writing this (I started watching S1 last night), binge watching all 24 episodes of both seasons in one go, and not giving myself enough time to let the hype from watching S1 settle down before moving on to S2.
Less than halfway into the first season I kept asking myself:
"Why did I let myself avoid watching this just because of the 3D CGI?"
didn't I give this the chance it deserved when it aired?"
"Why only now?"
Considering that this is supposed to be a review on the second season, I'll skip out on talking about season one. Not much needs to be said about it anyway, Kemono Friends 1 is a legend of its own. The incredibly dark undertones hidden in plain sight where all cute things gathered only brought out more of its charm.
Watching S2 right after the first was probably both the best and worst choice I had ever made. This made it easier for me to notice a few things going on in the background that I would otherwise had forgotten and/or brushed off. On the other hand, this decision made it easier for me to make comparisons. It made me see just how far season two fell in comparison. Especially when my expectations had spilled over from watching both seasons in succession.
Instead of answering old questions, they only piled up even more. I only hope that this was all done in preparation for season 3 (assuming that it will happen) where they at least answer the biggest question in my heart that I want answered: "What exactly happened?"
By no means would I call the second season bad. If anything, I'd even go as far as to say that it was good. Overall quality wise, the upgrades were notably large. It was so good that I even cried at the end whereas season one didn't manage to draw a single tear (setting aside the fact that more than half of the reason for my tears has a heavy connection to that of season one).
I have no doubt in my heart that I enjoyed both seasons.
It's just that KF2 could have been better. So so much better.
Kemono Friends 2 is a very peculiar show.
It's like that one kid that has a badass big brother that gets all the fame (KF season 1) but KF2 itself gets punched and kicked under his big bro's shadow.
The show is great. It honestly is...if you pour some butthurt cream on your bum before you watch, but that only if youre a tatsuki yandere that still can't get over Kadokawa's bs.
As the other reviewer said, the show isnt even made by Kadokawa, Kadokawa is simply giving it the funds and abillity to exist. A publisher, so to say.Tomason is doing a great job so far.The show
feels EXACTLY the same as KF1, that's how i personally feel.
The same happy, wholesome, sometimes hectic anime that only wants to spread happiness and cuteness.
The animation is surprisingly good.KF2 is still CGI, but damn id be lying if i said it looked bad.
It's looks cute, it serves it's purpose well.
Characters are still like in KF1, with some new friends joining the story. Kyururu is SLIGHTLY inferior to Kaban imo (i just dislike his/her hair) but it isnt that problematic.
Music is good. The latest episode (8) gave us a grand return of the Cerulean theme and PPP.
Overall, it's a cute show that anybody can enjoy (except people who are still upset about old dramas).
I reccomend it if you want a cute adventure with lots of waifus to choose from.
"Definitely the worst sequel in the history of anime!!!"
<I highly recommend you to read this to know the dark side behind the anime industry, although it's quite long>
Kemono friends is a sleeper hit two years ago. In case you didn't know, Kemono Friends is a pretty much near dead franchise before the anime started airing. Nobody expected anything good from Kemono Friends. However, the director, Tatsuki, brought a near death franchise to life again with his amazing skills throughout the anime. The 1st season was without a doubt a massive hit in Japan, and it's all thanks to Tatsuki and his team members Yaoyorozu.
However, he and his team members was removed from the Kemono Friends project in late September last year for no exact reason by Kadokawa. So, the 2nd season is made by a new team with a new director. Now, did it live up to the hype of the first season? Well, see for yourself.
The 1st season of KF received one of the highest rating in Japanese video streaming website NicoNico when it finished airing. A lot of new anime fans, old anime fans, and even people who have already left the anime community praised Kemono Friends like it's the next Miyazaki anime. However, after Tatsuki got kicked out from the project itself, the franchised immediately went back to the state before the 1st season was even made. The 2nd season of Kemono Friends received the lowest rating in NicoNico as opposed to the 1st season. It's so bad that it not only angered fans of the series itself but also the casual anime fans. How bad is it? Now let me explain.
First of all, the story. The story of the 1st season centers around a human named Kaban who had lost her memories and forgot what species she belong to, adventuring in the Japari Park with her friend, Serval to find out the answer. Throughout the journey they met a lot of different animal friends and learnt a lot about them. It's mostly an adventure series that at the surface seemed like it was aimed at kids. However after episode three, the tone got much darker and it attracted the attention of a lot of different anime fans. It is too the dark underlying tones throughout the series that kept the audiences interested in the series and giving it a high score. However, the 2nd season is just trash with no meaning behind it whatsoever. They removed everything good and interesting about KF1 and only remained the boring parts. Then maybe you would argue that we can still enjoy it for the cute interactions between the characters. Well let me correct you, the interactions between the characters aren't cute at all. They changed the relationship between the character as friends (as stated in the freakin' title) into one that shows how superior humans are to animals. Boi, there's nothing friends about this. Well now you may say that I'm just nitpicking, but let me show you some examples of what happened in the anime, especially in episode 9.
In episode 9, our main character Kyururu met with a domestic dog. One day Kyururu got attacked by some monsters and the domestic dog put all of its effort in protecting her, until she got badly wounded. However she still can't win, and at the last minute Serval appeared and defeated the monsters. Now what Kyururu do after she got saved, just guess. Well, your guess is maybe wrong. Kyururu didn't give a crap about Domestic Dog and keep on praising how great Serval was. In the end she told the Domestic Dog to go home with a smile without treating her injuries or even thanking her. The moral value of the episode itself is so twisted that it angered a lot of anime fans and started the low rating streak of KF2. Plus throughout the series the animals kept on praising how superior the humans are and how much they respect them whatsoever, boi there's nothing friends about that. The director and scripwriter must be twisted to think of something like this.
Now let's talk about the final episode that angered a lot of fans, Serval straight on denied Kaban, who appeared in the anime for only a few scenes, as her friend for Kyururu with the theme song of the 1st season playing in the background. Seriously!? Why!? This is so twisted that I can't even describe it anymore.
Now let's talk about the person in charge of this project, especially the most famous two, Nobuyuki Hosoya, the producer of the 2nd season and Ryuichi Kimura, the director for this season. Now normally I don't discuss this sort of stuff but for this series I need to, because these two people are the ones destroying the franchise on purpose!
Now let's start with the director. The main reason he took on this project, as stated on his twitter, is that he thinks that anybody can handle Kemono Friends because it's just an easy project, completely looking down on Tatsuki who's responsible for nearly everything season 1 is. This had a lot of the KF fans angered. Now when the series was airing, he kept on going on a war with the fans of the first season on Twitter, stating that listening to what the fans wants isn't what he wanted for the project and that people can't come to a mutual understanding which even angered the fans of KF1. At the end of the first season he even stated that the opinions of the fans of the first season don't matter because they are just blind followers of Tatsuki, completely denying the faults he made in the 2nd season. He also blacklist the people who told him what's wrong with the 2nd season.
Next, let's talk about Nobuyuki Hosoya, the producer behind this season. Now he didn't do anything too bad, he just stated that episode 9 is the best episode in the 2nd season, you know the episode which started the low rating streak of KF2.
In the end, the entire project is just to make fun at the fans of the 1st season and the fact that it got the worst rating on NicoNico is expected because of how disgusting it was. This also completely showed the dark side of the anime industry. Although I don't recommend you to watch this second season, but I do recommend you to check our what happened behind the scenes. You'll definitely be shocked. That's it for my review. Thanks for reading and I wish you a good day.
Just personal scratch.
Advised, possible spoilers.
Opinion & Informal
The cgi was a serious upgrade from the first season. Character models were a lot cleaner and there wasn't any clipping that was seen in the first season. Proportions and anatomy checked out too, but it was interesting that they made Serval's face a bit more rounder. I don't know which Serval I prefer, eh, all Servals are great. Anyways, the backgrounds and supporting details looked just as good as the first season. The one thing that this sequel did right was the nice-looking nature showcases and picturesque expanses that the first season was so good at. Overall,
I'm fairly happy with the art for this season. Regardless of whether or not the "quality" of the first season was a charm point or not, objectively, this second season of Kemono Friends (KF) did a great job in improving the overall art quality or retaining what the first season did well at.
The animation was fine. Much of the animation looked like it was at 5-frames a second lol. That was fine with me. The animation style emulated the first season well enough to make it feel like it was KF. I don't think the low frames per second detracted from the animation, it helped keep the KF atmosphere in case the art quality upgrade detracted from it; a balance of sorts. Motions, gestures, and natural movements looked beleivable. Unlike the first season, the wheels of the tram and Japari bus were actually animated first time around. There was a very noticeable art and animation quality upgrade during the PPP performance which was the right decision in my opinion. Overall, the animation was fine.
Characters, Plot & Development: 4/10
Because of the nature of both seasons and how the characters played an instrumental role in the atmosphere, plot and development, I'm going to talk about everything in one section here instead of separately like I normally do: I think this is where this successor to KF1 started to fall short. To get the main issue out of the way right away, I feel that this season of KF failed to capture what the first season was able to build and present. The character interactions at the surface level felt fine, but the deeper vibes didn't feel right at all. I'm just going to start going off with examples and gripes as to why I felt that KF2 characters didn't exemplify the KF vibe: Early on, it felt fine. Kyururu felt a bit like Kaban early on. She was able to meet new Friends with a smile on her face and ultimately help those Friends out with her superior human brain. The meeting with the guide-duck-Friend was fine. The meeting with the dolphin and California-seal (or whatever) Friends was okay to me, but I felt a bit off-put when they refused to take Kyururu & co. back to shore because they didn't get a reward. This could just be me, but I would have expected them to take them back to shore anyways, feel a bit down that they didn't get a reward, and THEN Kyururu does something about it. The PPP episode was fine. It played out pretty similar to the first season where a member of PPP (the manager this time) felt like they weren't contributing to the cause but then by the end everyone is thankful for their irreplaceable-ness. Things started to go downhill when the episode with the fighting sisters (crocodiles and leopards) was introduced. The fact that the episode's plot included Friends actively arguing in an aggressive manner was a blunder. One could argue that it's the same as the first season's Lion and Moose, but it's not. The nature of the arguing was clearly different and felt different. The first season's Lion/Moose scenario was more rooted in lighthearted rivalry, but the second season's crocodile/leopard sisters' scenario felt like they had a genuine "hate" for each other at times. That is not right, not right at all. At least, it's very wrong to what I personally felt the first season was all about. I felt like, this whole episode was an attempt at emulating the first season's Lion/Moose bit: Gorilla putting on airs, distressed at how to resolve the fighting. I felt her way of trying to resolve it was wrong too. Lion aimed to resolve the rivalry in a roundabout way where no one was hurt. However, Gorilla sought to control the sisters through fear, more or less. Yeah, no thanks. My next complaint was the whole thing with domestic dog Friend. That was terrible. Seriously. For everything that the first season tried to hard to stand for, this specific part of the sequel did the exact opposite. Let me explain: I'm totally fine with how domestic dog was introduced as a conflict of interest for Caracal and Serval. Having Caracal become jealous and at odds with her feelings was good development for Caracal to me. However, the sour mood that ensued when Kyururu was faced with the ultimate decision of either staying with or leaving domestic dog was abhorrent. The narrative direction here was the biggest mistake of this second season. It was already unconventional to show domestic dog getting beat up to the point of actually showing scratches and wounds, but the decision to let domestic dog berate herself for being unable to protect Kyururu was heartbreaking. To make it even worse, Kyururu just leaves domestic dog to her fate by allowing domestic dog to go back to the human housing complex alone to regret her failure alone for who knows could be until the day she dies. What the hell. What SHOULD have happened is that Kyururu mediates domestic dogs failure by expressing how worried she was for domestic dog, call out domestic dog for even talking about failing Kyururu, thank domestic dog and offer a KF-like solution by offering domestic dog to join them or telling her about Kaban. I don't know why that solution was never considered. Domestic dog was looking for the warmth of human company, why not give her just that? Kaban's totally available. It would not have hurt the narrative at all if domestic dog just joined the group. Seriously, in who's right mind thought it was a good idea to let domestic dog go back alone and wounded. tldr for domestic dog: domestic dog had been alone and seeking human company, finally meets Kyururu and is ecstatic saying it's the happiest she's ever been, ends up defending Kyururu from the Beast-Friend to the point of being visually beat to a pulp, realizes she couldn't protect Kyururu and decides she's not fit to be by Kyururu's side, domestic dog goes back to the human housing complex alone to live the rest of her life in regret. KYURURU JUST LETS THIS HAPPEN WITH A SMILE AND GOODBYE. Damn. During the final episode, all the friends come to help and at some point Kyururu is faced with a moment of resolve where she states that she loves all the Friends she's met so far. Hmph. Doesn't feel like it. Why was the Beast-Friend never resolved? Why did it imply she just died? What the. This season tried to emulate the mystery aspects of the first season by introducing certain plot points that raised similar questions to the first season: What happened? Where did all the humans go? What about Beast-Friend? Yeah, none of those were ever touched upon, answered, and all just dropped by the last episode. Overall, the character dynamics were emulated decently enough at the surface level, but the actual meat of the character interactions was rotten. This successor to the first season failed to capture the essence of what KF1 was: regardless if it's cheesy, Friends are friends and thus Friends will always end up being happy; not trying to mitigate fighting through fear, not arguing for territory, and definitely not letting a Friend live their life in regret and alone.
Mostly same music as the previous season with some slight changes. Soundboard was mostly the same as the previous season. No sound design to note. OP and ED were fine, but I didn't find them hooking me like the previous season's.
The conclusion bugged me. The decision to retrograde the miracle-to-this-world friendship that was Kaban-Serval was nothing short of the devil's work. Why have Serval forget everything that happened in the first season? Why ruin what was so great about the first season? I was holding my breath for this to get resolved somehow. It never happened. Anyways, I was disappointed with the conclusion because none of the questions that were brought up regarding the deeper plot were ever answered. This show sort of just left everything off at a standstill. The Beast-Friend was never resolved and it was implied that she died? What the hell? The questions from the first season where Kaban went to look for more humans was also never touched upon. Also, why play the happy-go-lucky main theme during the moment where Kaban resolves herself to knowing that Serval remembers nothing about her? Lots of questionable direction decisions and even more questions that were left unanswered.
As a standalone, objectively and without any consideration of the previous season, this was simply an average show and for that reason I gave this a 5. As a successor to the first Kemono Friends and everything it stood for, this was the definition of a disaster. Not worth watching if you're a fan of the first season.
WARNING: Several of those sections contain spoilery content. A "(SPOILER SECTION)" warning will be included where needed. Keep an eye out if you're avoiding them; else, bombs away!
After just about two years, Kemono Friends, the sleeper hit, had it's second season come about. As someone whose favorite anime is Kemono Friends, I can safely say KF2 met my expectations. For every hiccup they've had, somewhere else there was an improvement from KF1.
Overall, provided you're not blinded by ultrahigh expectations and/or hatred over past drama, I believe this is an excellent ride. And if you're a newcomer to Kemono Friends, you'll find this easy enough to
get into regardless (why would anyone skip season 1, though, is beyond me); anyway, this review is targetted at returning - not new - fans.
For appropriate comparison, I'll tackle this review between what, qualiy-wise, was maintained, was downgraded, and was improved.
KF2 has maintained the quality in:
With the composers for both the OP/ED (Masayoshi Ooishi) and the old sound director (Abe Nobuyuki) returning, this was essentially a granted. While I prefer the first season's opening, Hop in! Japari Beat is an excellent song on it's own. Endings maintain the same level of "cute but feelsy" as they did before, and a lot of BGM was recycled/remastered, while new ones have been added. The musical highlight for me, however, was the new insert song - if Sky Dreamer was an excellent start for PPP back in 2017, Around Round now shows how far they've progressed musically.
The overarching theme of Kemono Friends has always been a constant stream of positivity even when shit is hitting the fan. Kemono Friends 2 is no exception. Season 2's characters find themselves in tragedy quite often, yet not once have the characters let sadness take over. Certainly applies a kid's show feeling, which is why the franchise manages to keep itself interesting for every age; even an adult can find enjoyment in this pertaining feeling of comfortable joy it brings. And no one should be ashamed to.
The episodic formula of "go to new place, meet small group of new Friends, solve their problems and move on" remains strong, like S1 kept this back from the original mobile game. And the Friends presented all have enough personality not to feel repetitive or static, all the while being as adorable as ever. With an ever-growing roster of 400+ Friends, the franchise is never going to be shy of those.
(SPOILER SECTION STARTS)
Kyururu has taken the role of the main protagonist, while Kaban has been made into one of the episodic Friends. Many criticized this decision; but it illustrates important things about both characters. For one, that Kaban was a blank slate back in the first season - essentially no personality or background, building it rapidly as the season progressed. By it's end, she was a fully-fledged character, and the role of an "important supporting character" remains a better fit for a character whose potential is, simply put, capped.
Kyururu, on the other hand, already came out with specified traits: some attitude, likes drawing, confused about her situation but not about her location. While more static, changing very little between episode 1 and 12, her job providing us wholesome moments and a conflict through the sketchbook did nicely advance the plot.
At the end of the day, it's kind of hard to expect that Serval's companion will remain when there is a change in media in Kemono Friends. Serval is the only constant, really - Servals have already lurked around with Nana, the Nexon protagonist, Mirai, Okapi, Kaban, and now Kyururu. It's perfectly understandable if you don't like this trend, however. To each his own. I've learned to appreciate it, myself.
(SPOILER SECTION ENDS)
KF2 has seen a downgrade in:
Inheriting a sleeper hit show shock-full of drama that inherited a mobile game that died before the show aired is quite the herculean task, and while Ryuichi Kimura bravely took on the challenge (and the uncalled for insults included on the package), it can't be helped that in some points, he did slip. No episode left me with bad taste, but there were situations where plenty of hype was built-up for an episode, only for it to come by and, while it ended up being nice, it didn't live up to the tremendous hype built-up. At the end of the day, the show was wrapped up nicely, but not as nicely as the episodes immediately before it made us expect.
But it's okay; different Friends are good at different things. Ryuichi Kimura is good at building up to a scenario and generating hype. That's a fairly important skill, at the end of the day.
(SPOILER SECTION STARTS)
If you've seen any non-manga Kemono Friends media, you're probably familiar with the Ceruleans(/Celliens). They are - and remain - the main antagonistic force in the franchise, and they've been generally threatening whenever they showed up. In the first season, most Friends would refuse to engage one in battle, save from a battle-hardened few. In the Nexon Game, for the most part, confronting a Cerulean was not a good idea, albeit the main character had an interesting mechanism to combat them (go watch the ONA shorts summing up the Nexon Game if you're curious).
Now, in Season 2, they are more bark than bite. They have menacing new designs, and now they commonly copy Friends' shapes, yet most of them were defeated in a single blow, the only ones putting up remotely a fight being the camera-drill-thing in E1, the ship one that is never actually fought, and Serval/Caracal clone in E12.
(SPOILER SECTION ENDS)
KF2 has outperformed the first season in:
While Irodori was specially attentive to make the most out of a limited budget, experienced animators with a large bag of money ended up proving too much of an edge. The models are nice-looking and have received a massive cute factor boost when compared to their S1 counterparts, and the enemies at least look more intimidating and powerful (see Threat), and while there were some frame rate hiccups (CGI technology still has ways to go...), there were outstanding moments as well, notably in episode 8. And attention to detail was fairly well-kept; Hululu losing her attention several times without making a fuss was an entertaining little thing to watch.
However, the true star here has to be not the models, but the environment, backgrounds and lighting. Irodori's limited budget left us with cryptic and simplistic backgrounds - studio Tomason brought forth an expert in lighting whose mastery can easily be noticed, specially in the second version of the opening. Backgrounds were endearing and had me since the promotional poster came out.
Again following the trend of employing newcomer voice actresses (or seiyuus; I'll use VAs for short from now on), Kan Madoka (Western Parotia) and Yagi Mashiro (Greater Lophorina) were added to the ever-expanding roster, while the veterans from S1 are all back, both newcomers like Kana Motomiya (Fennec) and Ozaki Yuka (Serval) and experienced VAs like Aya Uchida (Kaban/Mirai/Lucky Beasts) and Aiba Aina (Rockhopper Penguin).
The highlights, however, go to Riko Koike (Caracal), largely a newcomer to the industry, and Yui Ishikawa (Kyururu), with a large list of works, Attack on Titan being probably the most famous. And, of course, can't forget to mention how much Ozaki Yuka has to be appreciated; with a throat infection hitting her during the recordings and still providing us with our daily doses of Mya-Mya-Mya. If you liked the acting in S1, S2 will be a sure hit.
Ultimately, I was not disappointed, and a 10/10 is due from me, specially due to the ungodly amount of dedication that had to be input from pretty much everyone involved, with so much heat and drama in the community harassing them over mistakes they didn't commit.
And for those who, like me, enjoyed the ride, rejoice - Kimura has alerted us on Twitter that more is to come.
To wrap this up, I make Ironyart's blog's (in an analysis/review of KF as a franchise) words my own:
"You think KF2 is not good? Don’t worry, we already have KF3."