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REVIEW: Kemono Friends


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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
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Location: Virginia, United States
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:36 am Reply with quote
Planet of the Friends. Never thought I might be interested in this show, but I will give dystopian futures a try.
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Blood-
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Joined: 07 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:48 am Reply with quote
A "visual disaster in almost all respects?" This fixation on production values is actually pretty irritating. Yes, the visuals of Kemono Friends are undeniably rough and low budget. An element I forgot about pretty quickly as I become engaged with the fun of the show. South Park's visuals are for shit. Who cares? Naturally, I understand that in an animated show, obviously how it looks will have an impact on how it is perceived. But I wish anime fandom would get away from this fixation on production values to see what else might be going on. Not to mention that calling Kemono Friends " a visual disaster" fails to address a contigent like me who actually came to like the look of the show as part of its charm. The French have a phrase "belle laide" which refers to a woman who conventionally may be considered ugly, but who nonetheless is attractive in some way. I think the phrase applies to KF's visuals.
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John Thacker



Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:02 am Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
A "visual disaster in almost all respects?" This fixation on production values is actually pretty irritating. Yes, the visuals of Kemono Friends are undeniably rough and low budget. An element I forgot about pretty quickly as I become engaged with the fun of the show. South Park's visuals are for shit. Who cares?


The nice thing about detailed reviews is that you're free to look at the minuses (or pluses) and say "I don't care about that," and disregard it. It's clearly better for your point of view than lumping things into one single star or numerical rating. Some people care, and some people don't. It's still a fact, and who does it hurt by stating it, and letting people for whom it would interfere with enjoying the show take note, while other people can ignore the warning as their sensibility dictates.

An over sensitive response is more irritating than a blunt but truthful comment in a review. It's a review that itself recommends the show while noting the rough visuals, one must add.
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Kidkidd



Joined: 14 May 2016
Posts: 21
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:10 am Reply with quote
My AotS for this season, i loved this show and its characters so much, i can't wait for more.

I wonder if the show would be as charming with good visuals. I was used to it by around the 3rd episode, and now it just feels like its part of the show.
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Key
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Joined: 03 Nov 2003
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Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:25 am Reply with quote
My initial impression of the series was exactly what Nick described, and I'm rather shocked to hear that it actually amounted to something good (on the writing front, anyway). Might actually check out a few more episodes down the road.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 1979
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:31 am Reply with quote
God that animation is awful, story may be a, A, but that can't save it.
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chito895



Joined: 22 Jan 2015
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Location: Lima, Peru
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:34 am Reply with quote
@Blood- I understand your point, and I also found Kemono Friends looks very charming, but it's impossible to deny something that's true. I for one don't care if the anime looks like shit as long as it has interesting characters and nice story, but the looks of KF is something that will put off people that don't have my tastes. And it put off people when the show first aired as well. I didn't watched it because I didn't care about this kid show and maybe a lot of people thought the same, but then after the buzz started, I got interested in it, especially after so many memes about Serval being rolled over by a bus. I realized that the poor CGI worked in favor of its comedy, so I got more interested.

If it weren't for the buzz, I would have dismissed this show as an ugly CGI kids anime. And I'm pretty sure many people did the same. It's impossible to deny that fact.

Anyway, I'm glad I watched Kemono Friends. It made my days slightly happier once I started watching it, and the charm of its characters and and its well told story were enough to have a lot of fun. And sometimes it was goddamn hilarious. Yep, Kemo Friends is pretty amazing if you can resist the visuals.


Last edited by chito895 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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vonPeterhof



Joined: 10 Nov 2014
Posts: 505
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:56 am Reply with quote
Two things have made this show special for me: 1. Observing the (Japanese-speaking) fandom has been just as fun as watching the show. Since there was considerably less buzz about Kemono Friends in the English-speaking fandom I ended up spending a lot of time reading the Japanese tweets, looking at fanarts by Japanese artists and watching videos on NicoNico. The speculation, the memes, the meta-speculations about the nature of the show and its popularity has been a rare experience.

2. A certain scene in the final episode was among the closest to move me to tears in all of anime. While a lot of anime have affected me emotionally (Madoka Magica, anohana, Higurashi, etc.) and some have even made me brood for days (Code Geass and Psycho-Pass come to mind), almost none have actually made me cry, with Elfen Lied possibly coming the closest (possibly, because I honestly can't remember if I cried the first time I watched Grave of the Fireflies - certainly not the second time). Now a CG-animated animal girl show has this distinction. In fact, rewatching this scene actually did make my eyes watery for real. So, thank you Kemono Friends, for proving to me that my heart hasn't withered and died yet Smile
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gedata



Joined: 04 May 2013
Posts: 413
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:58 am Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
A "visual disaster in almost all respects?" This fixation on production values is actually pretty irritating. Yes, the visuals of Kemono Friends are undeniably rough and low budget. An element I forgot about pretty quickly as I become engaged with the fun of the show. South Park's visuals are for shit. Who cares? Naturally, I understand that in an animated show, obviously how it looks will have an impact on how it is perceived. But I wish anime fandom would get away from this fixation on production values to see what else might be going on. Not to mention that calling Kemono Friends " a visual disaster" fails to address a contigent like me who actually came to like the look of the show as part of its charm. The French have a phrase "belle laide" which refers to a woman who conventionally may be considered ugly, but who nonetheless is attractive in some way. I think the phrase applies to KF's visuals.


Even if the visuals aren't a deal breaker, it would be completely irresponsible for a review like this to not acknowledge them for how off-putting they might be to people haven't seen the series yet. I would have dropped it immediately if it weren't for the fact that I was curious to understand what all the hubbub was about even if I wouldn't end up liking (far from the case as it turns out!).

I personally think the way it looks is a part of the appeal too though with goofily janky the whole thing looks. At least Japan agrees with us.
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Blood-
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 07 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:00 am Reply with quote
@ chito895 - first, let me clear: my comment above was not about denying anything. KF's visuals are rough, no question. Any review of a show has to include technical aspects, so any review has to address that. I think calling it a "visual disaster" is overstating the case, myself, but that is a personal viewpoint.

The rest of your post, however, kind of proves my point. You acknowledge it was only after hearing all the buzz about KF that you checked it out and you are glad you did. That's what I mean when I say that I wish some anime fans weren't so hung up on visual look. The problem with this fixation is that it reinforces the animu generica style where visual risk-taking or unconventionality is discouraged. You get all the enraged kvetching about Flowers of Evil because it dared to try something visually different, for example. I just find that a really banal, trite approach to anime.
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Blanchimont



Joined: 25 Feb 2012
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Location: Finland
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:14 am Reply with quote
In case this wasn't a one hit wonder, It'll be interesting to see what the staff and studio will work next with. They don't have that many works behind them.
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Valhern



Joined: 19 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:27 pm Reply with quote
As someone who firmly believes that "So bad it's good" or "Guilty pleasure" are totally useless ideas, to me Kemono Friends is a regular cute girls show, with a mostly well-executed story. I don't really buy that the bad CGI has some kind of mystic that makes you "ironically" like it. Meaning, people don't like it because it's "Bad", rather, it's because it has a particular execution that makes it just click, like literaly any other show.

For me for example, any scene that didn't include any particular action-heavy stuff was pretty neatly directed, however when too much was supposed to happen or too fast (it seems as if the characters always move at the same speed) it looked more dry and less fun to watch than, say, Cresed Iblis' image just moving through the frame with any movement at all.

Anyhow, I think the most fun part of the show was in the first half, or rather, I particularly liked the characters in that part. The later parts are around decent to kinda uninteresting. Though I must say, when Serval ships away with her own boat I really went "awww". Oh yeah, the segments with animal experts and the PPP ad-lib? Awesome, all of them.

Fun, interesting show, hopeful for more and honestly I hope it can look better. Clumsy as it might be, this show was made by ten people, in 500 days, the game was canceled mid-production, they hired totally new seiyuus. It's not like that anecdote in which in a meeting of the SHAFT staff (I think they were prodcing Zetsubou Sensei) they thought "This totally would be a moment when a bucket falls on their head (talking about a character)" and they made it a running gag among their shows. The fact that it even came out weekly was a miracle in itself.
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Parsifal24



Joined: 20 Apr 2010
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Location: Holland MI
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:56 pm Reply with quote
This was my Anime of The Season and honestly I'm surprised that it ended up being that but yes ultimately the writing is what saves it along with the character interactions. I mean I was ecstatic when Raccoon got her hat back or that the ending of the series was completely satisfying. I never thought I'd get so emotionally invested in something that I originally dropped five minutes into the first episode.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:43 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
A "visual disaster in almost all respects?" This fixation on production values is actually pretty irritating. Yes, the visuals of Kemono Friends are undeniably rough and low budget. An element I forgot about pretty quickly as I become engaged with the fun of the show. South Park's visuals are for shit. Who cares? Naturally, I understand that in an animated show, obviously how it looks will have an impact on how it is perceived. But I wish anime fandom would get away from this fixation on production values to see what else might be going on. Not to mention that calling Kemono Friends " a visual disaster" fails to address a contigent like me who actually came to like the look of the show as part of its charm. The French have a phrase "belle laide" which refers to a woman who conventionally may be considered ugly, but who nonetheless is attractive in some way. I think the phrase applies to KF's visuals.


Seriously, didn't we just talk about this in the last thread where KF came up?? (The Best/Worst of Winter one, I think.)
The constant HARPING on animation quality as any excuse to pick on a show seems to start from the animators and industry insiders that work on the core websites like Cartoon Brew--who have to worry about animation quality for a living, or spent the last twenty years of their career doing it--and then starts spreading out to the fandom, who hear and repeat it often enough to think it's some "unpardonable crime".
Pretty much the same process by which 00's Cartoon Network used to obsessively demonize the Flintstones for "Look, the backgrounds loop!..Yuk yuk, isn't that cheap and kitschy? That's because it's old!--We TOLD you they deserve to die!!", despite the fact that that wasn't why viewers were watching the show. (And which was particularly hypocritical coming from a network using that to try and sell us the fine, craftsman-like product of Adult Swim.)

Like I said in the last thread, folks, it's the 10's: You're going to get cheap animation in your anime pretty much anywhere you go now, so you sit back and see whether or not they still know how to write it, either.
And given from the mass fan hypnosis of trying to figure out the "Planet of the Friends" plot, or getting attached to the darling-odd humor of Serval, Ibis or Beaver, etc., evidently they DO. Smile

Even the need to do a streaming review fresh off of Ep. 12 seems to be a labor-of-love for one more hooked cult viewer, who still needs to write off his own fandom with "Yes, even though it's so badly computer-drawn, you know..." Rolling Eyes

gedata wrote:
I personally think the way it looks is a part of the appeal too though with goofily janky the whole thing looks. At least Japan agrees with us.


I had heard the concept originally came from an app game, and that, like the Pokemon series, it had to have some visual ties back to its roots.
I assumed that immediately with the bus, the little zoological-index ID's every time a new friend shows up, and the map/concept of traveling to a different "area" of the park every episode.
Even the "zoo" photos and zookeeper commentary in the eyecatch breaks seem like the "More facts" button you might click in the game index.

Suffice to say, I wasn't immediately geek-wrapped up in micro-analyzing the whole "Apocalypse" tease--even though I did tune in hoping the other shoe would drop for an explanation--but if I tuned in for the cuteness, at least I had some visual content to understand where the cuteness CAME from.
Btw, they, um....haven't released the app game over here yet, have they? Embarassed
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relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
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Location: Northern Virginia
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:44 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
@ chito895 - first, let me clear: my comment above was not about denying anything. KF's visuals are rough, no question. Any review of a show has to include technical aspects, so any review has to address that. I think calling it a "visual disaster" is overstating the case, myself, but that is a personal viewpoint.

The rest of your post, however, kind of proves my point. You acknowledge it was only after hearing all the buzz about KF that you checked it out and you are glad you did. That's what I mean when I say that I wish some anime fans weren't so hung up on visual look. The problem with this fixation is that it reinforces the animu generica style where visual risk-taking or unconventionality is discouraged. You get all the enraged kvetching about Flowers of Evil because it dared to try something visually different, for example. I just find that a really banal, trite approach to anime.


But I think it IS a visual disaster. And looking at it technically, it's hard to see it as anything else. Like others noted, it would be totally irresponsible not to mention it. And "visual disaster" seems accurate. If production values aren't important to you that's fine, but other fans prioritizing production values should not be seen as a problem at all. They just have different tastes/interests/wants. And I don't think that reinforces the animu generica style at all. Just because someone thinks this looks bad doesn't mean they aren't a fan of experimental animation. That's not even what this is. All in all, the actual designs in this show are kind of animu generica. All of that being said, noting that the show looks bad and enjoying it can be entirely separate, a lot of people within the sakuga fandom like this show, but that doesn't mean they think it looks great. It being a visual disaster can even be a point of enjoyment. But that doesn't mean people should ignore it. I find your aversion to a focus on visuals to be what is a little odd here. This is anime. A visual medium. Let people care about the visuals. It seems like you want people to pretend it's not a factor. Or to overlook them because you think it's not important.
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