It was an odd week for Shirokuma Café. The manga went on indefinite hiatus, with the author, Higa Aloha, complaining that she “hadn’t received a single cent” from the anime adaptation. She also said she “only heard news about the adaptation through the internet” and even complained that the anime got the number of fingers wrong, because “bears should have five fingers, not four.” Apparently some sort of accord has been reached for Higa to consult on the remainder of the anime, but I guess that wasn’t enough to keep her from putting the manga on hiatus.
(Update: “Through multiple posts on her Twitter account, Higa wrote that after various discussions, it became clear to her that the editorial department responsible for her manga was approving materials sent by the anime production team for checking without consulting with her first, and that the anime team was simply following standard procedure from their end. Higa also wrote that individuals from the anime production’s side told her that her editor sent them emails stating that materials such as scripts would be sent directly to Higa, but that they never were.
Higa went on to say that she thanked the anime producers for making a high-quality title and for all of their hard work, but that the manga’s hiatus will continue for “a while.”)
All that surprised me, because I think the anime has been doing a great job – I find the show consistently entertaining and occasionally hilarious, though I can’t speak to how faithful it might or might not be (and I don’t really care about the number of digits the bears have). I certainly respect a mangaka’s right to be protective of their creation and their right to be paid for the use of their work, but I’m blogging the anime on its own terms. And this was another very solid episode, though the first half was certainly the funnier of the two.
Rin-Rin is a bit of an oddball even in this cast. I’m not sure if he’s a pandacon or a shotacon, but even after meeting Panda-kun’s adorable little sister Mei-Mei (Kana Hanazawa) and the twin baby pandas, he was still primarily interested in getting into Panda-kun’s good graces. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t in high heaven frolicking with the heretofore unseen members of the family when delivering flowers to Panda-Mama, including Ojii-san – who sends poor Rin-Rin flying and then pretends to be a doddering old man immersed in his Tai Chi. Imouto is suitably cute, though she says Rin-Rin is too thin to be her type. But it’s the youngest who send the kawaii meter off the chart, pulling out every cute panda trick in the book despite proving rather formidable in their own right. Poor Rin-Rin – getting beating up by panda babies, and seemingly making little headway with Panda-kun, who finds his panda tchotchkes “tacky” (but refuses to give them away).
Other highlights of the episode: Polar Bear’s declaration the he trolls his friends to “bring some color to their desolate lives” and managing to move them to tears with a fake story of Rin-Rin’s past, despite them knowing it was a troll. Penguin-san’s continued labor pains about finally confessing to Penko-san are starting to get a little repetitive, though I did enjoy Polar Bear’s attempts to help him by describing mating rituals of the animal kingdon (including tortoise hentai) and especially, about to bash Penguin-san on the head with a boulder if he hadn’t finally mustered the nerve to enter the bakery. Alas, all he got out of it were three 50-yen service tickets – small steps indeed.