I suppose the headline this week is a full-on overdose of KanaHana in the second chapter, but I think I actually got more laughs out of the first one. Somehow the sight of Panda-kun in an otter suit wearing an inner tube just set me off, I don’t know why. It’s not as if this was the most memorable sketch of non-otters breaking clams on their tummy (Sasako-san takes the cake there) but when Shirokuma Café really takes the central conceit of the show to the ludicrous extreme it always makes me laugh in a big way. I also thought it was pretty funny that Miyata Kouki plays both Otter-san and Badger-san, and those were the first two reassignments Panda had. I also loved Panda-kun’s llama bow. But just who the heck is this Zoo Director, anyway – and how come I’ve never worked for someone like that?
More Mei Mei is always a good thing (though I was hoping we’d see the panda babies, too). Her sibling relationship with Panda-kun comes off as surprisingly normal, actually, though her infatuation with “Prince Han” clearly doesn’t (and that’s not even worrying about the species thing). Even allowing for Handa-san’s strong points (reliable, kind, clean) he hardly seems like the type that the Tiger Beat (Panda Beat?) crowd would go for. I like Handa-san but I’ve pretty much given up hope for him as anything but a hopeless case – I mean really, folding shopping bags into tiny triangles? Refusing a tea invitation by saying you have to get to the store to buy a light bulb for the john? Obviously the Mei Mei thing isn’t going anywhere, but that kind of cluelessness isn’t going to be much help in courting Sasako-san.
I know it’s silly, but as good as KanaHana is I couldn’t stop thinking though that second sketch how funny Aoi Yuuki would have been doing all that Mei Mei fangirl squeeing. At least it took my mind off the whole subplot with Handa-san marrying Ms. Badger, which actually crossed over some invisible barrier and started to actually seem a little creepy. And as much fun as Mei Mei is, I found myself missing Shirokuma-san and Penguin-san there by the end. Next week looks like it’ll make up for it at least in part, as we have two Penguin chapters on the way.