Shirokuma Café – 42

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For a minute there I thought I was watching “Bears on the Slope”.

There are many relationships in Shirokuma Café that pack plenty of charm, but the one between Shirokuma-san and Grizzly-san may just be my favorite of the lot.  It sounds funny to say considering the premise of this show, but I think theirs is one of the most authentic male friendships in anime – especially among adult men, who rarely feature in anime enough to have a friendship this well-developed.  There’s an easy familiarity between them that rings very true to life – they act like most of the guys I’ve known who were close friends since they were kids.

In every male friendship I know of, there’s a hierarchy of two – there’s always one guy who gets the better of the other when it comes to practical jokes and general trolling.  It’s pretty obvious what the pecking order is here, but as is so often the case in these relationships there’s more to it than meets the eye.  This episode was pretty much a celebration of Grizzly-kun in all this tsun-bear glory.  For a change it’s Shiro-kun who’s having trouble sleeping – though in his case it’s not because his best friend keeps calling and waking him up.  I wouldn’t have thought Shirokuma the type to suffer from insomnia but he is quite the thinker, I suppose – and naturally it’s Grizzly that Sasako-san thinks of to call for advice.  My favorite part of the skit was Panda-kun’s remark when Grizzly-kun brings over lavender, scented candles and a music box for Shirokuma – “You’re really quite girly, aren’t you?” – and Grizzly’s reaction.  But it’s ultimately Penguin-san to the rescue, as not even Shirokuma-san’s overactive, restless mind can withstand Penguin’s lectures on how to live your life (I would have thought perhaps Rakugo would have been in order).

As has usually been the case lately, the second chapter is the warmer – and better – of the two.  We have Grizzly-kun hanging around the café because now he’s too worked-up to sleep, so he lets off a little steam by shoveling the snow that’s piled up around the café (and on the roof).  The snow puts Shirokuma in mind of a time when they were in middle school, and Grizzly-kun has his first crush on an older girl named Tsukiko-chan (Kobayashi Yuu, against type).  This is the second time we’ve flashed back to the bears as cubs (we even get a look at shogakusei Panda-kun this time) and in both instances, we see the adult each will become in evidence – and we also see that for all his teasing, Shirokuma-kun cares a hell of a lot for his friend.  Grizzly-kun has it tougher than Shirokuma-kun and they both know it – he’s scarier, more socially awkward and not as well-liked.  The puppy (cubby?) love story involving a lost school badge is nothing all that original, but it’s quite sad seeing how isolated Grizzly is apart from Shirokuma – and how Shirokuma tries to protect his friend from the worst of the effects.  We also get to hear Nakamura Yuuichi do his Sakurai Takahiro impersonation, which is worth the price of admission all on its own.

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[HorribleSubs]_Polar_Bear_Cafe_-_42_[720p].mkv_snapshot_11.15_[2013.01.31_22.19.41] [HorribleSubs]_Polar_Bear_Cafe_-_42_[720p].mkv_snapshot_11.22_[2013.01.31_22.19.48] [HorribleSubs]_Polar_Bear_Cafe_-_42_[720p].mkv_snapshot_13.14_[2013.01.31_22.21.41]
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  1. A

    Why is this anon guy always targeting Shirokuma Cafe blog to spam? I don't get it.

  2. Don't you understand? It's thousands of spam bots, not "this guy". That's what happens to blogs that allow anonymous posts.

  3. A

    I see, Enzo. bots. But why is it only targeting the Shirokuma Cafe blog of yours almost exclusively? I haven't seen other shows' blogs being targeted to this extent (yes 1 spam here and there, but you get like 10+ spam on this show's blog). Maybe it's certain time and day of the week it attacks and Shirokuma Cafe happens to fit that frame?

    Now it probably doesn't matter at all to you Enzo, but I was just curious.

  4. You only see a tiny fraction of the spam posts – I delete many of them fairly quickly, and the spam filter catches some more. I'm getting as many as a hundred spam comments a day.

    As to why Shirokuma seems to attract a few more, I can't say – I really have no idea. But it's far from the only set of posts that are taregted.

  5. A

    These spam bots sure are getting, uh…I don't want to say "sophisticated," but their comments sound more generically comment-like.

    Thank you for the write-up, as always!

  6. A

    The look back at Shirokuma and Grizzly's schooldays was quite wonderful, you could probably make a series out of that by itself.

    Spammers need to die in a fire.

  7. e

    Oooh goody… may those spammers get lost in their own water&toilet damage.
    Back in topic, this episode looks as promsing from your post as it seemed to be from last week preview. Ah, this wait to be able to watch it is agony I tell you XD
    —- braving the shiny fluff of Windows 8 and reinstalling software pains. XP, how I'm missing you already. For starters I want my themes customization font type options back dammit. I'm a Tolkien regular font gal at heart when it comes to menus and window bars. The standard font is so… aseptic. Sans serifs sans grace. Grawr. *grizzly mad*—-.

  8. K

    I thought the 2nd half was much better then the 1st. I love the friendship between Polar and Grizzly. Its probably one of my favorite aspects of this show.

  9. Anonymous better start thinking of a screen name, because I've about had enough and moderation is not an option with me being out of email contact much of the day. And I hate word verification too much to use it.

  10. A

    This episode had me wondering though, does that mean both Grizzly and Polar Bear('s families) made the move to Japan at the same time? Their original flashback was set in Alaska or thereabouts, right?

  11. Shirokuma & Grizzly's original flashback wasn't set in Alaska. Shirokuma did tell a story about how he was living in the Arctic and got separated from his mother when an ice floe broke apart, but that was just a troll.

  12. b

    Penguin's rakugo was getting repetitive and appeared a lot in the past few episodes so maybe that's why it wasn't used this episode.

    Kobayashi Yuu as Tsukiko-chan. Another one to be added to the long list of amazing seiyuus in this show. A nice guest if I may say so.
    I'd like a Norio Wakamoto appearance please.

    And Bears on the Slope, I'd watch that.

  13. a

    I loved penguin's 100 ways to manage your life:
    1. Understand that you have to compliment yourself
    2. Be the last to put the blame on yourself and my favorite #3
    3. What can't be done today, can't be done tomorrow
    lol I'd buy his tape to listen to the other 97 ways to manage your life.

  14. A

    It took me 3 years to watch this show but now that I’ve watched most of it I have no regrets. The way how Grizzly and Polar Bear act is exactly like how my best friend and I behave. Like the two bears we’ve known each other since childhood. Like the two bears we consistently annoy and disturb the heck out of each other but we truly care for each other.

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