After last week’s uncharacteristically heavy and somber Shirokuma Cafe, it’s nice to get back into a more conventional humorous mode this week. That said, we still had an appearance from probably the creepiest character in anime, the pandacon florist-stalker Rin-Rin. You might not suspect it to look at him, but this dude is way scarier than the likes of Hisoka.
It seems in many ways Rin-Rin has found his perfect dance partner in Mei-Mei, who shares his unhealthy obsession with an unlikely target of a different species. The difference of course is that Mei-Mei is in the Tiger Beat generation, and thus of an age where that sort of thing is entirely appropriate (apart from the whole different species thing). As stalkers go I’ll take Mei-Mei any day – not only is it the rare case of Kana Hanazawa doing a voice that sounds slightly different from her regular one, but the object of her affection – while boring as dirt – at least has the virtue of being a thoroughly kind-hearted person.
That the double-date the pair of airheads cook up as a way to get some face time with Panda and Han-sama is a non-starter can’t come as much of a surprise. In point of fact it’s Rin-Rin’s overexuberance that leads to the problem, as he gets so frenzied imagining himself in the photo booth with Panda-kun (the Kuroshitsuji-themed one is especially disturbing) that he gets a fever and has to cancel. Mei-Mei shows a rather kind side here, declining to go through with the date and leave her co-conspirator at home alone, opting instead to take care of him with rice-chocolate panda porridge. One other note about this chapter – Sasako-san’s glasses had me on the floor. That was such a classically out-of-character move from her that it was a perfect fit.
The second sketch is a return to the buddy-comedy template that this series does so well. This time it’s a smelt fishing trip to the mountains, which Shirokuma-san wakes up Grizzly-san for because he has the SUV. There’s nothing too surprising here but it’s always fun to watch this group on an outing, and interesting to see Sasako-san invited along for a change. It strikes me that Grizzly-kun, in addition to being all bark and no bite, is actually damn good at almost everything (he’s the only one who has much luck with the smelt in the end, though the others never let Penguin resort to his natural behavior). The other comedic highlight here is Shirokuma-san’s preposterous troll about Smelt starting out large and then dividing into their own school, which Panda-kun naturally swallows hook, line and sinker (unlike the smelt he was trying to catch). I also thought Penguin-san trying to fish with a sumaho was a pretty clever gag.