Anime Vice News

POLAR BEAR CAFE #1 - - Special Review

Kind of like STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE directed by David Lynch.

Once more, we return to the subject of how there maybe ought to be a chart classifying the various kinds of weirdness in pop entertainment. I really don’t like to ascribe creative surrealism to drug use, but there’s an elusive quality to POLAR BEAR’S CAFÉ which makes it seem like it was created by somebody under the influence of something.

Oh wait, it isn’t actually that elusive - - it feels this way because the main character’s a panda bear who’s both lethargic and giggly enough to seem like he’s stoned the entire time.

It’s a strange creature, this show. On one level, it seems like a perfectly-appropriate children’s story about a panda bear getting a job at a zoo. You could just imagine the creator’s young daughter asking him about where the animals go home to when the zoo closes and then - - ZOOM! - - off he went on his creative process.

However, there’s a generally peculiar mood throughout this which underlies the otherwise charming events; like David Lynch directing a STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE episode or something. So, on another level, this totally feels like it’s been based on the nearly-autobiographical web comic of some pot smoking lay-about whose Mom keeps bugging him to get a job. The running gag of him nearly getting sucked up in a vacuum is a funny, but it’s also got that sort-of peculiar non sequitor quality which makes you think that it’s drawing from some incident that actually happened in the writer’s life.

Anyway, that’s about as deep as I’m going to read into POLAR BEAR’S CAFÉ. I’ll raise my paw to this show for being one of the most memorable and unique pilots I’ve ever watched since I’ve been working for this site.

It does feel like there’s some joke here that I might be missing, though...

Watch this episode, "Polar Bear's Café" here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

sickVisionz moderator on Jan. 8, 2013 at 2:51 p.m.

One of the better shows this year imo. Pretty funny on a regular basis with a crazy cast of characters. A lot of people say that series x is like the Seinfeld of anime. This is one of the few times where that's an accurate analogy on more levels than just it being episodic in nature.

Kino88on Jan. 8, 2013 at 2:55 p.m.

yup, now I have to see this,

Petiewon Jan. 8, 2013 at 7:04 p.m.
I didn't enjoy the first episode at all, so I didn't bother with checking out the rest of the series.
I think your pot smoking analysis is pretty off base though Tom, if I remember right the show is basically targetted at middle aged/slightly younger women and one of its biggest selling points is the stellar voice actors.
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