If there's one thing you must know about me it is that I am very, very passionate about pandas. Grossly passionate. I buy anything with a panda on it (and so does everyone I know, meaning I have way too much panda stuff). I've never seen one at the zoo or anything, but I'm pretty sure if I ever came close to a real-life panda I'd go full Kristen Bell and fold up into a really embarrassing ball of tears. When I first began watching Shirokuma Cafe, Panda was no exception, although I will admit that his character surprised me quite a bit! He is so full of himself (contrary to what I was expecting of a cute panda), but that's part of what makes this anime incredibly hilarious.
"I'm going to shamelessly laze around. That's whats so cute about me."
Panda is adorable and he knows it. He flaunts it. He will literally fawn over himself if nobody else will do it for him. He's shamelessly lazy, interviewing for jobs and willingly telling hiring managers that the only things he's good at are being cute and sleeping. Honestly speaking Panda is really quite conceited, but his oblivious nature is part of what makes him such a riot next to the patient and kind Shirokuma and the bitter and cynical Penguin. He lives in his own little world where he is the star and while it can come off as a bit small-minded, it's mostly just endearing in the way the anime portrays it. He fully believes that he's entitled to so much just because he's an adorable panda. (And WHO ARE WE to tell him no?)
Shirokuma Cafe is incredibly relaxing to watch because of it's slow-natured and gentle pace—even though the characters are slightly "over the top", it's a really quiet sort of comedy and the resolution of each episode is always very happy and touching. (I used to love coming home after a long day of work and just relaxing to episodes of it, they'd literally put me into bed!) Even though the animals all have their own little quirks, at the end of the day they come together to be kind to one another and enjoy each other's company no matter their differences. The story itself is quite simple and very "slice of life", and Panda's character develops as he learns the "way of the world" through his animal friends. He also makes friends with a Panda "senpai" of sorts: Part Time Panda whom he works with at the Zoo. His relationship with this character is one of my favorites throughout the series because this is where the anime takes a slightly more mature storyline for the usually comedic Panda. (Trust me, I cried like an idiot over this Panda "coming of age" story.)
Panda is a really straightforward character that I like mostly because he makes me laugh, and is just so damn relatable. (Lazy panda lovers unite!) However, Shirokuma Cafe as a whole is something I recommend if you haven't had the chance to sit down and watch it! Many people scoff at it because it's a series entirely about animals, but it's actually really enjoyable and easy to watch for all ages. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for something cute and lighthearted! (And also if you're a panda freak like me... because they are PLENTIFUL in this anime and Panda's adorable personality will totally win you over. After all that's what his job at the zoo pays him to do!)