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Shirokuma Cafe (Polar Bear's Cafe) is a Slice of Life anime, premiering in the spring of 2012.

The show follows the daily exploits of a lazy, young panda, named Panda. Constantly told by his mother to get a job, he one day stumbles into the titular cafe, run by the enigmatic Shirokuma, a soft spoken polar bear. Joining them, are Shirokuma's friend, a sarcastic penguin named Penguin, various animals from the nearby zoo, and Shirokuma's sole employee, a human girl named Sasako.

Tropes featured in Shirokuma Cafe.

  • Actor Allusion: Apparently, Panda thinks that bad guys are cool. His voice actor can probably give him a pointer or two.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Penguin accidentally makes one to Panda while under the influence of alcohol, hallucinating him to be a female penguin he has a long-standing crush on.
  • Also Sprach Zarathustra: Penguin proudly announces his obtaining of a driver's license while this plays in the background, his emotions so intense that he floats and sparkles in time with the music.
  • Auto-Tune: The opening makes liberal use of the Cher effect.
  • Badass: Grizzly
  • Bad Guy Bar: Grizzly's Bar certainly has the airs of a Bad Guy Bar.
    • Bad Guys Play Pool: And there's a pool table there, with a lion and a tiger currently playing.
  • Beary Funny
  • Big Eater: Panda
  • Bland-Name Product: There is a whiskey menu on the wall in Grizzly's bar. It lists such fine brands as Macillin, Bollantones, Johnnie Runner, Black House, and All-Dipper
  • Blind Date: Panda sets Mr. Handa up on a group blind date, much to his protests. Hilarity Ensues when Panda, Penguin, and Polar Bear tag along.
  • Brick Joke: Penguin tries to take a picture of Polar Bear with his cell phone and gets distracted at the beginning of "Smartphones" and the episode "Driving" closes with him succeeding.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Though a certified, genuine tough guy, Grizzly has his moments of sweetness.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Poor Penguin.
    • Panda as well. One sip of an Irish Coffee knocks him on his ass.
  • Childhood Friends: Grizzly and Polar Bear have known each other since youth. Of course, this doesn't stop Grizzly from yelling at Polar Bear at every chance.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Panda is firmly in this territory. Overlaps with Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny and The Ditz when he starts zoning out during conversations or brings up a entirely different subject matter.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shirokuma, but only in the dry, wry, whimsical, airy sense. [1]
    • Troll: He also seems to like making contradictory statements to mess with everyone, especially Penguin. Though never without playfulness or affection.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Implied with Penguin, as he appears to be easily distracted during driving lessons and has failed his driver's test several times. Polar Bear attempts to teach him, but his advice is largely useless.
    • He does get his driver's license, but Polar Bear and Panda make him rather twitchy when he's driving
  • Dropped a Bridget On Him: Rin Rin. Panda was very disappointed. See also Loony Fan below.
  • Everything Is Better With Penguins
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: Averted.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Polar Bear. He tells a touching story about his reasons for opening the cafe, and then Sasako brings up that he had told her a completely different version of events. He then shrugs and says both versions work. Penguin thinks he's making it all up.
  • Fast-Forward Gag: During Panda's Imagine Spot about opening his own cafe.
  • Food Porn: Since the show takes place in a cafe, this is expected, especially with Polar Bear's desserts.
    • One instance subverts this when Sasako creates three parfaits in the image of Polar Bear, Panda, and Penguin as test samples for a future menu special. When two curious patrons offer to taste them, they demolish the desserts with such frightening enthusiasm that Polar Bear changes his mind and offers a lunch sampler special instead.
  • Gentle Giant: Shirokuma.[2]
  • Gilligan Cut: Played with. Shirokuma seems to enjoy Tempting Fate in order to invoke one. Sometimes it works, as in the case of Rin-Rin tracking down Panda's home.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Penguin criticizes Panda for only stocking things he likes in his hypothetical cafe. Then, when Penguin imagines what his own hypothetical cafe would look like, he does exactly the same thing.
  • Imagine Spot
  • Josei: Yes, this is a josei series.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans, Oh My!: Lampshaded when Polar Bear and Penguin go to the zoo and Polar Bear wants to...go see the resident Polar Bear diving into a pool. Further lampshaded when a sign outside the exhibit forbids polar bears from entering since it confuses the resident one.
    • Played with when the editor of a local food magazine is a shoebill. He doesn't speak at all, letting his writers speak for him, and acts more like a typical shoebill.
  • Loony Fan: Rin Rin, who is the friendly local (male) florist. He's a really big fan of pandas and practically flips out when he meets Panda's family.
  • Musical Nod: Panda (Jun Fukuyama) humming the show's ending theme, Bamboo Scramble (sung by Jun Fukuyama).
    • Penguin drunkenly sings along to the opening theme at a karaoke bar.
  • Only Sane Man: Sasako and Handa generally play this role when they're on screen.
  • Overly Long Gag: Polar Bear circles around the drive-through window of a local burger joint and freaks out the poor cashier four times before placing an order.
    • Also the sloth leaving the group to go to the convenience store and it cuts to the show bumpers three times before moving on.
  • Pandaing to the Audience: Panda's job at the zoo.
  • Pungeon Master: Polar Bear is a frequent practitioner of dajare, a Japanese form of humor that revolves around puns based on the pronounciation (rather than the reading) of words.
    • Lampshaded when Polar Bear is driving and he notices a bagel in his car. He proceeds to riff some puns, but then comments that it's not as fun because Penguin and Panda both fell asleep and didn't notice.
      • He even plays them with an Alligator threatening to eat Panda!
    • When Panda tries to do the same, nobody pays attention, and then it turns out he is inner-monologuing.
    • Subverted in "Penguin's Confession" when Polar Bears starts to make a pun, Penguin cuts him off and skedaddles out of the cafe. Two seconds later, he comes back in and Sasako fills in a pun for Polar Bear.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The first nasty character to appear is an alligator, in a Bad Guy Bar.
  • Running Gag: Panda's fear of his mother's vacuum cleaner.
  • Shaped Like Itself: "I think the act of acting naturally is 'acting natural'."
  • Share the Male Pain: A variation involving animals where Polar Bear, Penguin, and Panda wince in sympathetic pain as the two female customers dig into the parfaits based on them.
  • Shout-Out: To Revolutionary Girl Utena, of all things.
  • Squee: The ladies on the group blind date as well as the karaoke bar waitress, upon seeing Panda sitting on the floor of their karaoke room and pulling out bamboo to eat.
  • Species Surname: All the animals are simply referred to by what they are (Llama, Sloth, etc.).
  • Stunned Silence: When Panda finds out Rin-Rin(His secret fan) is the local male florist, he's rendered into a horrified silence.
  • Surprisingly Good English: The British-sounding explorer in Handa's explanation of Pandas.
  • Supreme Chef: Polar Bear, naturally. Sasako is also pretty talented with food as Polar Bear loves her pot stickers.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Panda is prone to blushing deeply through his pelt, from time to time the other animal characters do as well.
  • Token Human: Although there are plenty of humans in the setting, Sasako and Mr. Handa are the only important human characters as Sasako is the cafe's waitress and Mr. Handa is Panda's zookeeper.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: A staple of the show's humor.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Polar Bear will wear just about anything for the sake of his terrible puns.
    • Or for the sake of bumming free meals off his friends on pretend dates with them.
  • X Meets Y: Cheers with Funny Animals.


  1. This seems to be the sole reason he agreed to interview Panda.
  2. Though, once in a while, he'll forget about his claws and accidentally stick poor Penguin!
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