Kemono Friends is a Japanese mobile game published by Nexon for iOS and Android in 2015, which was later adapted into a CG animated anime series in early 2017. Despite the mobile game being shut down in late 2016, the series garnered popularity in Japan after the debut of the anime series, spawning a large fandom with a number of fan creations.
Kemono Friends first originated as an iOS and Android game, first published by Nexon in March 2015, before finally being shut down on December 14 2016 due to lack of popularity. To coincide with the launch of the original mobile game, a manga series based on the game was also released, first serialized in Kadokawa Shoten’s Shōnen Ace starting in May 2015, and later compiled into it’s first tankōbon volume and released on December 26, 2016. An CGI anime adaptation of the series, created by studio Yaoyorozu, with the first episode airing on January 10, 2017, and is simulcasted in the west by Crunchyroll.
The Kemono Friends anime series originally launched to middling reviews, criticising the poor CGI and childish nature, leading to poor immediate fan reaction to the series. However, while originally the show struggled to find solid fan reactions, popularity exploded following the release of episode 4 on January 31, 2017, much to the surprise of the wider anime community, including the show’s staff . An Anime News Network article discussing this uptick in popularity was also posted on February 24, 2017, under the title “Kemono Friends: This Season’s Sleeper Hit”.
Kemono Friends has gained a large online following on many sites, including on Tumblr, Reddit, 4chan’s /a/ (Anime and Manga) board, Twitter and My Anime List. There are numerous sites that provide episodic information about the series, such as Anime News Network. The Kemono Friends series has spawned a significant online fanbase since it’s creation, primarily in Japan, which has created much fanart and other assorted fan works. On the Japanese fanart site Pixiv, there are over 5,000 images tagged under “けものフレンズ”, as well as over 1,800 videos on the video sharing website Nico Video. As well as this, the first episode of the Kemono Friends anime currently holds over 1,000,000 views on Nico Video, as of February 24, 2017.
Welcome to Japari Park
“Welcome to Japari Park” refers to a series of Anime OP/ED parodies in reference to the first OP of the Kemono Friends anime series. The OP became a popular musical resource for MAD and parody video remixes on the Japanese video sharing service niconico Douga.