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With the evolution of the show, I do enjoy the bits that call back to the beginning a bit, such as we got in the previous episode that let us see Panda trying to find an even lazier career for himself. But while there are some that do the callbacks and don’t seem to grow too much, others grow more than others. Take for example Penguin in this episode as he invites Panda and Polar Bear to the penguin art exhibit where he’s showing off some of his works. And he does it while wearing the right kind of beret that gives him a big Tezuka feel that just makes me grin hugely.
Taking the pair through the exhibit is an exercise in torture for Penguin though, particularly since Panda is just more interested in Penguin himself and ignores much of the work on the walls. Even when he does finally get him to look at the artwork, he’s more interested in the walls themselves rather than the pieces in the frames. Some of Penguin’s stuff is great though as I really liked the whole color of the water bit, which lets the whole “blue period” gag be used. The exploration of art within the context of the show is fun, as is the way it goes into hobbies in general, from Panda to Polar Bear with some cute gags between them. I know I didn’t need to see Panda on a motorcycle while wearing leather chaps.
With the second half, we get some very, very adorable stuff as it brings Polar Bear and Grizzly back together, both in past and present. The present is simple stuff to be sure where it’s fun, but going to when they were very young and first met, such as talking about how they would be when they grow up, is hilarious since it’s pretty manly in its own way. The two have a long friendship so seeing these early bits when Polar Bear would come to visit him and Grizzly would be all flustered over it is fun. These blasts from the past, showing the formative nature of their friendship and why it endures to this day is great. You can see how Polar Bear would be a frustrating friend to have in some ways, but also why Grizzly values him so much. The two are just utterly adorable in this form, practically making you wish they had their own separate spinoff series.
Polar Bear Cafe has a pretty enjoyable episode here where it goes two different ways and hits all the right notes. The first half works really nicely in showing how frustrated Penguin can get in dealing with his friends when it comes to art, but also seeing that his girlfriends aren’t all that much different. The better part though is the second half as a tale is told at the cafe about how Polar Bear and Grizzly met when they were little and became friends. It’s a simplistic story, but it’s executed so well and hits so many good and heartwarming notes while still being amusing that you can’t help but to really enjoy it. It’s the softer and more emotional side of the series get in the right dose along the way that just reaffirms how good these characters are.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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