Welcome to Youkoso Tobu Zoo!
An official collaboration has been announced between last season’s surprise cult hit anime Kemono Friends and Tobu Zoo, located in Saitama prefecture just north of Tokyo. The collaboration is scheduled to officially begin on April 22, and will run for two months until June 25. Guests at the park will be able to partake in a variety of Kemono Friends-themed events, and you can bet your Japari Buns that there will be some exclusive merchandise available as well!
As guests stroll through the park, they will be able to see the Animal Girl version of any animal that the park and the anime (or in the past, the mobile game) have in common. Plastic cut-out panels standing approximately 60 centimeters in height will be placed near the habitats of the below animals at the zoo.
It’s worth noting that even though the zoo does not currently house a serval cat nor a fennec fox, both of the characters will make frequent appearances throughout the zoo due to their prominent roles as the series’ main characters.
Guests will also be able to enjoy pre-recorded zoo announcements throughout the day by Ono Saki, the voice actress behind Arai-san (the common raccoon!) in the anime. I can see this going a long way towards adding to the immersive atmosphere that the park is trying to build, and is sure to please fans of the anime and visitors alike!
After you’ve made your long venture around the zoo, be sure to stop by the “Watoto” gift shop to pick up some exclusive pins, featuring pictures of the zoo’s animals beside their Animal Girl twins.
Finally, on three separate Saturdays during which the event is running, you can attend short educational presentations made by the “oneesans” and “oniisans” on the zoo staff, quite akin to the animal information clips seen between the commercial breaks in the anime. The full schedule is below.
Saturday April 22, Saturday May 13, Saturday June 10:
1.) Otters by Kudou oneesan, 1:00 pm
2.) Giraffes by Yamakami oneesan, 1:45 pm
3.) Lions by Kitahama oniisan, 2:30 pm
4.) Brown Bears by Itakura oniisan, 3:30 pm
5.) Beavers by Tomioka oniisan, 5:00 pm
Just to sweeten the deal, those who attend the final presentation on the beavers will also receive a badge depicting the zoo’s popular white tiger and her Animal Girl friend.
As someone who can’t claim to have ever been interested in taking a trip to the zoo, this kind of collaboration is just the kind of incentive that can get me to do things far removed from my usual realm of interest. Being that Kemono Friends is a children’s show that has found a surprisingly large and passionate cult following even among adults, I’m sure that Tobu Zoo can expect quite the uptick of guests throughout the course of this event.
Tobu Zoo: Official Website