Okay, so I really like this show, so here is the deal with Kemono Friends. But first, They’re not animals that turn into magical girls.
The story is as such: There is a funky, weird volcano thing (which may or may not be just technology) that, every time it erupts its magic pixie dust, new “friends” show up. “Friends” aren’t animals. The show very clearly makes this distinction through the dialogue a few episodes in. Rather, they are animals that have been given human-ish form and the Friends KNOW this. They remember BEING regular animals. They comment how much easier certain things are now that they are Friends.
Japari park is a Safari Park built for humans to be able to learn about and interact with animals in a SAFE way. They make that very clear in the beginning moments when Bag-chan (more on her in a bit) asks Serval-chan if she’s going to eat her and Serval very pointed says “lol, what? Nooooo. No one here is going to eat you. We’re all FRIENDS”.
Something BAD happened in the park and we don’t know what yet. WE can tell that Bag is a human, but she doesn’t know that. She doesn’t know anything about herself; not her name, what kind of animal she is, how she ended up there - nothing. She just wakes up in the Savannah and is a total blank slate personal history wise. But, she’s a human and she has skills that amaze the Friends of the park. She can read, she has human level endurance, and most importantly, she’s a thinker. She comes up with creative solutions for the many obstacles that arise in her and Serval’s journey to the Library, where they can find out what kind of animal she is and where her animal’s territory is (because, remember, this is a safari park so Serval is thinking about it in the terms of a safari park). They are joined by Boss, a little robotic critter that is acting as their tour guide to the library. But he only talks to Bag…
It’s very clearly a show meant to educate kids. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It’s cute, it’s fun, and the bumps before and after commercial breaks are very educational and use real experts from real zoos to talk about the animals. During the show, they make a point of highlighting the unique skills and habits of the animals the friends are based on. Jaguars can swim, Sand cats have protective fur under their paws, Eagle owls can fly silently, etc. And they do it in ways that integrate well into the story.
All the while, they keep up the mystery of Bag-chan and the humans, giving crumbs of details that send Bag and Serval off in new directions in search of the truth. Some Friends know more than others, some share what they know readily, some have a price, and some don’t share at all. Relics of humans litter the park, but all in a deep state of disrepair.
Is the CG bad? It’s definitely not great. They do have some tracking issues when it comes to movement of characters in relation to scenery and but if you can watch RBWY, you can watch this. It’s, so far, proven to be a good show and with self-consistent rules. It’s super cute and the characters are all pretty distinct.
Also, a Penguin idol group sings the opener and does the after-credits bit.
Should you watch it? That really depends on your own personal taste. If you like easy going shows, definitely. If you can’t stand mediocre CGI, then maybe not. But I say you should give it a handful of episodes. The characters will grow on you and so will the world. A solid B+ anime, IMO.