I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Takahiro Sakurai/Jun Fukuyama/Hiroshi Kamiya/Aya Endo/Kana Hanazawa -- Shirokuma Cafe (しろくまカフェ)

I've just about finished my second round of watching the heartful and humourous "Shirokuma Cafe" (Polar Bear Cafe), and it's become quite a classic in my eyes with seiyuu apparently playing zany characters against type, Shirokuma's running gag of punning everyone to distraction, and the multiple ending theme songs sung by just about the entire cast.

Over the past few years since the ending of the series, though, I've seen one song on YouTube also sung by each voice actor in character that never popped up on the series at all. Given the simple and appropriate title of "Shirokuma Cafe", it's a light and funky tune written and composed by the lady behind all those ending themes, Saki(紗希),  that could have been a great promotion jingle for the actual coffeehouse itself if Shirokuma had ever decided to advertise beyond the pages of a magazine. That one line of "...happuru, pippuru, poppu na apple pie!"(はっぷる、ぴっぷる、ぽっぷなアップルパイ!) should have gotten Saki an extra bonus in her paycheque.

Each of the seiyuu give their own personality quirks to the song. Takahiro Sakurai(櫻井孝宏)as the quietly droll (and perhaps insane) Shirokuma happily trolls his listeners with his way-over-the-top delivery. Methinks Shirokuma may have been drinking something other than coffee under the counter before he hit the mike. I'm sure it took the edge off.

Then, there is Jun Fukuyama(福山潤)as cute Panda. Panda's version apparently had the cutey go Jim Nabors on me and go deep in the voice. Frankly, I think he sings like Jun Fukuyama.

Hiroshi Kamiya(神谷浩史)as Penguin isn't quite as nuts as Shirokuma but he also has his own snappy take on "Shirokuma Cafe". He sounds quite happy, too, since aside from his dream of being a rakugo comedian, he has also wanted to be the finest karaoke singer in town. I've been reading some surprised/delighted responses on YouTube for Kamiya's rendition since apparently the seiyuu is usually known for taking far more badass roles.

Aya Endo's(遠藤綾)Sasako sings her "Shirokuma Cafe" much like how she is in the cafe: straight, sweet and adorable. There are no wackadoodle sidesteps in her performance.

If I included every character's rendition of the song, this article would probably ring alarms in the Blogger hierarchy. And yet, I feel compelled to put in Mei Mei's supremely cheerful take to wrap things up here. I'm not sure if Kana Hanazawa's(花澤香菜)sister panda became the breakout character of the series but her orgasmic excitement at any thought concerning her love of Handa-san the zookeeper has most likely left a permanent impression in the fans' minds....and a ringing in the ears. No coffee for her!

It's a bit of a pity that "Shirokuma Cafe" the song didn't make it into "Shirokuma Cafe" the show, but hopefully there is an album out there which has the various seiyuus' versions.

1 comment:

  1. Hi J-Canuck.

    Overall, this is one cool tune. Listening to all the versions, here's what I think: Mei Mei freaking out and going absolutely nuts over Handa in her version is funny, but not too much a fan of her delivery. Sasada's sounds the most normal. For Penguin's, as I listened to Hiroshi Kamiya's squeaking and happy-go-lucky singing, I couldn't get the thought out of my head that this is the same guy who voiced the mild and soft-spoken Natsume in "Natsume Yuujincho". And Panda does sing like Jun Fukuyama. :)

    As for Shirokuma's version, it's my favourite not just because he's my favourite character from the series, but also because I can imagine the bear's eyes opening big and wide with dilated pupils (a sort of creepy sign that this docile-looking fella is up to/suggesting/thinking of something crazy) as he sings some parts of the song. I also find that this hippity-hop song fits him best as he had stint as a rapper, MC469MA.


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