“Hold on~! My name is Higejii. I'm very starry-eyed for Sandstar. Japari Park is filled with so many animals and Friends! Speaking of animals, I'm ant-eat-cipating some lovely meetings, myself. Hululu tells me she can't come up with any puns, but I can teach you their secrets, don't you know?” —Higejii's introduction
Higejii is a Friend based on the mascot of Darwin ga Kita!, an educational Japanese children's show about animals which airs on NHK.
In the Source Material
Higejii-san in his original appearance.
Higejii-san is the mascot character of Darwin ga Kita! ~Ikimono Shin Densetsu~ (ダーウィンが来た! 〜生きもの新伝説〜, Darwin is here! ~The New Legend of Living Things~), an educational show which began airing on NHK in 2006. The show is notable for its appeal to both adults and children. A typical episode of Darwin ga Kita! resembles a more child-friendly National Geographic documentary, with Higejii-san interjecting every so often to make a pun, which is his trademark trait. Every episode ends with the Manul Cafe, which stars a Pallas's Cat.
"Darwin ga Kita!" airs in localized form on NHK World as "Darwin's Amazing Animals". The NHK World version of the show is fully in English, including an English narrator, partial subtitles for certain foreign languages spoken, and a dub voice actor for Higeji. Select episodes are available for on-demand viewing.
Higejii's name comes from a combination of "hige", a word that generally describes human facial hair (such as a beard and mustache), and "Jii-san", a way of referring to your grandfather or uncle in Japanese.
Higejii-san's voice made appearances during the animal introduction sequences for Kemono Friends 2. However, as these sequences are missing from Crunchyroll's simulcast, they are difficult for western audiences to find.