Japari Park (Japanese: ジャパリパーク Hepburn: Japari Pāku) is a massive, open zoo constructed on an archipelago resembling real life Japan that is home to the Friends. It is the central, recurring setting of all Kemono Friends media.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Regions
The meaning of the word "Japari" is also uncertain. One popular theory suggests that it is a portmanteau of "Japan" and "Safari", owing to its functionality as a massive zoo and its uncanny resemblance to the island nation of Japan. Much of its known culture (as depicted in the manga) is distinctively Japanese as well, which seems to further substantiate this theory.
Little is known about the history of the location prior to the discovery of Friends. Earlier settlement on the islands that comprise it, as well as their international sovereignty, is a mystery.
At an undetermined point in modern human history, the archipelago was selected for the construction of a massive, open zoo where tourists from around the globe could see a great variety of animals in their natural habitats. It was an ambitious undertaking, and qualified scientists, such as Professor Kako, were invited to participate in bringing it to fruition. The zoo would be known as "Japari Park".
Discovery of "Animal Girls"
The Park's development, however, would take a turn for the unexpected with the observation of a never-before-seen phenomenon within the zoo. Contrary to all known biological studies, the animals which resided on the island were reported as taking the forms of human girls. These mysterious lifeforms, which researches dubbed "Animal Girls", were seemingly capable of all things human: they possessed the ability to speak, a capacity for higher thinking and advanced motor skills befitting of their new bodies. Additionally, they retained abilities and characteristics remniscent of their original forms, often to the point of granting them superhuman strength and agility. The scientists and staff members responsible for the development of Japari Park, baffled by this startlng discovery, endeavored to keep their existence a secret from the outside world in fear that the revelation may engender panic and chaos within the general public.
Welcome to Japari Park
No information exists which documents the time frame between this monumentous discovery and the official opening of Japari Park, but the project would nevertheless reach completion. Infrastructure and buildings to accomodate human visitors were constructed throughout the island chain, and the zoo would be opened to tourists from around the globe. However, contrary to its founders' original intent, its main attraction would be its Animal Girls, now known as "Friends", who lived amongst their human handlers rather than in cages or enclosures. Behind the scenes, research of these mysterious girls and their origins would remain ongoing.
Open to the public and fully commercialized, Japari Park rapidly became a bustling tourist destination, in addition to developing its own culture and permanent residents. Records of the early Park suggest that Japanese culture had a pronounced impact, particularly on its customs and holidays, although whether the zoo was owned by the Japanese government or had any official affiliation with the country is unknown. The human staff worked tirelessly to educate Friends and assist them in integrating into society, a highly successful gesture which enabled the two species to live in peaceful coexistence. Many Friends dwelled in houses, attended schools and immersed themselves in human culture, doing everything from eating meat buns to reading manga.
The Cerulean Invasion
However, these carefree days would not last forever. Japari Park would find itself beseiged by a hostile race of mysterious aliens known as the Cerulean, led by the monstrous Cerulean Queen. Due to the danger posed by the monsters' vicious, malevolent nature and penchant for stealing Sparkle, humanity evacuated the islands, and much of the zoo's staff followed suit. The Friends, who called Japari Park home, were left to fend for themselves. During this period, danger overran the once-peaceful place. Many Friends kept to their own devices and attempted to live their daily lives in spite of the Cerulean threat, but the change that had taken place was clear as day. Impending danger and the absence of their human caretakers would quickly paint a very different picture of the Japari Park that they knew.
With the help of the Park Guide Mirai and a mysterious protagonist suffering from amnesia, the Friends would gain the upper hand against the Cerulean and successfully expel them from their island. This victory would enable Japari Park to reopen and rebuild, and a new director was appointed for the massive zoo. The details of its grand reopening are uncertain, as is the duration of time that it stayed open. What is known, however, is that Japari Park's trouble with Ceruleans were far from over.
An additional Cerulean outbreak would occur not long after, to the dismay of Mirai and her Friend companions. Tireless effort was made to combat it, but at least on the island region of Kyōshū, the challenge would prove too difficult. The discovery of a new type of Sandstar, known as "Sandstar Rō", in conjunct with a unfamiliar type of Cerulean which absorbed it as a regenerative mechanism, pit the Friends and their human companions against a seemingly invincible enemy. Defeated, they were forced to abandon the Kyōshū Region entirely. Fortunately, the Friends living there were safely evacuated along with the park staff. The whereabouts of both the staff and Friends involved in this incident are unknown.
While the status of the other eight regions of Japari Park is undefined, the Kyōshū Region in its present state is well documented. Significant time has passed since humans inhabited the island, and much of their technology, buildings and infrastructure has fallen into disrepair. The words on signs meant for park visitors have all but rusted away, bridges have collapsed and attractions are no longer functional. Remaining functional technology is operated thanks to the Lucky Beasts which remained in Kyōshū even after its evacuation. The robots peform a multitude of maintenance duties, including the all-important production and distribution of Japari Buns, which are essential to Friends' diets.
Despite the apparent evacuation of those who fought alongside Mirai, new generations have nevertheless been born on the island in the time since its abandonment. These Friends, in stark contrast with their counterparts who lived amongst humanity and enjoyed the luxuries of their modern culture, lead simple lives in the ruined Kyōshū. Cerulean attacks are not uncommon, so the Friends living there have designated hunters for their protection and follow the guidance of their village chiefs, Professor Konoha and Assistant Mimi-chan. Only a handful of those on the island knew of humanity prior to the birth of Kaban, a human Friend, and access to the technology they left behind as well as their ingenuities (including such simple concepts as the ability to remove one's clothes) is limited to what can be learnt from books in Japari Library.
It is not to say, however, that the Friends of delapidated Kyōshū are unhappy. Most are able to enjoy an innocent and simple existence among their fellow Animal Girls. Many have found jobs to perform in their basic society, taking advantage of their natural capabilities and interests. Conflicts occasionally arise, but the Friends are peace-loving and gentle, and even in tests of might they seem unwilling to hurt one another. It is unknown for how long they have existed in this state without human contact, but it seems that even when left to their own devices, Friends can live in harmony, at least with the aid of Lucky Beasts.
The fate of the other eight regions of Japari Park, including the all-important Park Central, is uncertain. Kaban and Serval were last seen en route to the Shikoku Region, however, so further information may be revealed in future media.
Japari Park is divided into nine distinctive regions, each with an equivalent area in real world Japan. Some regions border one another, while others take up the entirety of smaller islands and are separated from their neighbors by sea. Nevertheless, all nine comprise the full map of Japari Park.
The Kyōshū Region, equivalent to real world Kyūshū, is featured as the first location visited by the player in the original Kemono Friends mobile game, serving as the setting of both the tutorial and Chapter 1. In this story, it was a temperate grassland home to several significant Friends, including Serval and Caracal.
Perhaps its most significant appearance, however, was as the setting of 2017 anime. The human Friend Kaban and her companion Serval embarked on a long journey which took them all across Kyōshū. They befriended many of its denizens along the way, and solved problems which only served to improve the quality of life for those who live there. It is through this adventure that we have been able to learn intimately about Kyōshū and its current state.
It is also worthwhile to note that, while the climate of Kyōshū in the original game was consistently that of a prairie, the presence of Sandstar has led to the formation of several distinct climate biomes by this point in time. These ecological changes were observed early enough for signs to be erected in the various "areas", and Lucky Beasts employed as robotic Park Guides were programmed to explain each biome to human visitors. Whether these changes were observed in the rest of Japari Park is unknown.
One striking feature of the region, only seen in the anime, is the presence of the Sandstar Mountain. It is a large volcano settled in the center of Kyōshū, from which Sandstar erupts, facilitating the birth of both new Friends and Ceruleans. Kyōshū has seen numerous smaller eruptions, but only there have only been three major eruptions in recorded history -- the third of which would serve as the catalyst to the events of the anime, as it resulted in the birth of Kaban. This mountain is outfitted with a filter built during the time when humans inhabited the region, which can limit the flow of Sandstar Rō from its volcanic crater when activated using stone tablets named after the Four Gods. Due to the presence of more dangerous Ceruleans, the Sandstar Mountain and its surrounding area are off-limits to regular Friends, who must obtain approval from the island's chief Professor Konoha in order to visit it.
The An'in Region is the second location visited by the player in the original Kemono Friends mobile game. It is the setting of Chapter 2, and was characterized as a heavily forested area. It is based on real-life Chūgoku, also known as San'in.
The Sankai Region is the third location visited by the player in the original game. It was shown to be a desert region dotted with oases, featured as the setting of Chapter 3. It is based on real-life Kansai, home to Ōsaka and takoyaki.
The Nakabe Region is the fourth location visited by the player in the original game. It was depicted as a waterfront region, which fortunately the Japari Bus was able to traverse due to its advanced capabilities. It is based on real-life Chūbu.
The Hokkai Region is the fifth location visited by the player in the original game. In the game story, it was a tundra covered in fields of snow where Friends favoring cold weather reside, but it was also home to hot springs. According to Arctic Fox, there is a location in Hokkai called Tsubekuri Snowfield, one of the few places where you can see the aurora.
The Hōtoku Region is the sixth location visited by the player in the original game. Owing to its drastic altitude change from the surrounding regions and its sky-high mountains, it was described as a "Sea of Clouds" by some, and "Bird Land" by the multitude of bird Friends who lived there. It is based on real-life Tōhoku.
The Gokoku Region is the seventh location visited by the player in the original game. Like neighboring Kyōshū, it is an island region separate from the mainland of Japari Park. Gokoku, as it appeared in the game, was a temperate island featuring both mountains and beaches, and various kinds of Friends inhabited it. It is based on real-life Shikoku.
The anime's final scene features Kaban and Serval, riding the newly outfitted Japari Bus, as they travel from their native Kyōshū Region to the Gokoku Region, lying just over the water. It is well within the realm of possibility that future animated projects will give us a look at the present status of Gokoku and its inhabitants.
The Riukiu Region is the eighth location visited by the player in the original game. It was a tropical beach with white sands in its game appearance, and it is situated in the southernmost part of Japari Park. It is based on real-life Ryukyu.
Riukiu is often associated with the Shisas, a pair of UMA Friends based on the Ryukyuan guardian dogs of the same name. It was also featured in the manga, which depicted the region as a resort area heavily resembling Okinawan culture, from its lifestyle down to its language.