Mirai (Japanese: ミライ Hepburn: Mirai), often referred to as her occupation Park Guide or simply Guide-san, is a recurring human character in the Kemono Friends multimedia franchise. She has appeared in most media of the series to date and is one of the series' most recognizable faces. She is a Park Guide of Japari Park.
Mirai's bright blue eyes sit behind the rectangular frames of her high-tech glasses, which double as a scouter used for measuring Ceruleans' power levels. Her long, bright mint green hair is tied together with a faded pink bow. Atop her head sits Mirai's signature white sun hat, adorned with two feather accessories — one blue, and one red.
Ever-equipped for her job as a Park Guide, Mirai is usually seen in uniform, comprised of a white khaki jacket and matching shorts, with blue camouflage cuffs to both her sleeves and pant legs. She wears a scarf matching the camouflage pattern of the rest of her outfit as well, and a black undershirt that covers all of the skin from her elbows to her white gloves. Her uniform features a multitude of pockets, which her black-and-camouflage fanny pack only serves to further augment. Mirai wears black, knee-high socks and navy blue sneaker boots that are appropriate for extensive outdoor work.
Mirai is a cheerful, natural caretaker with a warm personality and an abundance of love for animals and Friends alike. These traits have remained consistent in all media in which she has appeared thus far, and she seems to have no trouble connecting with Friends and humans of all varieties of backgrounds. She is patient and forgiving, demonstrating compsure and maturity, although she is not without moments where she becomes flustered or stressed. She is also prone to gushing over cute animals and Friends, and this personality quirk is often played for comedic effect.
As a Park Guide, she is effective and competent, maintaining her cool during the many battles between Friends and Ceruleans during the original Kemono Friends mobile game. She provides detailed information on Friends and enemies alike, and even under pressure she puts the safety of Japari Park and its denizens above all else.
Role in the Plot
Several years before the beginning of Kemono Friends, a young Mirai met the slightly older Kako at a zoo, and the two girls quickly hit it off. They would develop a close relationship in the coming years. Although Mirai already had a long-standing love for animals, her new friend and mentor would teach her a great many things about them. It was because of this friendship that Mirai would dream of following in Kako's footsteps to work at Japari Park. At some point before the events of the manga, she would actualize this dream.
Kemono Friends: "Welcome to Japari Park!" (Manga)
As depicted in the manga, Mirai has become an established member of Japari Park's staff and serves as the boss of the protagonist, Nana. The manga focuses on many characters, so she is seen only sporadically through the story, although it appears her responsibilities include assigning substitutes in other staff members' absence, as well as directing physical aptitude examinations. During the second volume, she dreams of Japari Park as if it were an all-girls high school, although this segment of the story is merely in her imagination.
Kemono Friends (2015 Mobile Game)
Mirai accompanies the protagonist and their party through the game's adventure, providing all kinds of support to the player. She drives the Japari Bus, provides exposition and explanation of various Friends and in-game concepts, and gives detailed analyses of hostile Ceruleans using her high-tech glasses. Mirai was the one responsible for bringing the protagonist themselves to Japari Park, apparently at the request of Park's own founder, who believed them to have a special gift.
Note: Seemingly contradictory to her appearance in the manga, Mirai is a fairly new Park Guide during the events of the 2015 Kemono Friends game, although this detail may have been retconned at some point.
Kemono Friends (2017 Anime)
Although they do not learn her identity until much later in the story, Serval and Kaban first meet Mirai during their initial encounter with Lucky, who identifies the feather accessory in the latter's hat and mistakes her for its original owner. This triggers the robot to play back an old recording of Mirai's voice, although Kaban herself had just fallen asleep and did not hear it. Fortunately, the robot would join them on their journey to the library as a guide from there, Mirai's recordings in tow. These short snippets of audio, ranging from narrations of park attractions to detailed research notes to conversations, assist in laying the foundations for the anime's complex and mysterious worldbuilding from that point forth.
A recording from Mirai is next heard when exiting the Underground Labyrinth, where she announces the "opening" of the attraction, implying that she was present at the time of the giant maze's completion and public unveiling. It is at this point when Kaban hears her voice for the first time.
Mirai's voice is absent for the next several episodes, until the protagonists reach the hot springs of the Snowy Mountains Area, which prompts Lucky to play back a sudden lengthy recording. Unlike the two that came prior, this message concerns more urgent matters, as Mirai records her observations on the behavior of Ceruleans, particularly their penchant for stealing Sandstar. The Park Guide posits that they may be eating it and fears that, if a Friend is eaten by a Cerulean, she will be robbed of the forms and powers granted to her by Sandstar's properties. Mirai expresses her desire to protect them from danger and get to the bottom of this no matter what. At the end of her recording, another voice can be heard, asking Mirai if the hot spring she was making the recording from is the ocean. This question is strikingly similar to Serval, who had mistaken a gyser for the ocean earlier that day. Mirai denies this, and the recording ends, although this scene reveals her name to the protagonists.
She appears extensively throughout Kaban and Serval's stay at Lodge Campo, and is mistaken for a "ghost" as Lucky-san begins to project holograms showing her likeness for the first time. This misunderstanding becomes a mystery that the pair needs to unravel, with the help of the other residents of the lodge. Additionally, multiple recordings play as they traverse the building. Early in the episode, Mirai first introduces the lodge (which, notably, is just called "the lodge" rather than the name given to it by Campo Flicker) and expresses that, while it can't be used by guests due to the Cerulean outbreak, she and the rest of the staff are trying to deal with the problem so that the building as well as the rest of the park can be reopened soon. She remarks that the "Stop" button on Lucky-san's recording hardware was malfunctioning due to being exposed to rain, before signing off.
The following recording of Mirai's appears to have been made by accident, and Lucky-san plays it suddenly, scaring Kaban in the middle of the night as she investigates the mysterious monster haunting the lodge. It features a conversation between Mirai and the unidentified voice heard at the hot spring as the two discuss a potential evacuation of Japari Park. Mirai is decidedly unwilling to go that far, but the other voice assures her that, if she and her friends (probably the rest of the staff) evacuate, the Friends will be just fine. When Mirai realizes that Lucky-san had begun recording on its own, she remarks that she'll need to waterproof it later. The other voice apparently notices the robot and asks what it's used for, and Mirai explains that someday, it will be used as a Park Guide. An additional recording is played later into the investigation, with Mirai taking notes on the Sandstar, as a way to make the most the malfunctioning recorder. She notes that Friends are the product of Sandstar coming into contact with living things or their remains, while Ceruleans are the result of Sandstar contacting inorganic matter. Furthermore, Mirai notes, other research has hypothesized that additional types of Sandstar may exist. She ends her memo with that, and Kaban and Serval continue their investigation.
The following morning, the protagonists meet face to face with the faint hologram of Mirai at last. It scares them, and they flee at first, but upon gathering with the other residents of the lodge Kaban is able to deduce that she has been triggering the appearance of the "ghost", and becomes determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. She returns to the scene of the "crime" to confront the hologram, and Lucky-san responds by adjusting the focus so that her appearance can be viewed more clearly. A final recording plays, this time featuring a fully animated image of Mirai herself, where the Park Guide reports on the sad state of Japari Park. She describes a mighty Cerulean possessing regenerative properties that she and her companions have been unable to defeat, and regretfully informs her audience that if they're unable to finish it off within the next week, she'll be forced to evacuate the island. Suddenly, as Mirai is lamenting that she might need to leave Japari Park so soon, a Serval Friend appears in the recording, informs her that Caracal had spotted the big Cerulean by the mountain and encourages her to come and join the fight. This Serval is revealed to have been the unidentified voice present in previous memos. Mirai responds hopefully, claiming that if they can just defeat that Cerulean, the whole conflict will be resolved. Prior to ending the recording, the two describe how they'll defeat it with a "Pa-KAAAN!", a nod to Mirai's catchphrase from the original mobile game.
When Kaban and Serval enter the restricted area outside of the Sandstar Mountain, they find themselves caught up in the Cerulean Hunters' battle against the mighty black Cerulean. Although they are unfit to participate in the direct combat, they follow Lucky-san up the mountain path and investigate the situation on their own, reasoning that the large Cerulean on the mountain mentioned in the previous recording might be related to the one being targetted by the hunters. Reaching the peak, another message from Mirai plays. Like the previous, it features a full hologram to accompany her voice. Speaking with a grave tone, Mirai informs the viewers that their hypothesis that the black Cerulean possesses a property which allows it to absorb Sandstar from the mountain has been proven correct. As a result, she explains, the filter needed to be re-affixed using the "Four Gods" to give them the best fighting chance to eliminate it. Mirai also mentions that all of the Friends on the island were safely evacuated, shedding a positive, if bittersweet light on the fate of the Japari Park at the time the message was recorded. Elaborating further on the black Cerulean's properties, she explains that it continues to regenerate itself regardless of how much it is attacked, its movements follow the sun and it appears to dislike the ocean. Seeing that Caracal and Serval are ready to evacuate the area, she signs off, but only after delivering a final message: that the Four Gods are buried in the same place as the "valuable thing" she mentioned before. This information would prove invaluable in Kaban and Serval's gambit to defeat the black Cerulean.
At Kaban's party after the final battle, Raccoon explains that she had found Mirai's hat lying in the Savanna Area and was about to pick it up, but since it was hit directly by Sandstar as a result of the most recent eruption, a human form within it began to take shape and would soon become Kaban herself. Tsuchinoko theorizes that this is because of a reaction with hair inside the hat, which was indeed the case, meaning that Kaban is a human Friend formed by the interaction of Sandstar and a strand of Mirai's hair. This is further confirmed by her final recording, which plays when Kaban and Serval ride the amusement park's ferris wheel together. In the recording, Mirai states that she "just had to ride [the ferris wheel] one more time" and that, while she's sad that the park staff ultimately needed to evacuate the island, she's grateful for all the miracles she saw during her time there. Nevertheless, she expresses hope that she'll be back again someday, and bids her farewell to Lucky-san, whom she simply calls "Lucky". She promises it that she'll be back soon, at which point a strong gust of wind blows her signature sun hat off of her head, presumably reaching the Savanna Area at some point after her departure. The serval Friend calls out to her one last time, and Mirai's final recording ends, leaving Kaban to ponder the world outside of the Kyōshū Region.
Like all other humans who once inhabited Japari Park, Mirai's current whereabouts are a mystery, and the amount of time that has passed since the staff's evacuation of the Kyōshū Region is as-of-yet unknown.
Mirai and Kako met at the zoo when they were young. Although Mirai was already interested in animals, she learnt a great deal about them from Kako, who was slightly older than her. From here, the two girls developed a mentor and pupil relationship of sorts, and it has been stated that much of Mirai's motivation to become a Park Guide was because of that influence.
Although Kako herself has yet to comment on the matter (owing to her extremely limited number of appearances in canon), it would appear that Mirai thinks very highly of her, asserting that no one cares for Japari Park more than she.
Mirai was Nana's supervisor as a handler at Japari Park during the events of the manga. The two had an amicable relationship and seemed to work together fairly well. It is unknown if their relationship extended past the abrupt shut-down of Japari Park due to the Cerulean outbreak, but it should be noted that Nana is the younger cousin of Mirai's close friend and mentor, Kako.