So, according to our previous discussions, we have thus far took brief glimpses into the good and bad sides of a kigurumi café.
On the one hand, it is a solid presentation concept that unfortunately (fortunately?) led to the kigurumi staff becoming the customers themselves.
At the other side, the idea was essentially fused with a maid café, but with the caveat of bringing some of the most prominent oddballs as the kigurumi staff.
Both did serve well to show the consistency of sticking to the animal themes that are already inherent in basic kigurumi designs. This is even more emphasized, when a specific animal theme somewhat suited the personality of the wearer.
But... have you ever wondered how crazier it would be to take that animal theme one step further into reality? And by real, we mean actual animals taking on the very persona of the kigurumi they are supposed to represent.
"Oh hey, back at your usual early visiting time again. Got fired at your new job already?"
"Nah, just had to get away from mum. She didn't want me slacking off even on a day off."
Our story starts from one lazy panda that went to the local Polar Bear Café. The trip itself was nothing special; he routinely went there almost every day so he is considered a patron at the place. Well actually, he was kicked out of his cozy bed, after refusing to acknowledge his failure in participating in morning Tai Chi, but whatever.
"You know, I've always wondered how you, a penguin, learned to like drinking macchiato."
"You probably should be asking how I manage to drink it in the correct, gradual way."
Today was just a little bit different, though, because his newly taken work in the zoo is well, unavailable. Zoo's closed on that particular day, so this was his day off. Anyway, at the café, he met with his usual buddies, the penguin and the llama—
"And then, the entire army came marching all against me!"
"Not the ant-feasting story again, David."
Oh, you're asking why animals here seem to be functionally similar to humans in this setting? This is the Polar Bear Café!
You're not allowed to ask questions like that A place considered as Higa Aloha's special paradise. So needless(?) to say, animals are socially similar to humans in this realm.
"Wow, I just realized how amazing Mr. Polar Bear is managing this place."
With that rational explanation out of the way, Mr. Panda walks up to the counter beside his buds, ordering his usual stuff. Both of them immediately notice that the café was way more crowded that usual, and pondered about how lucky Mr. Polar Bear is for having such a thriving business.
"Say, how about I start a café business too?"
"Huh. That's a pretty meta question for episode two I guess."
With a development straight out of Aesop's fables, Mr. Penguin and Mr. Panda tried imagining themselves as owners of their own cafés, with a bit of an impromptu redecoration on the side. Funny thing though, despite the Polar Bear Café itself not really showing any direct references to polar bears, the two had their respective images of their own cafés themed after pandas and penguins regardless.
This meant that, yes, kigurumi are indeed going to be inevitably involved in the staff uniform design process. So here, in the case of the "Panda Café", the staff members are all wearing panda kigurumi. Every. Single. One. This includes humans, of course, other anatomically incompatible animal buddies, and ironically, pandas themselves.
You saw that correctly. Pandas... wearing panda kigurumi.
Naturally, the same goes for the "Penguin Café" as well. Culturally though, and as Mr. Panda has remarked, Mr. Penguin's idea of a café belongs to a completely different type of restaurant. One that probably wouldn't do well with the typical menu lists (particualrly drinks) of your average café.
Still, the staff members are, of course, rocking their respective penguin kigurumi (using the same rules as the Panda Café). Though, this excludes our tenchou, who like I said, owns a culturally different restaurant altogether.
Oh yeah, and near the end of the discussion, their other friend, Mr. Llama, also had his own input about what a "Llama Café" would be. Optimally serving the target animal species aside, this imaginary café had the least amount of references to a possible llama kigurumi staff uniform.
Technically it's a bit of a stretch, but its the base form that (probably) counts.
"You have five seconds to revert all changes and drag all my customers back."
"... Do you want us to wear polar bear kigurumi instead?"
At the end of the day, though, all three cafés were simply an imaginary exercise for our shop regulars. Mr. Polar Bear, didn't really seem to mind their discussion, apart maybe from sternly requesting his patrons to revert whatever "redecorations" they made to the café when demonstrating their ideas.
"You know, I kind of wanted a dedicated section about our flower viewing here."
This is really quite notable though. With the raw idea of a kigurumi café being pushed this often in anime, it does seem surprising that no specific series or franchise ran away with it. I mean, certain specialty shops and restaurants do celebrate kigurumi-themed festivals in real life. But none at the scope of regularity that these anime are trying to ambitiously propose so far.
Would this be the last reference we would see about this? Not sure, but something tells me that this one was never meant to be the last at the time when the original Polar Bear Café was aired.
But man, I really would still have liked to see that potential polar bear kigurumi-based Polar Bear Café though...