There are a lot of comments I could make here, but I’ll just say that I hope TATSUKI lands on his feet.
Earlier today, Kemono Friends anime director TATSUKI announced that he’s no longer attached to the project. According to TATSUKI’s tweet, he received notification of his release from publisher Kadokawa. TATSUKI apologized to his followers for the news, and added that he’s also disappointed.
— たつき／irodori (@irodori7) September 25, 2017
Rough Translation: It was suddenly decided that I’m no longer attached to the Kemono Friends anime. Apparently, this is from Kadokawa’s notice. I’m sorry, and I’m also very disappointed.
The news quickly lit up the “AniTwitter” circles, pushing “Kemono Friends” to the top of the global trending charts. We’ve provided a few notable examples from the industry below:
— 天酒之瓢@ナイツマ８巻発売中 (@Amazake_Write) September 25, 2017
Rough Translation: Rather, [the decision] to go with anyone other than TATSUKI as director would have been made on the expectations that the sales that have grown so much will probably last. His successor will carry a heavy cross over his shoulder.
Hisago Amazake-no is the author of the Knight’s & Magic light novels.
— 山形ユキオ (@yukioyamagata1) September 25, 2017
Rough Translation: Good morning. Director Tatsuki announced on Twitter that he’s left the Kemono Friends anime. I think that you directed a truly unique view of the world, and that this is very disappointed. I feel that there are numerous circumstances, but I want to hope that Serval-chan and her bag continue to be happy.
Yukio Yamagata is a musician and voice actor, who’s performed theme songs for Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger and Baxinger.
Outside of social media, streams of the show on NicoNico were bombarded with angry comments lambasting the decision:
Kemono Friends began life as a smartphone game from publisher Nexon, which launched in March 2015. The game ended service on December 14, 2017, ahead of the anime’s January 10 premiere. In February, Nexon announced that, despite the anime’s popularity, the game wouldn’t return. A spokesperson softened the message later, stating that it’s “possible” for a revival of the game.
The Kemono Friends anime is based on said smartphone game. TATSUKI directed the show at Yaoyorozu, with Shigenori Tanabe (Danchi Tomoo) writing and overseeing the show’s scripts. Sgt. Frog creator Mine Yoshizaki is credited with the original character concept designs.
Crunchyroll streamed Kemono Friends as it aired in Japan. They describe the show as:
About The story takes place in Japari Park, an enormous integrated zoo built somewhere in this world. A mysterious substance found there, called “Sand Star,” causes the animals to turn into humanoid beings called “Animal Girls”! These new creatures spend every day peacefully with the zoo’s visitors… but after some time, a lost child turns up in the park. The child’s attempt to find the way home turns into a great adventure with the Animal Girls!
A Kemono Friends stage play is in the works, along with an unspecified “new screen project” that’s separate from the previously-released “Episode 12.1” special. A second season of the series was unveiled in July with the release of the show’s official guidebook.