When the ball rolls downhill, it just keeps going, apparently.

Earlier today, news broke that the entire Kemono Friends anime staff has been dismissed. Production on the show’s second season, as well as the previously confirmed “new screen project” will be restarted from scratch.

The project’s official website posted a notice on the matter (Apologies for the rough translation – MF):

Regarding “Kemono Friends”, we’ve already announced the creation of a new video project, but we’re deliberating whether to continue with the same staff that we had at the start, or present a new view under a new regime. It’s a situation that we haven’t decided upon yet.

Under the current circumstances, we’ve prioritized using the same format as the anime TV series that aired from January to March of this year,adjusted to meet the expectations of viewers. However, animation company Yaoyorozu shares aims to withdraw from production. Currently, we’re seeking to restart production from scratch.

Under the philosophy of “Animals First”, the “Kemono Friends” franchise has grown with games, manga, anime, and stage shows by the hands of all people involved. We’d like to grow this wide world by opening doors, and helping people who agree on the [brand’s] core philosophy. For that reason, as a project not belonging to anybody, we’ve repeatedly acted as a “Kemono Friend” for the animals.

With that said, Yaoyorozu Co., Ltd., who was in charge of producing the anime, made use of the franchise without sharing information, or reaching out to all relevant parties. As a multimedia project, we wanted to continue with production. We were allowed to make a proposal to normalize communications and information that we wanted to share in advance, from Yaoyorozu Co., Ltd. They couldn’t accept the condition, so they declined.

Regarding the “Kemono Friends” Multimedia Project, though it’s partially stagnant due to the circumstances we outlined above, the “Kemono Friends Project” will continue to protect the work of everybody who contributes, protect the fans, and continue to pursue activities to introduce the world to the animals. Regardless of the format, we will continue our efforts to resume reporting as soon as possible.

Thank you for your future support of various “Kemono Friends” projects.

The news comes just a day after Kemono Friends anime director TATSUKI announced that he was removed from the franchise, prompting outrage among the fan and creator communities.

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 première. 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.

Source: Otakomu Thanks to L.B. Bryant for the tip!