The Kemono Friends: Welcome to Japari Park! manga began serialisation in Kadokawa Shoten’s Shōnen Ace magazine from May 2015. Two tankōbon volumes were released, with both being released in English as one single book by Yen Press.
Nana has finally landed her dream job: working at Japari Park, home to adorable animal girls who walk and talk just like humans! Can Nana join them on the wild side and befriend this kooky menagarie?
Kemono Friends: Welcome to Japari Park! is set well before the events of the Kemono Friends anime, back when Japari Park was actively operating. Lead character Nana is a human, who works as a caretaker of the Friends who live in Japari Park.
Whilst she does interact with a variety of Friends throughout the manga, the most prominent ones are Serval (of course) and Ezo Red Fox. Caracal also gets recurring appearances.
For those who have seen the anime before reading the manga, there will also be a few other familiar faces cropping up from time to time.
The manga is pretty much just the day-to-day life of Nana and the Friends of Japari Park; no quests for identity or lost homes going on here. In essence, Kemono Friends: Welcome to Japari Park! is pretty much just cute girls doing cute things.
Though saying that, anybody who is aware of Japari Park’s ultimate fate might find this read somewhat bittersweet. The Japari Park caretakers and Friends are all just having fun, blissfully unaware of wait awaits in the future.
Kemono Friends: Welcome to Japari Park! gives us some pretty fun interactions and relationships between various characters. Most notably is Nana and Ezo Red Fox; whilst Ezo Red Fox isn’t exactly Nana’s biggest fan at first, they develop a bond throughout the course of the manga.
Margay makes a couple of appearances in the manga, and her raison d’être is pretty much to ship girls together – Nana and Ezo Red Fox being on particular example she quite likes. Safe to say, Margay is a character I like quite a bit.
Actually, all the characters are fun in their own various ways. Some are more eccentric than others, but they all leave their marks in various ways. Ask me to pick out my favourite, and I’d have to go with Serval – though I suspect the anime has an influence on my choice.
To wrap things up, Kemono Friends: Welcome to Japari Park! is a fun read, for fans of both Kemono Friends and cute girls doing cute things.