We’ve all done it (don’t you deny it!). It’s a gas for the master to try and make its beloved pet as stupid as he/she is by making the pet partake of the same vice, be it alcohol in a water bowl, smoke in the face, or lord knows what else. It’s our right as bored-out-of-our-mind, top-of-the-food-chain throne dwellers to make our trust-trained companions wonky with what they cannot comprehend, because the instinct’s almost been completely bred out via humanity’s own designs. The same goes for initiating the abstaining virgin into the diverse depravity that is the unknown. The insistence of initiation is not so much a “hey man, you gotta try this, because it’ll improve your life” as it is a “dude, don’t make me go down this rabbit hole alone.” In that vein, it’s nice to see that (anime-ted) animals are starting to take such cues from their betters in Polar Bear Café (Shirokuma Cafe).
In episode 6, “Strive for it! Wild Panda,” Panda explains to the usual crew at the café that he laments his lack of a wild side. Unfortunately, Panda cannot conjure the image of strong and wild. Polar Bear decides to help by inviting Panda out to a bar run by his friend, Grizzly. Polar Bear and Panda sit at the bar upstairs. Grizzly, as bartender, eventually warms up to the naive panda and decides to toughen him up a bit by serving him coffee ... strong coffee. This is what ensues:
Now given that the series has presented Panda thus far as living at home with his mother and just having gained his first job, I’d assume Panda’s age to be in the late teens ... at least a couple years below Japan's drinking age. So it's of no surprise that almost immediately upon innocently imbibing the slight-of-handed joe, Panda is struck with vertigo and starts to daydream of badassery in a motorcycle sidecar trip down Highway 66.
Getting a non-drinker to drink is always fun. Getting cute animals to drink can also be fun. Getting a pure-livered panda plastered is a great moment in drinking!
Every month in "Drunken Otaku," Ink tackles an anime, manga, or video game through the theme of alcohol. Look out for "Beer Googles" (reviews), "Great Drinkers" (character profiles), and "Great Moments in Drinking" (more or less). To read previous entries, click here.