Savanna Area is the first episode of the Kemono Friends anime. It premiered on January 11th 2017 and kicked off the twelve episodes that make up the series' original season.
The episode was officially released in English on Crunchyroll. It can be viewed in SD quality for free and in HD quality through a Crunchyroll premium membership.
In the savanna area of Japari Park, Serval the Serval Cat awakes at the noise of someone walking through the grass. She leaps down to find a nameless girl, unsure of who she is and confused about how she came here.
Serval suggests that the girl should go to the Japari Library, and says she'll take her part of the way. Since the girl doesn't have a name, Serval names her Kaban (Japanese for bag) after the backpack she carries.
During their journey through the savanna, Kaban is attacked by a small blue Cerulean, after she lowered her guard thinking it was a Friend. Serval shattered its stone with her claws and explains to Kaban the dangers of Cerulean.
While stopping at the water hole to drink, Hippopotamus appears and warns the pair about a giant blue Cerulean by the gate linking the savanna area to the jungle. She also tells Kaban that it's survival of the fittest in Japari Park and that she must be able to fend for herself.
They reach the sign pointing towards the location of the gate, which Serval mentions being a known landmark. Kaban spots a small container carrying maps of the island and picks one up. Serval is impressed by Kaban finding the map, as she had never seen such a thing before.
After Serval hears the scream of a Friend, her and Kaban rush to check what's happening. They find the Cerulean that Hippopotamus had mentioned and think it might have consumed a Friend. Serval rushes to the rescue, but can't find its stone. Kaban realizes that the stone is on the back of the Cerulean and that they need to have it turn around.
Kaban folds a paper airplane out of the map for the island and throws it to get the Cerulean's attention. It works and the stone is now within reach. However, the Cerulean attacks Kaban who is saved at the last second by Hippopotamus who had followed them from the water hole.
After Serval destroys the Cerulean's stone, Hippopotamus says that she won't be there to help Kaban again but gives her praise for figuring out a way to help Serval. After she leaves and the sun starts to set, Kaban and Serval are ready to say good bye as Kaban heads to the next area.
Serval tells Kaban that the Friends in the jungle area can help guide her way through and that she should stop by the savanna area again when she knows what kind of Friend she is. She also requests that the next time they meet she should call her "Serval-chan" and drop formalities. Kaban agrees and they part ways.
Though she's frightened, Kaban steels herself and enters the jungle. She doesn't get far before Serval surprises her yet again, announcing that she's decided to follow along further. Kaban decides that she needs to rest, so they stop for a bit. Serval explains that she's nocturnal, so she's got a lot of energy.
Lucky Beast comes out of the bushes and meets the two, surprising Serval by revealing that they can talk. They greet Kaban and the main portion of the episode closes on Serval's startled reaction. Following the opening credits sequence, used as an ending sequence in this episode, we get an additional scene starring Common Raccoon and Fennec.
Raccoon is sniffing out the tracks of Kaban and Serval in the savanna area, talking about how they must find the two, otherwise the park will be in great danger. Fennec agrees to follow Raccoon, seeming rather amused by the situation, as the post-credits sequence ends.
In order of appearance.
- Serval (Second Generation)
- Zebra (cameo)
- Thomson's Gazelle (cameo)
- Lucky Beast
- Common Raccoon
- The Savanna Area pilot episode have been viewed over 5,502,882 times on the Japanese video service Nico Nico Douga. It's the highest viewed pilot episode for any anime ever on the service, surpassing the previous record holders Attack on Titan and School-Live! by a large margin.
- The Friend screaming from being attacked by the giant blue Cerulean is never shown in the episode and their fate or identity is not revealed until the season finale, Amusement Park.
- When Serval is chasing Kaban, the mountain range in the background just stops in mid-air.
- In the same sequence, Kaban's arms are pulled to the wrong side of her body, causing her model to distort.
- After the chase, when Serval is identifying what kind of Friends Kaban is, Serval said that "a bird Friends would have wings here" whilst checking Kaban's back despite all bird Friends having their wings on their head.
- When Kaban is climbing the tree, the bag is not on her back. However, after she finishes climbing, the bag suddenly appears on her back.