2,555 + days.
I’d count the minutes but there’s no way in hell I’m doing that. But yes, the moment is finally here. I, MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid aka Steely Chrome aka SleepyK the Concrete Dynamo and I just made up those last few nicknames but fuck it, I’m keeping them. Anyway, I have covered over 199 anime titles ever since debuting in 2011 and I like to say that I cover a wide range in titles that are either some well-known classic titles to the underappreciated ones that deserve much love and attention….oh, and there’s also the heep of bullshit I usually cover as well.
In those years, I have learned to improve on my writing, think more critically, explore more types and genres of anime even outside my usual box and even on titles on genres I may not generally like but ended up finding some I would call my favorites.
But now…..on this 200th review……the review where this is usually a review of something I either really love or hate (mainly love, tho)…..I have one question?
Let it be known that like everything I cover, I don’t know shit about the source material its based on and hearing the buzz on it and the fact it was streaming on almost EVERY SITE!!! I mean, you hear HiDive streaming it, then Funimation and then Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime, VRV (well, either way, it’s still going to be on VRV after Nov. 9th)…..Hell, I thought this was going to be on PornHub or WorldStar to a point.
And now we all ask the question…..
Popuko and Pipimi are a pair of foul mouthed girls ready to take on every pop culture reference ever made. Pop Team Epic follows the pair through a series of surreal skits and short stories full of internet, movie, video game, and self-referential based comedy.
Oh, and the first episode of this begins with Hoshiiro Girldrop, what’s supposed to be an animated series about a girl who is secretly an idol singer, complete with cold open and title sequence and then cut to Popuko and Pipimi on these various skits with the titular segment being the big highlight of the series with ideas like appearing on an unfinished fantasy anime to racing in the Grand Prix, detailing the one-man performance of one….HELLSHAKE YANO….to even about step-siblings (yet that’s still watchable than Citrus…).
And withing those big titular skits, you got things like your occasional musical performance like this……
And there’s also Bob Epic Team, where it’s basically Popuko and Pipimi but more crudely drawn and animated. Much similar in the vein of some [adult swim] shows like 12. oz Mouse. or Home Movies.
And there’s Japon Mignon, where it’s them but exploring things in the land of Paris. This segment usually begins with a prologue from segment director Thibault Tresca and the thing is Popuko and Pipimi are speaking French and then after the credits, you’ll get a next episode PV……of Hoshiiro Girldrop. Yes, you’ll get the sneak peek of next week’s episode of that particular show.
Oh and did I mention that all of that is just the first half?
That’s just the first half of each episode!! That’s Part A and Part B comes in as the rerun of the exact episode…..with some changes here and there to differentiate the episode. Like in episode 2, in the first part, the mage girl does an impression of “How You Doin’?” and it’s ass but in the 2nd part, it’s Fred Flintstone’s “Yabba Dabba Do!” line and Arnold’s”Hasta la Vista, Baby!” line. Oh and after the VAs (well, the Japanese seiyu in the live action part of that) leave after not being pleased with the script, you’ll see Popuko and Pipimi hiding in the couch but in the 2nd half, the ghost that said, “Did you get that?” appear under the couch as well but Popuko and Pipimi are inside his mouth (or hiding in there).
Now I’m just going to say this point blank.
I absolutely love this show and this has been my top anime of 2018. Yeah, spoiler but this is the one anime this year that I watched on Crunchyroll…..and HiDive….and Funimation for the dub…..and Toonami when it aired there and since I recorded on the DVR there, I went back to there again and again and again and…..yeah, this type of absurdist, random Adult Swim humor just hit me high on the humor scale for me there and things get weird as fuck on there and I mean, weird!
OK, maybe not as random as that but you get something out of this when watching Pop Team Epic…..I would also say that PTE does remind me some bits of Loiter Squad but if there was a musical part with Popuko, Pipimi and IceJJFish, then the shit will be wild as fuck!
Oh and not to mention that there is some damn good effort put into this!! And yes, the effort in getting some of these references right, putting some differences in latter part of the show to differentiate the segments and even on the titular Hellshake Yano episode where they got two guys doing the whole thing in live-action, storyboard mode and it was impressive on how they was handled and I really admired the work they put on that and the animation is very varied over here in its gag-based form from being CGI, professional-looking 2D animation, and idiosyncratic animation. Now Kamikaze Douga, most known for animating the openings for Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (for Phantom Blood and Stardust Crusaders) and Batman Ninja, are handling the animation production, mainly the 3D computer animation and Space Neko Company for the 2D animation as most of the titular story segments in the show. There is a myriad of different animators (aside from the previously mentioned Thibault Tresca) on the show, such as:
- Makoto Yamashita, in charge of the “POP TEAM 8bit” video game parody segments made with original pixel art animation; which he’s using as his final term project in a college art program
- AC-bu (AC部), creators and voice actors of the “Bob Epic Team” segments which are known for their…distinct and intentionally inconsistent off-model art style
- UchuPeople, a married couple who create the “POP TEAM DANCE” music videos starring Stop Motion felted puppets
- Kazuki Sekiguchi, director of the “Pop Team Cooking” Cooking Show parodies that make use of Line Boil
- Miyo Sato, who uses sand art and painting on glass as she did for Mob Psycho 100 to create the “Pop Team Epic Tales of Long Ago” segments
- Yuanyuan Hu and Asami Ike both produced segments featuring their unique art styles, and Gorilla Film made two different segments with drastically different styles
On the opening theme and man, I was digging this song from the get-go from this J-Pop, EDM vibe as it was in the opening and even better when they added the sfx in that one episode. The ending theme “Poppy Pappy Day” was a calm way of ending things as both sung by Popuko (Yui Makino/Kenji Akabane (ep 1-6), Hiromi Igarashi/Toshiki Masuda (ep 8-9, 11)) and Pipimi (Yui Watanabe/Shunsuke Takeuchi (ep 1-6), Rei Matsuzaki/Wataru Hatano (ep 8-9, 11)) and while sounding not too special, it works. Oh, but the 8bit remix and that version on episode 5 definitely works, too.
Oh, and the fake opening for Hoshiiro Girldrop is OK, too. It works in that idol type of show.
And of course, there is the English dub of this and you know that they had to get over 24 voice actors to portray Popuko and Pipimi and there’s too many to list on who plays who in which episode and they did stick to the script of this, so it’s no gag dub considering the show itself has lot of gags but the folks at Funimation do a fine job of that under the direction of Cris George and the ADR writing of Emily Neves and like the JPN version, they do the pairings of female VAs in one part and male VAs in the 2nd part although in the 1st ep, the female voices for the 2nd half are played by Justin Briner (aka Deku) and Colleen Clinkenbeard (aka Momo….and yes, I’m using their MHA names.) and I while I did instantly recognize Briner’s voice in Popuko, he was convincing as the “female” version of Popuko alongside Clinkenbeard. Ah, and I did enjoy Chris Sabat and Ian Sinclair’s portayal as them and they are also Bob Epic Team Popuko and Pipimi. I would list off all the voices of the two here but we would be here all day, so I’ll go by this:
Caitlin Glass’ Pipimi got me laughing in the Grand Prix episode and the “I’ve turned evil” skit. *adds in Jad Sexton’s Popuko’s friendship save*
Both Stephanie Sheh and Johnny Yong Bosch were wiling out at Popuko, especially Bosch.
Sarah Wiedenheft’s Popuko was very cute.
Barry Yandell’s Popuko reminds me of a kindly old man that instantly freaks out if you come at him, broseph.
Cherami Leigh and Monica Rial: MARILYN MONROE!!!!!!
Eric Vale: WAIT FOR ME, WAIT FOR ME!! HEY! WAIT! I SAID WAIT, DAMMIT! (OK, he didn’t added that last part but part of me wish he did.)
Also him and J. Michael Tatum: “And this is where it goes long……HA! That’s what she said.”
Jessica Calvello’s Pop Team Cooking as Pipimi (as well as her general self).
But, I did enjoy the dub and all the performers as Popuko and Pipimi on there.
FINAL VERDICT: Pop Team Epic is not only going to be my 2018 Anime of the Year but it’s definitely top-tier anime material for me. Again, everything about the show just appeals to me from the humor, the many animation styles that never seemed too samey, the effort of said animation and other motives they did with this, and as you can tell already past this point, a lot of replay value. I know some won’t love this like I do and that’s fine with me but this show definitely deserve its props. It’s a show that’s been on the brain since it came out and no doubt this is the anime that had people talking.
And you know what rating I’m giving it….
THE KING SEAL OF APPROVAL!
POP TEAM EPIC is available on Blu-ray via Funimation Entertainment. It is also streaming on Crunchyroll, FUNimation Now, HiDive, VRV, Amazon– almost damn near everywhere! Oh, and yes, it aired on Toonami and at the time of this review, it will play reruns at the 2:30 slot following One Punch Man’s rerun run ending. Oh, and there’s an April Fools special coming 2019….but it could be a full Hoshiiro Girldrop episode but who knows?
I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid and take this cutlet bowl!
I SAID TAKE THE CUTLET!!!
POP TEAM EPIC – animated by KAMIKAZE DOUGA / licensed by FUNIMATION ENTERTAINMENT