This is one seriously deranged offering. This is a very binary show: either you like it a lot or you hate it a lot. You also need to understand how it works BEFORE you go in (Wait! How can I understand what I am seeing before I see it? That’s what I’m here for!) Greeting from “Pop Team Epic” (“Poputepipikku”).
We start off with our two 14-year-old school girls (left to right) Pipimi and Popuko. This quart and pint of milk (you’ll understand after you see the opening credits) have been friends forever and will be friends forever. We are put through the paces of their misadventures and they have a ton of them. You see, this is as close to anarchy as you will get in any anime series.
The first thing is that ANYONE can do the artwork, so you have things that look like their standard approach up there, but other styles look like they stuffed their pencils up their butt and drew it that way. There is also stop motion and incredibly realistic offerings. They aren’t afraid to do old school 8-bit video game art. The artwork is not important, but the tales are.
The second thing is that ANYONE can do the voices. It is not uncommon to have them speak in an obviously butch manner, while doing their strange and odd actions. You may get a woman doing the female voice; you may get a guy doing falsetto. This just adds to the confusion and misbalanced nature of the tales, which are blackout ‘comedy’. I bring that up in that the humor may not always come from the situation, but more the reaction to the situation.
The third thing is that ANYONE will get confused to how it is offered. Under normal circumstances, this would be a short-pull series, in that the episodes are about 12 minutes long. The wackiness happens when they REPEAT the show you just saw! Now, they have done different things from first to second, like completely replace the vocal cast or add a couple of scenes to the sketch, or take out a scene from the sketch or fling in something new altogether. You are not certain what you will be getting, so you are off-kilter the entire time.
Many people are not able to wrap their heads around this concept, and so walked away from it. I am going to tell you to stay the course, as you will be richly rewarded. This anime is not tethered to anything. It is not a rom-com; it is not a school-based show; it is not science fiction. I don’t even know WHAT it is, except that I had a marvelous time with it. It does come dubbed, but I prefer the Japanese approach, just because it is another layer of absurdity to something already off the hinges.
These ladies are also as rude as they get. They will flip off anyone and everyone. In fact, Popuko can get rather homicidal, kept in check by the ever-calming Pipimi. You do get some extended pieces, like when they make fun of potentially every Japanese Yakuza crime drama out there, but with their warped eye to things.
Adding to how crazy it is, there is a phony ‘real’ anime fronting the first episode and closing all of them. This IS the stupid rom-com, high school comedy “Hoshiiro Girldrop”, which tells the story of a boy who discovers that a sibling of his is a real pop star idol. By watching the previews for the next episode, you have ‘seen’ the entire series run, as you know how those shows unspool. This is the only dose of ‘normal’ you are going to be getting. Their satires can get really cruel and deservedly so.
The only reason I would not binge this show is that you need to catch your breath from one episode to the next.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 9 (All over the artistic palette)
Plot 1 (Not apparent; not needed)
Pacing 9 (I need a breather!)
Effectiveness 9 (Total anarchy)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (Don’t even fool yourself!)
Bingeability 0 (Don’t even fool yourself, again!)
Overall 9 (Sometimes, you gotta cut loose)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Fall in love again next week!