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Pop Team Epic

Entry updated 20 February 2023. Tagged: TV.

Japanese animated tv series (2018-2019). Original title Poputepipikku. Based on the online Manga by Bkub Okawa. Kamikaze Douga. Directed by Jun Aoki and Aoi Umeki. Written by Jun Aoki. No regular voice cast. Twelve 24-minute episodes plus two specials. Colour.

An Anime based on a four-panel webcomic whose protagonists (or perhaps antagonists) are two schoolgirls: orange-haired, short Popuko and blue-haired, tall Pipimi. Episode one begins as the first episode of a romantic Idol comedy called Hoshiiro Girldrop, complete with a suitable opening credits sequence, but the screen then tears open to reveal Popuko who declares "I don't think so!" Numerous sketches follow, usually satirizing (see Satire) or mocking pop culture media: many are very short non-sequitur snippets, some last a few minutes. Each episode ends with a "next week" preview of Hoshiiro Girldrop.

Pop Team Epic takes joy in absurdity (see Absurdist SF), often with Fantastika tropes, Alien Scientists kidnap Popuko, remarking "her true consciousness remains in Macbeth's miniature garden", but she is rescued by a ninja-like Pipimi, whilst hidden Supervillains claim this does not upset their plans: "there's no way a silly four paged manga can become a fully fledged anime." In a fantasyland, heroes summon supernatural help to fight the demon king but get a grumpy Popuko and Pipimi: "What's this crap, the animation isn't even completed yet." "It's like they put all their resources into episode one then they ran out of gas." ... cutting to the voice actors complaining to the producer about the script. Popuko becomes an idol star and is Cloned at an industrial level by her manager, Pipimi: the overwhelming numbers of Popukos collapse civilization (see Post-Holocaust). Popuko asks a colossal Pipimi how she got so big (see Great and Small): her answer is "science"; Robot and AI shogi (see Games) grand masters are confronted. There are nods to such works as Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) (see) and the film Tonari no Totoro (1988).

During the series Popuko and Pipimi are voiced by dozens of different people, male and female. Each episode has twelve minutes of material, which is immediately repeated with some variations and a different set of actors. Pop Team Epic resides belligerently at the "peculiar" end of funny (see Humour); it is unlikely that its creators were targeting any audience but themselves. Nonetheless, the longer sketches are often very good, the shorter a little more hit-or-miss. [SP]


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