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Puni Puni Poemy

Entry updated 28 March 2022. Tagged: TV.

Japanese original video animation series (2001); original title Puni Puni ☆ Poemii. J.C.Staff. Directed by Shinichi Watanabe. Written by Yōsuke Kuroda. Voice cast includes Yuka Imai, Ryu Itou and Yumiko Kobayashi. Two 30-minute episodes. Colour.

After her parents and Robot dog are crucified by an Alien with odd genitals, schoolgirl Poemi Watanabe (Kobayashi) moves in with her friend Futaba Aasu (Imai) and her six sisters, known as the Defenders of Earth. The city is then assaulted by a giant Mecha whom the Defenders are unable to stop, their powers being largely pointless: fortunately a talking fish teaches Poemi to become the magical girl Puni Puni Poemy and she defeats the attacker. Poemy now becomes a vigilante, punishing petty misdemeanours (such as throwing empty drinks cans into other people's bicycle baskets) and carelessly setting off a nuclear bomb. Meanwhile Poemi's crush, schoolboy K (Itou), previously unaware he was a tentacled alien, on learning he's destined to conquer Earth (see Invasion), captures and torments the Defenders: but Poemi and Futuba defeat him by merging their powers. K's assistants are now revealed to be Poemi's parents in disguise, having been saved by her mother's acupuncture skills.

This is a frenetic Parody of magical girl Clichés: the Aasu sisters are Anime cute girl stereotypes, subject to much appropriately inappropriate Fan Service, with the show displaying an unrelenting commitment to satirizing this trope. Futaba is of course in love with Poemi; Poemi herself is a typically hyperactive genki girl character, but outdoes this as Poemy, who speaks and moves as if on fast-forward. There are many, many non-sequiturs and the fourth wall is reduced to rubble: Poemi repeatedly refers to herself as Kobayashi, her voice actress. This is non-stop Absurdist SF: the battle between the alien and Poemi's father escalates into a synchronized swimming duel, during which her mother bewails "an omission on the tax return".

A spin-off of the Television series Excel Saga, also a Satire of anime, Puni Puni Poemy references many magical girl shows, including Cardcaptor Sakura (1998-2000), Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997-1999), Sailor Moon, Majokko Tickle (1978-1979), Majokko Megu-chan (1974-1975) and the first animated magical girl, Mahoutsukai Sally (1966-1968; 1989-1991; vt Sally the Witch); there are also nods to Space Runaway Ideon (1980-1981), a Space Opera mecha series; Mahoromatic (2001), about a prudish ex-military Android maid, and Dragon Ball. The Death Star from Star Wars also makes an appearance. Sending up the magical girl genre by exaggerating its cliches is a challenging ambition, given their inherent eccentricities, but Puni Puni Poemy generally succeeds; though with a season's worth of random events condensed into two episodes, the viewer is left punch-drunk by the close. [SP]


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