So, American cartoons are a wild breed. You have your standard animation classics such as Cartoon Network shows of old, which were formulaic and wacky shows like The PowerPuff Girls and Dexter’s Laboratory. And then you have the sitcom cartoons that are meant for an older audience, like Family Guy and The Simpsons. So, how do the Japanese fare in the same genre with something like Pop Team Epic?
Pop Team Epic is not the most kid-friendly show out there. Like, no shade to the art style and everything, but it’s definitely not meant for children. The obscene amount of blurred middle fingers aside, the jokes are just a little too profane for it to be considered a show for the entire family to enjoy. However, it’s easy to see why people might be confused.
The art design is so simple and childish looking that people can confuse it with another harmless cartoon. And that means the show is just one massive troll. It’s more of a parody than an actual serious anime or anything. This is reflected in its stylistic choices, and that could lead to people thinking that maybe, kids can watch this absurd show.
However, that is not the case. While Pop Team Epic isn’t explicit in any way, it still isn’t a safe option for kids solely because of how mature some of its tropes can be. There is also a ton of profanity sprinkled in, even if it’s censored or blurred to play the joke up a bit more. But how does a country so conservative as Japan deal with a show like this? Let’s discuss it!
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Pop Team Epic: Not the First Of Its Kind?
Contrary to popular belief, western style Japanese animation is not unique. Pop Team Epic isn’t the first of its kind in Japan. Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt by Studio Gainax was launched a decade before Pop Team Epic with its profane premise and cartoonish design.
Sure, it was way, way more obscene than Pop Team Epic, with its near blasphemous depictions of angels and demons and constantly sexually charged innuendo. But the feel was roughly the same. It was a complete 180 degrees from what we were used to from an anime studio. Even if it wasn’t ecchi, it was very brazen and bold.
Pop Team Epic isn’t nearly as, well, vulgar, but it still holds that same essence of mature humor that you’d see in Adult Swim shows.
Is Poputepipikku Any Good?
That being said, Pop Team Epic is still a quirky little show. It’s fun in the same way a random sketch comedy is, and what it does, it does well.
It is known for its commentary on pop culture and how it’s a hybrid of absurd and realistic surrealism. This combination is what propelled it to be a cult favorite amongst local and international fans alike. I mean, Popuko and Pipimi are two very entertaining protagonists when you get down to it. The jokes here are both cynical but ridiculously funny and it’s hard to believe that this was just a four-panel webcomic in its origins.
This is a mature show, however, solely because the comedy it has is targeted at a TV-MA audience. That’s why it is rated accordingly as well. And clearly, it met that target, considering how successful the first season was.
Now, with its second season set to air this October 2022, I can’t wait to see what antics two high schoolers get themselves into!