Pop Team Epic is a twelve-episode anime adaptation of the webcomic and digital manga series written by Bkub Okawa.
The directors for the anime were Jun Aoki and Aoi Umeki, the producer was Kotaro Sudo and Jun Aoki is also credited for the writing. The studio that produced was Kamikaze Douga.
Pop Team Epic aired as part of the winter 2018 season of anime, and is available on both Crunchyroll and HIDIVE. I recommend watching the show on HIDIVE, as they go to the effort to translate on-screen text, as well as providing notes that explain references that would go over most English viewers’ heads.Pop Team Epic is a beast that almost defies explanation. It uses a lot of referential and fourth-wall breaking humour, so it certainly won’t be for everyone. The focus is on two girls, named Popuko and Pipimi.
Each episode is effectively a series of quick-fire gags. At least once an episode there is a longer segment, which is almost always a parody. I feel that these tend to be hit-and-miss. One episode will have me in stitches, whilst at other times I felt like the longer parody segment just dragged on a little too long.
Pop Team Epic has several recurring segments throughout. One of them is ‘Bobnemimimi’ (or ‘Bob Epic Team’ for Crunchyroll viewers), which has purposefully low production values. Actually, that particular segment provided one of my favourite gags of the entire season – the one with a viewer writing in complaining about limited frames of animation, for those curious. Another notable Bobnemimimi segment involves ‘Hellshake Yano’.
Another recurring segment is ‘Japan Mignon’, in which a French animator talks briefly about a short animation they’ve created before showing it. These segments generally poke fun at the French, and are all voiced fully in French as well.
To add to its weirdness factor, Pop Team Epic uses a variety of different animation techniques. Sure, you’ve got your more typical anime animation, but you can also expect to see stop-motion and live action parts as well.
Pop Team Epic is actually a series of shorts masquerading as twelve full-length episodes of anime. The first twelve minutes or so of an episode ends up being repeated a second time, with different voice actors and some changes that range from minor to quite distinct.
Not everything changes though – the Bobnemimimi segments remain the same. The Japon Mignon segments tend to lack subtitles the first time around, with them being added for the encore. Unless you are watching on HIDIVE, which gives subtitles for those segments both times around.
… huh? Oh, sorry, I was thinking about Hellshake Yano.
Pop Team Epic will appeal to those who like their humour surreal, and shows packed to the brim with references. It’s certainly an experience, though whether it is a good one will depend upon the viewer.