Even Pop Team Epic Anime's Series Director Struggles to Understand It
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Have you seen the first episode of Pop Team Epic? The show just premiered on Saturday, and Sentai Filmworks, Crunchyroll, and Funimation are all streaming the series. Love it or hate it, it seems to be the type of incomprehensible anime that people just have to see for themselves. While some fans in Japan are apparently failing to find the appropriate words to describe their feelings for the show, at least one anime director flat-out doesn't like it.
Animator Ikuo Geso (Hacka Doll the Animation director, Kill la Kill key animator) said on Twitter in response to a question sent via the Peing "question box" app, "Even calling it crap is like a compliment. All these works that make me depressed are increasing, and I'm at my wit's end." He then received another question attacking him for criticizing the show because it is essentially supposed to be "crap." Geso replied that they wish people would accept his dislike of the show from a production standpoint and let it go so everyone can move on.
Being open to all viewers' impressions of the anime may be the key to understanding it. Even the anime's own staff may not completely understand what Pop Team Epic really is. Jun Aoki, who is the series director and also in charge of series composition, said in a recently published magazine interview that he had not read the original manga before agreeing to work on it. After he did read it, he was left wondering what kind of anime it could become. Aoki said he initially thought the series was a "typical easy web manga," and he jokingly admitted that he regretted agreeing to become series director based on that impression. Aoki added that working on the series has been a challenge for him because he had mainly worked on program openings, commercials, and shorts previously.
Aoki said that "variety feeling" was a keyword of the anime at the start of its development. He noted that the manga's creator Bkub Okawa is supervising every episode of the anime down to the details and also offering ideas.
Pop Team Epic, a self-described "crappy" anime, is becoming infamous for its unique and inscrutable style. The surreal four-panel manga that inspired it centers around two 14-year-old girls, the short Popuko and the tall Pipimi. The story summary on the anime's website quotes William Shakespeare's Tweflth Night play, "There is no darkness but ignorance."