The Fall 2022 Preview Guide
Pop Team Epic Season 2
How would you rate episode 1 of
Pop Team Epic (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.2
What is this?
Crude, rude, and a little…cute? Get ready for the larger-than-life attitude of Popuko and Pipimi, the small and tall stars of Pop Team Epic! Based off the bizarre four-panel webcomic by Bukubu Ōkawa comes a comedy that'll throw you off with its out-there jokes and intense absurdity. You think you're ready for these girls? Think again, F#%**er!
How was the first episode?
Rating: The king, the corn, are born to fall, and all must die in sacrifice underneath the harvest moon.
Back in 2018, when God died, people weren't entirely sure what to expect from Pop Team Epic, and everyone was pretty taken aback when it first launched. While similar levels of semi-random shitpost humor had appeared on formats like Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, a production like this had never really been attempted in mainstream anime. But now it's 2022 – the Oak King has long since replaced the late lord Jehovah on the sun throne, and longform, high-effort shitposting is a staple of internet culture. So the question coming into this sequel season was obvious – has the world caught up to Pop Team Epic, or are these muffin-faced garden gnomes still capable of raising the middle finger to the God Emperor and burning the church of light to the ground?
As of this episode, it's hard to say. Now that PTE is a known quantity, it's harder to really be surprised when I've had four years and an entire remixed version of the first season to prep us for the random and irreverent asides that make up this show's humor. There's still some funny moments and classic gags interspersed, but the novelty has worn off, and if we're using old battle plans then we'll never break the fae's line in time to sacrifice the Oak King on Samhain. Personally I think some of the issue lies with shifting so much attention to the Shōta Aoi Extended Cinematic Universe and completely dropping Hoshiiro Girldrop from the rotation. I don't care what Aoi's batting average is, he's just not a good enough shortstop to play proper defense, and it's absolutely costing the Cardinals games. If Pipimi and Popuko want to make it to the World Series, they need their lineup in order and their bullpen rock solid, because that fielding is guaranteed to be a weakness.
But hey, while being predictable to an extent won't help you wage war against the divine or overcome the Astros in October, it doesn't mean you can't still be funny or weird, and the same creative spark that made Season 1 so unique is still apparent here. Japon Mignon is sadly not present in this premiere, but the fine lads at AC-bu deliver another eye-bleedingly fantastic segment that made my insides want to die. Good job guys. Also if they ever make a full Pop Team Epic Side-B, I promise to watch all of it for the uncomfortably sexy way they animated Pipimi's hair in that one shot. God damn. The dual voice acting and repeated runtime also return, to similar effects. I really hope they throw in some curveballs with the voice acting this season, now that it's an established gimmick. It just wouldn't bet Pop Team Epic if it didn't take an opportunity to tip its own cows too.
For now, the question still remains if PTE can reclaim its title of King Shitpost of What The Fuck Mountain, but even if it can't recapture that particular pinnacle, it's still a unique treat for anyone who's brain poisoned enough to watch a 40-minute video about how Space Jam 2 isn't real. So for now, I'm plenty happy to sit back, sharpen my mistletoe arrows, and wait until the right time to join the holy war alongside the brides of chaos.
I'll admit, I was a little confused when Anime News Network Editorial asked us to cover a live-action tokusatsu series for the Fall Preview Guide, but we're going to literally be drowning in animation this week, so I'll take any opportunity to write about my non-anime interests. Besides, as any toku fan will tell you, Endless L.O.V.E. is one of those special kinds of series that only comes along once in a generation, to the point where I guess it kind of transcends whatever arbitrary lines divide the real world and the limitless possibilities of the 2-D universe. You might even argue that Endless L.O.V.E. is the most anime property to ever exist, in any medium, ever.
I also have to admit that, much to my eternal shame, I was just as skeptical as any fan about Shōta Aoi's role in the series back when it got announced in 2018. It seemed like just the sort of corporate-backed stunt casting that practically guarantees a cursed series, but all these years later, I can admit how wrong I was. Shouta's performance as the titular L.O.V.E. is one for the ages, bringing levels of genuine authenticity and emotional depth to a role that he could have easily played off as a cheap caricature for a children's TV show. The original Endless L.O.V.E. ran for nearly one hundred episodes, and I know that I won't be the first critic to say that literally every single one of those episodes thrilled and moved me to the point of tears. In 2019, when that final episode ended with the cliffhanger of L.O.V.E. and his crew confronting the evil Dark L.O.V.E. doppelganger at Biker's Bar Mountain, I could barely breathe through the end credits. It's been an agonizing three-year wait for the show to resume production now that COVID restrictions have been lifted, but boy, has it been worth it.
I can already imagine that those fans who aren't In-The-Know might be puzzled as to why this long-awaited new season premiere consisted of nothing more than the same scene from the 2019 finale plus the new OP (which is a banger), but anyone who has been following the multi-media ARG that has been taking Twitter by storm over the last six months will have put the pieces together by now. To make a long story short, the Endless L.O.V.E. social media feeds have been highlighting dozens of clues dropped in previous episodes that hint at the true identity of the series' reclusive Writer/Director duo, who have only ever gone by their pseudonyms “Mr. Popuko” and “Mr. Pipimi”. When you combine that with the infamous Endless L.O.V.E. crossover that occurred in Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time, it's obvious that the rumors are true, and that Anno has teamed up with the legendary writer Gen Urobuchi to produce their combined magnum opus.
So, with all of that context, it only makes perfect sense that these trickster auteurs would pull a stunt like this to promote their project. Besides, it's the industry's worst kept secret that Urobuchi has been recruiting puppeteers from Thunderbolt Fantasy for an unnamed film project, and I have insider sources who tell me that Anno's recent tokusatsu film franchise will conclude with an all-puppet Shin Endless L.O.V.E. in 2027. Coincidence??? Ha! More like the work of pure, mad genius.
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