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Pop Team Epic Season 2
Episode 8

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 8 of
Pop Team Epic (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.2

This week, I had something of an epiphany. Pop Team Epic is, of course, a series that doesn't just defy logic and common sense; it actively spits in the face of reason, and it dares any casual viewer, its four middle fingers raised proudly in the air, to waste even two measly braincells on trying to “figure it out”. Therefore, what use have I for something as silly as “context”? There is no place for it, where we're going. So, in an effort to completely annihilate what little pretense of meaningful analysis I could possibly bring to the table in these writeups, I have decided to entirely forego this week's review of Pop Team Epic Season 2, Episode 8. Instead, I am going to review 10 completely arbitrary screenshots of the episode, as decided by this list I abruptly threw together on my Google Notes app:

I'd tell you that all of these numbers had some special meaning to me, but I'd be lying, since outside of a single reference to one of my all time favorite bands (points to whoever finds it, BTW), I just went with a bunch of times that sounded neat in my head, and presumably came after the usual opening theme, since I already explained at length why the PTE OP is the single greatest achievement in the history of human artistry.

Anyways, this is such a great idea for a review that I'm not even going to run a pitch by Editorial. What could possibly go wrong??

Timecode #1: 02:22

Huh. Okay. Pipimi and Popuko seem to be sitting together on a…bus? A plane? I dunno. Either way, they're dressed like a couple of University of Oregon hipsters on their way to a slam poetry reading at some local microbrewery that probably uses unpasteurized milk from local cows as the secret ingredient in their creamer. One of them is talking about “artillery”, so maybe this is, like, a parody of The Thing or something?

Timecode #2: 02:37

It seems like it's the same skit, except now they're all parachuting? So, I guess I was right about the plane thing. Wait a minute? Parachuting out of planes? Talking about weapon loadouts? A dress code which brings to mind a tasteless five-star pop-up restaurant that imitates the aesthetics of a local soup kitchen to cater to the trash fashion taste of a bunch of upper-middle class white kids with too much expendable income? That can only mean one thing…

Timecode #3: 04:03

Goddammit, it is a PUBG reference. At least, I think it is? Granted, it's been a hot minute since I've pubbed me some Gs, but I don't remember cursed-ass killer chickens being a part of the Official PUBG Lore™. Unless the game finally sold out completely and revealed itself to be a stealth Five Nights at Freddy's spinoff? Y'know, to really get the grift on with the Zoomers?

I'll be honest, I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, anymore. Maybe this wasn't a great idea for a review…

Timecode #4: 07:17

…what am I even doing?

Timecode #5: 10:00

Not just with this “review”. I mean, what am I even doing with my life? I'm thirty years old, for goodness' sake. Is this all there is to my life? To any of our lives? A series of intentionally stupid jokes and empty pop-cultural references that only serve to line the cultural coffers of the tech corporations that already rule so much of our lives?

Are any of you even reading this? Am I just shouting a bunch of meaningless nonsense into an empty void? Is this how I'm going to waste the rest of my finite time on this planet? Watching a show that is a total waste of time, on purpose, twice in a row?

Timecode #6: 13:41

Heh. Heh heh heh. Gorillas are funny. Heh heh heh heh heh. They throw poop sometimes. Heh heh heh he

Timecode #7: 18:36

When you're a kid, it's nice to think of bones having cute little faces, like all of the other animals. Nowadays, it's just terrifying.

Can you imagine what your own bones would have to say about you, if they could talk? Would they be kind to you? Would they laugh at the disappointing slab of meat that they have to lug around all day?

Or would they just scream? Scream and scream and scream and scr—

Yo! Do any of you guys remember that old series of puppet VHS tapes called Timmy the Tooth!? It was this utterly bizarre series about a giant, sentient tooth that had a toothbrush named “Brushbrush” for a…pet, I guess? And some of the other puppets were, like, regular humans, so you had to constantly wonder if there was just this race of hellish teeth creatures that walked amongst a fearful human population, or if Timmy had somehow escaped from the jaw of some poor child and assumed his identity after the kid presumably bled out on the bathroom floor or whatever. I'm pretty sure the villains were a gang of evil ghouls that were trying to straight up murder Timmy and Brushbrush?

Ha. The Nineties were wild, y'all.

Timecode #8: 20:30

Um.

Timecode #9: 21:13

I've been having those weird dreams again, lately. Where I'm a kid, back at home where I grew up in [REDACTED], sitting in my old bedroom and staring into that little 13-inch combination TV/VHS-player that I had my Super Nintendo hooked up to. It's dark, and it's kind of cold, and though I refuse to turn my head to look at what might be waiting for me beyond my bedroom door, I already know that the house is empty. There is nothing to see outside of my window, either. The sky isn't just dark, outside; it's gone. There aren't any toys, or posters, or piles of socks and half-finished homework to set the stage. There isn't even a bed to sleep in. There is simply nothing to this place at all, except for me, that old TV, and a pile of VHS tapes with strange titles scribbled on their masking tape labels:

”Biggus McHugeGuy”

“Darkness Cooking”

”REVIEW OR DIE”

I don't want to watch them. I know that I must. There's already one in the player; I just have to reach out and pop

POP!

it in. Press play. See what happens. When I do, there is only static at first, and a horrible buzzing sound in the back of my head. No, not a noise exactly, but the idea of a noise, awful and thrumming in the pits of my skull, that vague half-felt space where the conscious part of your brain doesn't like to go, because then it would have to acknowledge that every single thing that makes up who you are, and who you ever will be, is nothing more than a fragile pink sponge that spends its entire life all cooped up in a cramped, awkward skeleton made up of slowly-deteriorating muscles and ever grinning bones.

I see something in the static. It's impossible to make out at first, but eventually the shape reveals itself, and when it does I can barely breath, I can barely think, and I definitely cannot move to escape it. There is no escape. There never was. There never will be.

This is where we belong, after all. We're all just peas in a

Timecode #10: 22:22

Pop.

[And Then.]

Alright guys, I have to admit, that experiment was a bust. I'm just going to do a normal review of the episode, like I would for any other show. I'm sorry I wasted all of your times with this strange and pointless exercise. Now all I have to do is go back to the beginning and watch the whole thing. I wonder how much I was able to get from just the screenshots…

[23 Minutes and 40 Seconds Later]

…yep. That's pretty much exactly what I expected.

Rating:

Pop Team Epic Season 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.


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