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This Week in Anime
What the Hell is Happening in Pop Team Epic?

by Michelle Liu & Steve Jones,

There's oddball anime comedies out there, and then there's Pop Team Epic. This week in anime, Michelle and Steve respond to this irreverent anti-comedy in the only way they can—kicking and screaming.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead. Not Safe For Work warning for language.





You can read our weekly coverage of Pop Team Epic here!

I know we're only four weeks into the season, and it's a little early to start calling favorites, but Micchy, I am head over heels for Hoshiiro Girldrop.


That's right, it's time for

okay I tried but I guess we have to talk about Pop Team Epic. some way. somehow.

Pop Team Epic is a show that exists. It is definitely not a figment of our imaginations. My question is how, or maybe why, or perhaps even what.

I guess one legit point to start us off would be that I love Bkub Okawa's 4-koma and did not expect it to translate well into an anime AT ALL. Yet it has.

It really has.

I suppose I should admit that while I like (?) the 4koma, I'm not the biggest fan of the anime adaptation; but then again, I'm not sure it's possible to be a fan of Pop Team Epic rather than a victim.

this is true

Believe it or not, I wish Pop Team Epic would do more with its runtime. It's just a tad scattershot and doesn't go quite far enough to really tickle my fancy. That said, not everything can be Heybot!.

I'm a big fan of how the anime has basically embraced the no-fucks-given attitude of the comic by assembling several different animation teams and letting them do whatever they want with the material. So in the span of one episode, we get an entire spectrum of different interpretations on what "Pop Team Epic" means. At times it feels legitimately experimental. I just wonder how one of the most thoughtful and creative approaches to a manga adaptation got applied to an absurdist collection of anti-humor shitposts. I feel like we're simultaneously very blessed and very cursed.

Pop Team Epic definitely fits the bill as a shitpost: questionable content with such utter contempt for form that the end result is absurd, amazing, and disturbing all at once. I can't even begin to describe the sense of dread I feel at the Bob Epic Team segments every week; watching them is a horrendously addictive sort of agony.


The downside of splitting the show among multiple teams is that some of the segments (Bob Epic Team) outshine the rest so much that I can't help but feel let down by how perfectly tolerable the others are.

AC-bu's shorts are the perfect microcosm of what the anime does so well tho. They take the source material and distort it into these crude little unforgettable nightmares. It's awesome.

Just the way they interpret the girls' :3 faces is the grossest and best thing.

I really enjoy how out of all the casting changes, the AC-bu segments are the only ones that remain consistently terribly acted.

You don't paint over the Mona Lisa.

Like you said, Bobnemimmi is the best encapsulation of what makes Pop Team Epic such a glorious work of anti-humor that I honestly wish the whole show were like that. Imagine what 24 minutes of Bob Epic Team would be like every week. You can't tell me that wouldn't be perfectly horrifying. Practically speaking, of course, that studio doesn't have the resources to pump out full-length episodes every week, but that don't stop a gal from dreaming.

Look, I know you want to subject everyone to 20 minutes of Bob Epic Team every week, but again, 50 episodes of Heybot! have thrown your tolerance completely out of whack.

You're not wrong there wwww. I'm just saying, limiting Bob Epic Team to a few minutes a week is like rotoscoping only a portion of Flowers of Evil. It's too audience-friendly imo, it's gotta destroy more brain cells to cement itself as true art.

Well personally, I'm glad for the variety. It does result in a mixed bag, but the genuine surprises the show throws at me every week more than make up for the slightly lackluster segments.

Who could've predicted "Let's Pop Together"?

What anime in 2018 has an extended tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire as one of its jokes? Let alone one starring fuzzy puppets?

You're right, the more out-there segments are great, even if the unnatural needle-felt stop-motion animation made me feel like my soul was leaving my body.

they're good puppets, micchy

Really, this show is damn good when it picks one concept and commits to it wholeheartedly. It's that kind of single-minded dedication to horrible jokes that truly defines shitposting culture, and I live for that.

it's 2018, and nobody wants to laugh at jokes that make sense anymore. we just want to stare into the abyss. and Pop Team Epic understands us.

it's honestly inspired me to shitpost better

For what it's worth, Pop Team Epic has made it very clear that shitposting is an art. Shitposting isn't just pulling whatever comes to mind out of your ass; it's high-effort, deliberate, and much harder than it looks. God knows that your name. parodies are already stale as year-old bread at this point, but Pop Team Epic pulls it off with gusto. The moment the RADWIMPS-soundalike riff kicked in, I just about died laugh/crying.

Just hecking look at this bullshit, how dare

A lesser show would throw in a few visual references and the body-switching gimmick, but nah, that ain't enough. You gotta replicate every aspect of the production. It might not be necessarily funny, but the audience can appreciate the amount of effort you put into a joke. That's more or less where I stand on the show, I think.

It's the subtle touches like that throughout the show that really prove how much behind-the-scenes work goes into each episode. I mean, I can only imagine the logistics behind having new seiyuu for each episode, let alone extremely famous seiyuu. There's no reason they HAD to do that, but it pays off.

Norio Wakamoto as Idol Producer Pipimi is extremely powerful, yes.

Just being able to hear Norio Wakamoto voice Pipimi added an entire decade to my lifespan. At the end of the day, we have to recognize and appreciate that it takes an entire team of talented artists, assistants, and producers to put an idol smoking a blunt onscreen.

The casting jokes aren't funny if you're not deep in the anime fandom hellhole already, but maybe that's part of the show's charm: it doesn't give a shit if you get the joke or not. I respect the hell out of the show's gumption, that's for sure. It's on another level from us mortal humans.

I think generally the show's flavor of un-comedy would translate well to the Adult Swim audience. There's a lot of overlap between what Pop Team Epic finds funny and what Tim & Eric find funny. But yeah, it's also very concerned with giving a large middle finger to the anime industry and audience.

like, there's a joke about Satomi Arai never having done an impression before, and I don't know who that's for except for me and maybe 12 other people

but it also references Cool Runnings, so there's something for everybody

So out of all the cursed material we've waded through to do this column, what's your favorite sketch so far?

I adore the Bob Epic Team sketch where Pipimi hides in the border of the screen while playing hide-and-seek. The joke is lifted straight from the manga, but presented in that style it's simply transcendent. The mental image of Pipimi melting into the frame will haunt me forever.

Yeah! I think that's a great example of where the anime actually improved the joke through sheer audacity, as expected of Bob Epic Team.

utterly cursed

And your fave?

Obviously it's also one of the Bob Epic Team bits, and it's hard to pick a favorite, but it's also hard for me to think of a better punchline than this:


we did get a very good kitty this week tho

Please don't make me think about its overly detailed face, my brain rejects it so hard.

For the sake of both of our brains, we should wrap up soon. It's not healthy to dwell on such eldritch forms of humor for too long.

The way i see it, you have two options this winter season. You can either watch/be subjected to Pop Team Epic, or you can be

That's it, I'm arresting you for anime crimes.

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