Poputepipikku 2nd Season ポプテピピック
Pop Team Epic Season 2 start at high school girl duo Popuko and Pipimi are back and more unhinged than ever after their initial efforts to create a full-fledged anime production were met with a great reception. With no regard for their audience, they continue to live their reckless everyday lives consisting of comedy skits and parodies of epic proportions. No one is immune to the effects of their antics—including hapless live actor Shouta Aoi, who is on the run and stuck trying to be a hero in the wrong series.
The legendary kuso anime has returned. You know your show is confident in its kuso-ness when the intro to one of the episodes starts with a man emerging from a toilet cubicle.
Like its first season, the show is segmented into a main anime-original part, a few straight adaptations, and some quirky one-off segments, each animated by a different team. Unfortunately, French-kun is no longer working at Kamikaze Douga, so he was sorely missed.
The main anime original segment is generally a step up from the first season. They are longer now and are usually guest-animated to parody different styles of anime, which lends the show a great deal of variety. A personal highlight is episode 3’s B-side, where the ad-libbing elevates the short into something truly special. The 4koma adaptations by Space Cat and Kamikaze Douga are fine as usual. As I’ve mentioned in my earlier review, the jokes don’t translate well into an animated format and really only work in a 4koma format. They are fine for what they are, but honestly I feel they are mostly there so the show can have some form of similarity to its source material. Sometimes the seiyuu ad-libbing can provide a new experience to the adaptation, but rarely does it exhibit the creativeness and imagination seen in the original segments. There are certainly less of them though compared to the first season.
The other segments are hit and miss. Pop Team Epic Boy’s Side is funny the first time, and not really subsequently. The show does recognize this and kills it off in a hilariously PTE fashion, but the replacement being random ad reads isn’t much better. The after credits segments are a treat. King Records does release an extended (but timed) version of this as a bonus on their Youtube channel which has the seiyuu pairs talk freely for about 3 minutes. These are charming and it’s often nice to hear from older, less active seiyuus talk about their performances. Outside of that there is a lack of other creative segments outside of these. Pop Team Cooking has a few runs, and the stop motion dancing only appears once, the faux video game style a few times. But that’s all in terms of memorable segments. I don’t play FFXIV, and I know bkub loves the thing, but I just didn’t get the FFXIV segments. The ad reads are…questionable. The out of place guitar shop in the middle of nowhere in Episode 7 was hilarious, but everything else was just a straight ad read. Didn’t like those.
Bob Epic Team is brilliant as usual. Nay, it is the greatest thing in the entire year. Episode 7 is some miraculous legendary episode that has to be experienced first hand without spoilers.
As with the first season, the show is practically a seiyuu showcase show. King Records must have some deep pockets to even hire seiyuus not even contracted with them. There are a bunch of dream combinations here, and hell, they even got Char to voice one line as a gag. Not all performances are equal, some of them are basic line reads, but the best of them feature unique ad-libs and references to the pair’s own work and why they were chosen in the first place. As a seiyuu fan, it’s always fun to hear from seiyuus you don’t normally hear from anymore due to the industry constantly focusing on up-and-coming talents, and older seiyuu being more expensive to hire.
Despite its occasional shortcomings, Pop Team Epic still shows it can still be relevant in the new nightmare world that is 2022. Surreal, mad, yet sometimes comforting, it provides an experience quite unlike any other that does test the notion on what “anime” really is all about.
I still miss Hoshiiro Girldrop though. Maybe in the OVA…