The 11-year-old Miyamoto Rebecca becomes the new teacher of a classroom which is full of weirdos. Despite her cute looks she's a little beast and can be pretty sarcastic and offensive. The school is not safe anymore now that she's in charge of a class and her students, Himeko, Ichijou, Rei and a white rabbit who took a liking to Rebecca help her to rough up the school and the neighbor with its teacher "ojii-chan."
Pani Poni Dash is a very light hearted and hilarious slice of life comedy thats fun for the whole family to enjoy. Don't worry about that middle finger on the first episode since thats the only vulgar thing in the whole show. This style has beend done a million times over and I believe Pani Poni Dash is one of the reasons why this style of genre keeps being made over and over.
The story is pretty simplistic but follows the basic of a classic comedic sitcom (issues that can be solved in under 30 minutes). The story evolves a classroom whose teacher just
happens to be a 11-year old (age varies by episode) loli super genius from MIT. How or why she is even teaching a class of high school girls is pretty irrelevant. Rather the story and issues involved herein don't involve normal everyday issues that people can relate to. Instead, they tend to take the wacky and outrageous approach, while plugging as many parodies, one shot gags, sight jokes, and pop culture references in one show as they can. Once you watch this show you can tell its style has influenced a large amount of situational comedy anime that you watch today. Some of the situations I couldn't get into simply because it was just TOO Japanese (you'll understand when you start watching).
The art style switches between the common form of detailed and simplistic styles and they're all placed in the right spots worthy of laughing. Theres so many sight gags and one shots in almost every scene you'll be actively looking allover the screen trying to see the next joke. The art works for a large majority of the time. It doesn't feel like one style is being over used over the others. Theres even times where some rather cute fanservice is involved. This show definitely did it's homework when it came to visual hilarity. The art even stays pretty truthful to its manga counterpart. Huge props for Hekiru Hikawa and making this stuff up, especially the animals.
The sound is pure comedy. But then again its hard to screw up on the sound music and voice acting these days. But with so many things happining in every episode that its hard not to give this show a high score in the sound department since they parody everything from 8-bit Nintendo songs to dragon quest references, along with the random Japanese authentic sounds. Its so great its almost too much but one cant help but laugh through the whole thing or at the very least get hyped up from all the different parody songs they have. On top of that, the op and ed theme songs are one of my favorites i've laid my ears on. My personal fav's are the last two op theme songs. They definitely get you in the mood to watching an episode of Pani Poni dash. Of course they use the seiyu's to sing their own theme songs and as you would expect they sing them pretty well.
The shows bread and butter are by far the cast of characters that make up class 1-C. They're all rehashes of cliche' characters but they have their own twist to make themselves one of a kind in the Pani Poni universe. For example, a loli genius... school teacher? A smart type... with a large and shiny forehead? A shy quiet... masochist? Sure they sound lame but put them together and you get a pretty good cast of sitcom characters. Even the supporting cast is just as hilarious as they spit out pop culture onomatopoeias like adding "dot com" or "of the year" or "omega" to their sentences. The voice overs do their job very well especially Becky, Himeko, and Mesousa. Oh god Mesousa, there will not be another animal character as cute (and pathetic) as Mesousa. Its such a perfect style for a comedy thats not used often. Also, on a side note, the dubbed version is just as good as its Japanese counterpart if you ever take the chance to watch the dub. On top of that, you would never notice that the voice of Himeko also does the voice for Rukia Kuchiki.
Enjoyment: (Very Good)
I loved all the characters in this show, even the cooked salamander and pig-looking guy. Some of the jokes wont reach some audiences since it's very Japanese in its joke telling. Thats my only gripe is that if you're not really knowledgeable about Japanese culture or your anime references aren't up to date, you might want to wait on watching this show. But if your hip and cool like me (joking of course), this show will be a laugh riot!!
Side note: Some of the best parts of the episode happen after the credits!!
As far as spastic, random comedies go Pani Poni Dash! would be pretty high on anyone’s list. Frankly, I am a little bit surprised that it is only scored on the lists of a mere 3,000 MAL users. At its best, PPD is a hilarious parody with references from Gundam to Star Trek and Indiana Jones. Unfortunately, a good many of its jokes and humor will be lost of all but the most informed otaku's.
Pani Poni Dash follows the exploits of Rebecca Miyamoto, an 11 year old child prodigy who becomes a high school teacher and her freshman class and the mysterious
aliens observe her from orbit. The comedy that follows is silly, random and a bit predictable. The story is pretty much nonexistent as this anime is really about just being funny. The episodes unfold in a fairly episodic fashion with little character growth and development. At the end everything remains pretty much exactly the way it was when the series started.
Thus we discover what the main problem is with this show. It just requires a level of understanding of Japanese culture, history, anime, and pop culture that will be beyond the vast majority of people who try to watch this. The version I saw had a lot of notes explaining the various references but can you really say something is funny if you have to have the joke explained to you? That’s not to say that it’s not uproariously funny a great many times, but there were probably just as many head-scratching ones as well.
Another significant problem is the characters. Number one being there are just too damn many of them! I didn’t count but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were 40 of them. And while the majority of the anime revolved around only 6 or 7 of them the sheer number of supporting characters took too much away from them. While most people will find several of them to really love, all of them fall into standard archetypes and are almost completely one-dimensional. As I mentioned previously there is little to nothing in terms of character growth. Everyone is static and unchanging, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing it does make the show feel a bit repetitive as it reaches the end. If I had to pick one character from the show I found Ichijou, the bizarre class rep of 1-C to be hands down the best and funniest of all. What’s not to love about someone who creates the "Ichijou Festival" and keeps her little sister in her shirt? Yeah, that will make sense when you watch it.
The art and animation are really good though a bit quirky. I think that fits the tone of substance of this show quite well. A lot of the humor is derived from the artwork and you’re likely to find something different every time you watch it. There is a bit of sensory overload in the amount of information presented to you visually. Strong voice performances add to an excellent soundtrack. I really found myself drawn to the music and the various OP/EN themes and animations were a great treat.
Pani Poni Dash offers a lot to like for lovers of comedy. However because of the heavy amount of obscure or dated references (for a non-Japanese native), I can’t really give this more than a good rating. There is a lot to love about it and I would still recommend this show to anyone who likes parody anime. For the truly hardcore anime fans out there, I would consider this a must watch.
Pani Poni Dash is easily one of the best comedy anime I've ever watched. The background story is interesting but the "genius girl" thing has been done before. However, Pani Poni Dash takes an approach much different from other schoolkids anime like School Rumble and even Azumanga Daioh.
Pani Poni Dash is chock full of fun parodies, cameos, and tidbits. You'd better have your finger over the pause button to read all the footnotes and references in Pani Poni Dash. The plot is very loose but present enough to give the anime a framework to works its humor off.
The art in Pani Poni Dash
is very colorful, cheerful, bright, and humorous. Of the many things Pani Poni Dash parodies is the anime art, and the parody is visible in every episode. Pani Poni Dash does chibi perfectly, perhaps the best chibi I've ever seen in anime. Besides that, the normal art is very well done and slightly softer than conventional anime.
The music in Pani Poni Dash is very good. There are many songs as OPs and EDs. Great episode scoring and sound effects. I've grown to like all 3 OPs and the 2nd ED.
Character development in Pani Poni Dash is unique, which is saying a lot in the schoolgirl-comedy genre. Rebecca Miyamoto is the perfect balance of kawaii, attitude, sternness, and little-girl... ness. The anime explores different character archetypes in the various students of Peach Moon High School, resulting in a uniquely balanced cast of personalities. It even parodies overkilled character types such as "magical girl" with Behoimi, and plain, underdeveloped characters like Kurumi.
In conclusion, Pani Poni Dash is a definite download for anyone who likes comedy anime. The anime gets off to a great start but kinda winds down near the last five episodes. It's definitely an anime I can watch over and over again.
"Rebecca Miyamoto. Born of an American father and a Japanese mother. Graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the youngest graduate in the school's history. She then returned to Japan to become a highschool teacher. However, she was only ten years old at the time."
The success of a little manga-turned-anime you might have heard of called Azumanga Daioh spawned a long chain of imitators, eventually developing into the slice-of-life sub-genre that many of us know colloquially as the "cute girls doing cute things" genre. Pani Poni Dash is one of those shows, and that, coupled with the quote above, ought to be all I really
need to say about the plot for you to know exactly what this show is like... notice I said ought to be. The show's creators decided that putting a new hat on an old face wasn't enough for them, and the end result defies concise classification, so I won't even try. What's really important is that this show is intended as a comedy, which is one of the most subjective genres in existence. As a consequence, it can be extremely difficult to give such shows an honest and fair critique. The approach I'll take for this review will be to look at what the show tries to achieve, how it attempts to make its audience laugh, and whether those moments "work".
I hinted that this show was rather unique, and that's partially due to the visuals. Production studio SHAFT and director Akiyuki Shinbo are known for blending standard animation with stop-motion photograpy, numerous art shifts, simpler color choices when they're effective... what I'm trying to say is that the look of the show is memorable, and this especially applies to the opening and ending themes. At its most basic the animation doesn't really impress and the moe character designs are pretty generic, but it always gets the job done, and when the show decides to try out a different animation style they consistently up the ante. The show also makes interesting use of the foreground, which adds an extra degree of expressiveness. If I have one bone to pick, it's that the extras are very, very ugly. Considering the extras in each classroom have different designs and they're all ugly, I can only assume it's intentional for... whatever reason. Overall, though, this show looks mostly fine. I've heard some people say that SHAFT's odd visuals are their way of saving money, and there may be a grain of truth to that, but it still leaves a definite impression.
The soundtrack is about what you'd expect from a slice-of-life anime: relaxed or quirky when it needs to be, a bit repetitive but never really jarring. This is in part because there are several episodes during which we're taken out of the typical classroom setting and into several more outlandish scenarios, and in each case the music adapts suitably. It's not particularly memorable music, but it's mostly fine and I guess that's all I have to say about it. "About what you'd expect" and "mostly fine" are also what I'd use to describe the Japanese cast, which is pretty much comprised of typical soft moe-girl voices. Never bad, but they don't impress either. The dub, on the other hand, was handled by the now-infamous ADR director Steven Foster. For those not familiar with his work, Foster has a tendency to take excessive liberties with the material he's given. This includes inserting profanity or mean-spirited comments in odd places, along with an uncomfortable combination of overacting and underacting. All his usual stuff is here, and in particular the voice acting in this show comes off as both high-pitched and wooden. There are several good voice actresses here, so I'm inclined to blame that on Foster. Still, it doesn't really detract from the show, and in a roundabout way it actually sort of matches.
So, even though Pani Poni Dash! is technically a highschool comedy, the show's situational humor has remarkably little to do with actual highschool. Its scenarios range from searching for a lost cowlick to fighting off alien mushroom spores to an archaeological dig to a battle against a giant comet in space, the list goes on. That's just the stuff that happens episode by episode; even the supposed "everyday life" at the school is filled to the brim with hidden rooms, weird animals, and some things I can't even identify, and there's almost always something happening in the background. There's a camera crew that seems to be recording the show (they obviously have no idea what they're doing) and a group of aliens who seem to be monitoring Rebecca and her students from orbit. This show makes enough references to stump even the most hardcore of otaku at least once or twice. The writers put so much effort into filling the school with weird and interesting ideas, in fact, that they completely forget to give any of them punchlines. Those are kind of important, guys.
The biggest problem with the situational humor here is that the writers make the common mistake of assuming that "weird" or "random" automatically equate to "funny", without anything clever or relevant to hold the joke together. This isn't high-class humor, but if it's handled with a good timing it can still work. The problem? Pani Poni Dash! has no restraint. It essentially fails as a comedy for the same reason that Hellsing TV fails as a horror: it can't set up its audience's expectations properly. It's one thing to hit us with something random and out-of-the-blue at the last moment we'd expect it, quite another to shove that kind of thing in our face all the time without ever letting us build up a sense of normalcy. Once the weirdness stops being unexpected, it's not fun anymore. A good portion of the stuff that happens we're expected to laugh at it because it's there and it's weird, and that's pretty much it. When the punchline to a good portion of the jokes is "I don't get it", you know you have a problem. The show will make references simply to make the audience say "wow, that sure is a reference you just made". I mentioned that the show makes frequent art shifts, which are handled competently from a technical standpoint, but the writers never do anything witty with them. If you're going to switch to an RPG-esque visual style, why not make it an episode about videogames? It's not that hard to justify these things.
Even if they don't handle their situational comedy well, some shows get by on good character-based humor, but that's not the case here either. Like many other shows of its ilk, Pani Poni Dash! basically revolves around the antics of a group of schoolgirls, with the added "gimmick" of a kid-teacher who tries with varying levels of success to act like an adult but still shows her childish side. Then there are the students, ranging from Himeko, a hyperactive girl with a hair problem and a verbal tic (maho), to Ichijou, the class representative who constantly straddles the line between evil mastermind and... Osaka, if we're making Azumanga Daioh comparisons. But that's just a tiny portion of the cast, especially if you bring in the students and teachers from other classrooms. With such diversity, this show should have the potential for a wealth of character-based comedy. But then the series completely blows the most important element of character-based comedy: making the characters likable and believable. There's not much character to like, seeing as a good portion of them are essentially comprised of one or two jokes, like the clumsy girl and the cosplay girl. Seeing Becky's rabbit Mesousa fail to pick up an object because he doesn't have fingers gets old really fast. There's also big, muscular, masculine-looking girl named Zula, and a cat who claims he's God, haunts vending machines, and happens to be another Azumanga Daioh reference. Once again, the joke is that they exist and that's it. This kind of half-assed, repetitive writing does not good humor make.
The show never gets its characters to play off of each other in any clever ways, either, often resulting in a reliance on out-of-character moments just to force out a joke. For example, there was one episode where everyone suddenly decided to take advantage of a girl for being "too nice", even the ones who aren't usually smart or mean enough to do such a thing. Worse still, some of the characters can be terribly jarring. Your mileage may vary, but it's hard to find Rebecca's "cuteness" endearing when she's so bitterly cynical all the time, and an eventual look into her backstory reveals that she was incredibly introverted and distant when she went to college, which make her occasional lapses into an innocent child less plausible, not moreso. As a result, most of the time she just comes off as a precocious brat. That's to say nothing about Himeko and her goddamn Maho, which can become positively unbearable. The reason I said the English dub didn't really detract from the experience is because there's really nothing to detract from--the characters already act so unnatural (and in many cases mean-spirited) that it can be hard to tell where the show ends and Foster begins.
Pani Poni Dash! is ultimately a series of missed opportunities. The few (and I mean very few) moments where this show genuinely managed to make me chuckle were when the show took a simple but neat idea and then followed it through to a weird-but-logical conclusion. It's not hard stuff, which makes the show's failure to pull it off all the more frustrating. This series does everything it can to get the audience's attention while failing to do anything to deserve it. It's immature, is what I'm getting at, and loud and obnoxious to boot. Just to clarify, I do not hate this show. At first I hated it, but as I neared the end all my rage had more or less burned out. That's not to say this show is an acquired taste, if anything it's an acquired immunity. By the time I finished, I didn't even care enough to hate this show, it had just become boring, which is the one thing I never thought this attention-seeking brat of a show would become.
This isn't anywhere close to the worst I've seen in an anime; I know there are some people out there who will enjoy this, and it should be easy to tell from the first episode or two whether you're one of those people. Despite that, I can't bring myself to recommend this show in any capacity, not even on a "give it a chance if it's put in front of you" level. What it comes down to is this: all of the shtick in Pani Poni Dash! I've seen done better in other anime, some of which can't even be considered good. That more than anything should speak for where I stand with this series.
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