Onyankopon watched over people long ago, but one day an old woman accidentally hit Onyankopon in the head with a mallet while mashing yams. Since then, Onyankopon has been nervous about greeting people directly, and so sends subordinates to speak to them and solve their problems. He will use Afrobeat and dance to help Japanese high school girls with problems such as dieting, love, and cramming for exams.
If you're ever thought to scroll past the popular shows of each season to look at the lower scored offerings nobody watched; chances are you'll see at least one weird looking CGI or Flash animated show that makes you rapidly ask “Why is this?” A small cottage industry of sorts has sprung up in the last decade or so, producing a small but fairly regular number of these mostly ONAs; mostly about girls doing things. While it would be wrong to claim there was one starting point or one man responsible; if you trace the links back far enough from many of them you'll find
the 2011 show Gdgd Fairies & its director Souta Sugahara.
Seeing Souta's name attached to Onyakopon explains a lot. In it, a cat god, allegedly from West Africa, sort of but doesn't really help a group of Japanese high school girls with their girl problems. Each episode mostly follows a set routine of something happening in the god world; something similar happens in the girl world; they do a musical number that sort of relates to the issue; then the issue resolves itself. It looks like a low budget, short edutainment show for young children; & the involvement of Toonz Entertainment (part of the animation outsourcing monolith that, among many things, churns out a some of those seemingly computer generated cartoons for babies flooding Youtube) only furthers the impression that this is meant to be a cheap attempt at a Japanese Octonauts, or something similar.
But like many of these shows, one is left more with the impression that this is a parody of children's TV made by & for men who, for various reasons, have to plan their travels to avoid being near schools. The subjects of each episode & the general way the characters converse all leave the impression that the writer's main source of information about high school girls is Lucky Star. Indeed, one of the background tracks sounds rather similar to the one that plays in the back of a lot of that shows conversations. The songs only add to the impression that this some weird experiment to see what men think girls are like, with themes like: “Please, god, don't make my face look fat!” & “I need the toilet; come with?”
Yet there's an appeal to a lot of these types of shows that Onyankopon is lacking. A key feature of Gdgd Fairies & its ilk is that the actresses will eventually go off-script &/or break character; which is where a lot of the humour comes from. The scripted conversations in this one are pretty dull & there's no time for things to get weird or go wrong. Nor does the short runtime & regimented, episodic structure leave any space for anything like a narrative or plot line to be developed; or for characters to form something one might confuse for individual personalities. In a weird way, the show is also too well produced for its own good, lacking the amateurishness that somehow adds to the charm of a lot of these shows.
In short, Onyankopon is just kinda boring. Some moments, like when a black guy's head suddenly appears in one episode to comment on what the girls are doing, liven it up a bit; & I'm sure the singers who voice the girls & do the end song will appreciate the exposure; but I struggle to see what the point of this all was. If it's meant to be one of those parody series, there are plenty of better ones out there (Tesagure! Bukatsumono is probably the best of them). If it really was sincerely meant for children, then the gods' have punished us with something much worse than a fat head.