Popee the Performer deals with a circus that operates in the middle of the desert. Each episode deals with the small cast of characters attempting at times to rehearse their performances, but it usually dissolves into the characters trying to humorously destroy each other in the usual cartoon manner.
The star of the show, Popee, is a clown in an odd red-striped jumpsuit and bunny ears. He is adept at juggling, being a clown, pulling large knives and small bombs out of thin air. He is not adept at ever succeeding in his nefarious plans to hurt his poor assistant or the owner of the circus. His mischievous nature is the driving force of each episode.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to get out of Popee the Performer before jumping into it. Looking at profile picture showing a clown with rabbit ears, wielding a machine gun and a chainsaw I knew this wasn’t going to be something ordinary. Overall I was both amused and disgusted, but mostly amused.
There isn’t any real overall story in Popee the Performer. The episodes are independent of one another other than the inclusion of certain characters that are introduced over the course of the series. Popee, Kedomono, and Papi perform various feats of magic, acrobatics, and mysticism. This
usually results in mayhem and injury followed by bloody retribution. The humor is decidedly dark. If you are turned off by black comedy and comedic violence then you will not like this show.
As with any series that relies on collections of short comedy skits, the humor is hit and miss at times. Though I found the vast majority of the episodes to be extremely funny, some of them are pretty disturbing. While I am not really a big fan of this kind of humor, it just didn’t strike me as being downright cruel to a particular character. All of the characters are equally abused, dismembered, and blown up over the course of the story. I also found that like a fine wine, Popee should be enjoyed in small sips and I wouldn’t recommend anyone blitzing through a dozen or more episodes in one sitting.
Even though there isn’t any dialogue the characters and their thoughts come across loud and clear. Popee is fairly untalented as a performer as is frequently out done by practically everyone else in the cast. This leads to violent tantrums and jealousy. He's not likeable at all and he’s a real douchebag but that doesn’t mean he isn’t funny to watch. Kedamono is a bit more of an innocent and likeable character. His constantly changing masks that display his current emotions make him the most expressive character in the show. He is often the target of Popee's jealousy or harebrained performance ideas (which often go painfully wrong). Rounding out the cast is Papi, who shows up about halfway through the series. He is the one character I really hated. There is something disturbing about the way he looks and it got extra enjoyment at seeing him get hurt.
The art is done with CG animation and for the most part it’s good. It’s very basic looking and all the settings and backgrounds have very basic shapes. Even the characters are mostly nondescript and plain. The music is very simple as well but is fitting to the series. The major complaint would be that it is very repetitive as well. You are going to here the same 2 or 3 tracks over the course of the entire show. Another reason I recommend not watching too many episodes at one time.
I enjoyed my experience with Popee. I think. It has a number of laughs and its bizarre offbeat style really hits home. Other times it’s just so far out there I was left thinking drugs are bad. Still, I recommend it to anyone looking for something wickedly funny and don’t mind being splattered with a little blood.
First off, this is the only anime you should watch. Ever. Out of all anime. This is the only one worth watching. Alright? Alright.
If you like offbeat cult favorites with penchant for looney tunes style slapstick paired with senseless violence, gore, a detestable protagonist, and surreal Dali-esque landscapes, you're in for a treat. The graphic nature of it is shocking with how blatant it is, but the only thing that separates it from other cartoons of the same nature is the fact that 'Popee' isn't afraid to show a little blood. Or a lot. There's a particular instance where, true to cartoon form, Popee is
turned invisible and wreaks havoc, only instead of stepping in ink or covered with a sheet to foil the mischief, Popee is only discovered when they're completely drenched in a torrent of BLOOD. Beyond that, there are a few grossout gags as well, but they don't surpass the violence. In later episodes, most episodes go from slapstick violence to surreal fever-dream like scenarios in an instant. But honestly most of 'Popee' feels like a fever dream. So I hope you're into that. I know I am.
As for artsyle- I see a lot of people critiquing the art style without taking into account when and how and why the series was made. In 2000, CGI was just beginning to be used to make films and shorts. Most of the beloved CGI films we call classics hadn't been developed yet. As well, 'Popee' was made as a series of shorts, for a kids network, on a probably tight budget. The stiffness of the models in a medium that was far from being perfected is perfectly excusable. That said, the character design itself is phenomenal! The designs of Papi and especially Kedamono are incredibly unique and colorful, and Popee's pink striped bunny ears outfit might as well be iconic with how recognizable the silhouette is.
All in all 'Popee' is the best anime I have ever seen in a long, long time. It might not be up your alley, which is fine, but that doesn't stop it from being a masterpiece.
When I watched the first episode of Popee the Performer, my instant reaction was "Where was this shitpost of the show all my life." Even though Popee the Performer is not what you want if you're expecting a typical anime, (if you can call it that?) it was one hell of a laugh.
The animation looks like something that came straight out of Jimmy Neutron. No joke. Surprisingly, I wouldn't have gotten as much out of it if it was any different. Everything to the creepy ass expressions to the way they walked, it made it comedy gold in my eyes.
Popee as a character is
very easy to anger and isn't afraid to recc someone if he gets mad. This show is a slapstick, so it makes sense because it adds some calamity to the show. He is my true life savior.
Even if it for the wrong reasons, Popee the Performer is some of the funniest shit i've seen. Do I think everyone who watches it will get a kick out of it? Long answer, Maybe? Short answer, no. Even if I got a lot of enjoyment out of it, it really all depends on your type of humor. Honestly, I think about any screenshot you can take of this show can be a shitpost.
I feel like anyone who wants any plot or good animation should stay clear from this, but if you want something to take a break from the norm, then this is the perfect show to watch. Also, did I forget to mention that this show has no dialogue? Oops.
(Sorry if this is a poorly/crudely written review, it's my first time doing this sort of thing!!)
Popee doesn't really play by anime's standard rules, so it's tough to score it by traditional metrics. Is the animation bad? By traditional standards, yes, it's horrible - think CGI a huge step backwards from Toy Story - but that's kind of the point here. Similarly, you can't really rate the story by traditional means since there isn't any to begin with.
Popee clearly draws inspiration from the classics of slapstick animation - it resembles nothing so much as Tom and Jerry - but puts a decidedly surrealist twist on it. The show follows a small troupe of circus performers out in the desert, whose only
audience appears to be nothing more than crudely-painted figures on a wall (and the occasional frog or alien). Each brief episode begins with around the titular Popee attempting to practice his daring feats of strength and skill, and usually ends with him either killing his troupe-mates, himself, or even the entire planet.
The characters on the show are deranged and brutish manchildren (with the exception of Kedamono, the noh-masked purple wolf), and a lot of the humor comes from their exaggerated reactions to failure or jealousy of another troupe member outperforming them.
The show evolves from strictly slapstick humor in the first dozen or so shorts to a much more surreal and mind-freaky style as the ideas presented become more complex. Throughout the whole thing runs an undercurrent of anarchic glee, though, which is really what makes the show work. The show is at its best when seeing its cartoon logic through to absurd conclusion, especially in episodes like "Dark Side" or "Mirror."
There's really not much else to say - if you've an appetite for completely surreal, dark comedy using really low-grade CGI, this is your huckleberry, but otherwise, I'd steer clear. But if you can stomach the insanity, there's a lot to like here. Several small details are actually excellently done, in particular Kedamono's seemingly endless steam of noh masks which show his emotions as crudely drawn faces that fall from his head as his emotions change. The sound design must also be noted as being particularly clever in its usage of only two or three tracks, twisted and distorted to suit the mood of the particular scene.
Note: The show is best watched in short bursts - only two or three episodes at a time - or you run the risk of the music and humor growing stale.
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