Manga of the Month: Pop Team Epic

Pop Team Epic (ポプテピピック) by Bkub Okawa

hisui_icon_4040_round If the blog is shut down after this post know that it was because we were unfairly charged with Anime Blogging Crimes to stop us from disseminating the TRUTH. The truth about the power and majesty of Pop Team Epic.

Popuko and Pipimi are two rebels without a cause. Their effect is often a bit hazy as well. All you really have to know is they are both leading their best lives and not letting anyone get in their way.  Even if the thing in their way is a baby, a city, or a small blue planet in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm. Pipimi tends to be more ladylike when she is committing murder whereas Popuko is more energetically enthusiastic in her homicide.

If you are unaware Pop Team Epic is a generally absurdist 4-koma comic that was recently adapted into an anime.  It is mostly just odd comedy segments like Ai Mai Mi or the Galaxy Angel anime. Strange things happen, maybe some popular culture is parodied, and then the comic moves on like nothing has happened. Maybe everyone will die, turn into gods, or is turned into babies but none of that matters in the next page. Canon is only referenced when it is and everything else only exists to serve the current gag.

The comedy itself is a mixture of vulgar shock humor, sarcastic social commentary, cutesy cute jokes, meta humor, and bizarre non-sequiturs all with some deep cut Japanese and American references. It very much feels like the best case scenario for the cumulation of modern internet humor.  Not every joke lands for everyone and some jokes leave most people just scratching their heads,  but the ratio of great jokes to bad is fairly high.

If you watched the anime you will recognize about half the material. There are some strips that pretty much translated into anime verbatim but there are a lot more jokes that the anime team put their own spin on from the seed of the original strip. I would have to say half of the first book is either material that is only tangentially related to the anime or is wholly original.  The anime mostly gives you a good idea if you would like the manga and vice versa. They are still different enough that they are both worth experiencing by anyone who enjoys either.

Plus the manga does not have the god-awful Bob Team Epic segments. That is always a plus.

– Alain


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