Hoshiiro Girldrop is more than your standard idol romance anime. High school student Daichi Taira finds himself living with Sosogu Hoshifuri. Daichi finds out that not only is Sosogu now living with him, but she is also his fiancée. As if this sudden revelation isn't enough, Daichi's love life is complicated even further due to the fact that Sosogu is the leader of a popular idol group, Drop Stars.
Not too long into the first episode, the fabric of reality is literally torn in two, as Popuko rips through the screen to reveal that Hoshiiro Girldrop is just a ruse. Which, honestly, is a good thing, because you came to read about and watch Pop Team Epic. Due to its ability to parody numerous tropes of the anime industry and catch the viewer off guard, the Hoshiiro Girldrop intro is a perfect intro to Pop Team Epic.
Pop Team Epic is unlike any anime you've ever or will ever see. Pop Team Epic centers around two school girls, Popuko and Pipimi, and their adventures. Whether they encounter perfectly mundane situations or completely absurd ones, the two girls manage to make the situations exponentially more interesting with their bizarre reactions. Pop Team Epic is a skit anime that draws references to, parodies, and satires many popular anime and trends in pop culture.
With its rapid-fire delivery of its absurd sketches to its ever-revolving stable of voice actors, Pop Team Epic is nothing like any anime you've ever seen before and will, most likely, ever see again. Pop Team Epic has managed to perfect its art, taking all the good and bad, dumb and intelligent parts of anime and making them coalesce into something that is as much a piece of art as it is a train wreck. Here are 6 anime that attempt to rival Pop Team Epic's ability to be coherently incoherent.
Similar Anime to Pop Team Epic
1. Nichijou (Nichijou – My Ordinary Life)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2011 – September 2011
Nichijou looks at the lives of the people in a small town of Tokisadame. Although Nichijou looks at the activities of the entire town, it focuses on Yuko, Mio, Mai, Nano, Hakase, and a talking cat, Sakamoto. Nichijou combines several genres, most notably gag comedy and slice-of-life to create quite the exhilarating comedic experience.
Nichijou's humor comes from its ability to balance the purely absurd with the unbearably mundane. Nichijou's strong point with its humor is how, much like Pop Team Epic, it does a great job of not bringing too much attention or making too big a deal about it. Very often Nichijou throws a gag at you and then returns to the slice-of-life aspect of the show.
Despite its name, the characters in Nichijou live anything but an ordinary life. Each character has her own quirky characteristic that helps to create the show's unique, dynamic gauntlet of gags. A show that is not afraid to be overly ridiculous than necessary, Nichijou and Pop Team Epic have carved their own lanes in the comedy genre.
2. FLCL (Fooly Cooly)
- Episodes: 6
- Aired: April 2000 – March 2001
FLCL, pronounce "fooly cooly" for the uninitiated, is a coming of age story following Naota Nandaba, an extremely cynical sixth grader. Despite his claims that everything is ordinary, Naoto's life becomes anything but when he is run over by Haruka Haruhara, a pink-haired woman who claims to be an alien. After meeting Haruka, Naoto head becomes a portal from which robots and other objects are able to appear
If things sound ridiculous, they are, and it somehow manages to exceed the absurdity of its plot with its execution. FLCL manages to tell a somewhat complete story over the course of its very short runtime. To achieve this, it features a very frenetic and breakneck pace for very much of the series. There's a lot that happens in FLCL, and for much of the series, its course seems to have no clear destination, some might even say that after watching the conclusion.
FLCL from time to time explicitly references its confusing story and mechanics. On occasion, the show expresses how confusing the plot is and even the nonsensical nature of its name. FLCL manages to match pace with Pop Team Epic in the rate at which it throws "What is going on?!" moments at the viewer. A classic anime that isn't afraid to experiment, FLCL is as fun to watch as it is confusing.
3. Lychee Light Club (Litchi Hikari Club)
- Episodes: 8
- Aired: October 2012 – November 2012
Lychee Light Club is a comedy about the Light Club, a group of middle school boys who hope to create an AI that will aid them in their quest to abduct girls. The show begins with their girl-abducting robot, Lychee, having already successfully completed its mission by capturing Kanon, an extremely beautiful girl, who becomes a vital part of the club. With the club having successfully achieved its goal, the series actually follows their exploits as they try to find a new purpose and direction for the club.
Although Lychee Light Club has its fair share of running gags, each episode sees a constant barrage of random jokes and one-liners. On top of that, each episode of Lychee Light Club is its own standalone skit following the activities of the club and its members. Lychee Light Club, with its short episode lengths, is unable to match the pure volume of jokes and gags in Pop Team Epic, but it's able to present jokes at nearly the same quality as Pop Team Epic, both obvious and subtle.
Lychee Light Club, like Pop Team Epic, is based on a manga series. The two, however, are entirely different in their faithfulness to its source material. While Pop Team Epic mocks and makes fun of all anime, and common tropes, Lychee Light Club, the anime, pokes fun at its own manga. Lychee Light Club is a nice short show for anyone that's looking for rapid-fire gags that find a way to do away with one's expectations in the same vein as Pop Team Epic.
4. gdgd Fairies
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2011 – December 2011
gdgd Fairies is a CG animation about 3 fairies living in a magic forest. At first glance, this show might not seem very much like Pop Team Epic. After watching a few episodes, however, the parallels become quite evident. While Pop Team Epic features several quite erratic non-sequitur skits, the structure of gdgd Fairies is much more clear-cut. gdgd Fairies episodes are split up into 3 different segments, each with their own unique gag.
The first of these segments feature the fairies sitting around discussing a simple topic like sleep, rumours, and deja vu. Some of the humor in this segment stems from their inability to come to an agreement on such simple concepts and the degree to which they misunderstand each other. The second segment is where the comedy and eccentricities of the show really start to show. In this segment, the fairies enter their magic room, The Room of Spirit and Time, where they are free to practice their magic. Very often this slowly becomes increasingly absurd.
The third segment, like Pop Team Epic, has fun with its voice actors. Here, the voice actors are shown a video or played a sound, and then ad lib a response to it. The animations for this scene are then retroactively animated. Just the concept alone breaks the mold of what an anime is supposed to, but it becomes even more ridiculous when the voice actors break character. The final part of gdgd Fairies and the most similar to Pop Team Epic is the preview of the next episode. Each preview of gdgd Fairies promises a story that sounds eerily similar to a popular anime, even going so far as to animate the preview in that style.
Although gdgd Fairies features a sense of humor and animation style that is quite different from Pop Team Epic at times, the overall structure and way in which the shows manipulate viewers' expectations is quite similar. If you enjoy the absurdness that is Pop Team Epic, there's a strong chance gdgd Fairies will provide its fair share of bewildered laughter.
5. Inferno Cop
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: December 2012 – March 2013
Jack Knife Edge Town is a city that has all but succumbed to the clutches of evil. The only person who is able to prevent the city from being completely overrun is Inferno Cop, a cop who dishes out justice as he sees fit. The evils present in Jack Knife Edge Town proves to be much more than Inferno Cop bargains for, as he finds himself literally escaping from Hell in order to stop whatever is happening in his city.
Inferno Cop is a parody of action cop movies at heart but manages to be much more than that throughout its entire run. A lot of the comedy found in Inferno Cop comes from its ability to play with the viewer's expectation, often throwing jokes and plot development from so far out of left field that if often seems to have been made up as production went along. It's a bit hard to call it a joke, per se, but coming from Studio Trigger, the quality (or lack thereof) of its animation and voice acting
Inferno Cop doesn't have a gaggle of gags flying at the view in the same manner as Pop Team Epic, but its ability to play with convention while single-handedly destroying that of its genre is wholly impressive. Inferno Cop is a short, tumultuous ride
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: April 2006 – March 2010
Gintama is a household name when it comes to comedy anime. Known for its gags and parodying of other shounen anime, Gintama has become synonymous with the genre. Like Pop Team Epic, Gintama has made itself known for its ability to parody other big names in the industry and provide colorful commentary on clichés found throughout the genre.
Gintama also likes to remain relatively self-aware, often breaking the fourth wall to make comments on its ratings or controversies. Gintama's breaking of the fourth wall doesn't just extend to character interactions but to their overall behavior. For example, Gintama has seen characters question sound effects, interact with them, and even comment on the quality of the story and animation.
In fact, there's an episode, where Gintoki and crew wake up to find themselves as an incomplete storyboard animation. They spend the next few minutes commenting on their appearance, explain the animation process, and even employing the series' director to fire the person responsible for this mistake. What Gintama did here is providing commentary on shows that see a dip in quality in a very over the top and self-aware manner, very similar to Pop Team Epic.
Both Gintama and Pop Team Epic revel in their over the top zaniness and have an uncanny ability to respond to the most current topics in pop culture. Though the two are fundamentally different shows, they have an eerily similar ability to poke fun at other anime, games, current trends, and even themselves.
While there's no anime that perfectly matches the absurdity that Pop Team Epic, these anime feature several elements of what it is that makes Pop Team Epic such a special show. If Pop Team Epic's absurdity is beyond your comprehension, don't worry, even those working on it don't fully comprehend it. Intentionally absurd and "crappy," Pop Team Epic is one of those shows that you either love or hate.
Let us know what you think of Pop Team Epic and similarly ridiculous anime in the comments below.