Friday, 26 August 2011

Warped Anime: Popee the Performer

I admit that I rarely particiapte in the anime discussion threads on the Anime-Planet Forums, and I generally tend to be relatively solitary when it comes to watching series. But from time to time its fun to get caught up in a whirlwind of chatter about a specific anime - especially if that show happens to be as warped as Popee the Performer.

I initially discovered this series a few days ago after Sothis was raving about how messed up it is, and having looked at some of the screenshots from it, I couldn't help but crave seeing this nightmareish animation for myself. I want to say that the premise is simple as essentially it's 39 four-minute episodes filled with random slapstick violence, but when you look at it, Popee is anything but straightforward. First up, let's take a glimpse at the main players:

First off is the titular character, Popee. This guy is without a doubt the creepiest of the bunch. With his violent jealous streak and clown-like rape faces, Popee will pretty much guarantee that you won't sleep well at night ever again.

Every messed up protagonist needs a long-suffering sidekick, and this poor wolf creature is just that. Sporting a variety of masks with every facial expression under the sun, this poor sod bears the brunt of Popee's tricks and anger.

About a third of the way in, the nightmare bunny from hell and his wolf guy companion are joined by Papi, some creepy, and decidedly gay minstrel resembling the sun. In a way this guy is probably more disturbing than Popee, especially when you see what his mustache can do...
Basically, these three live in a circus-type place and go around performing various tricks and stunts in their own special little way. And by special I mean weird. And by weird I mean deranged. Throughout the course of the series, Popee manages to rip off his eyelids, blow air up a frog's arse, crap bullets, impale himself on a giant sword, and die in a countless number of ways. Comedy violence is certainly the order of the day, but instead of being entirely slapstick there are definite sinister overtones running throughout. The cast seem to think nothing of eating each other, exacting disproportionate revenge or coming back to haunt their "friends". This along with the oftentimes terrifying imagery certainly makes for some of the most nightmareish entertainment I've ever seen. If you thought Funny Pets was messed up, you 'aint seen nothing yet!

Sadako has NOTHING on Popee

I don't know what's more terrifying; Zombie Popee or the fact that there are TWO of the creepy rabbit bastards!
The more I watched Popee the Performer the more difficult it was to decide what I actually thought of it. Even now, I can't quite decide if it's utter garbage or a work of pure genius. There's no mistaking the fact that it had me in fits of laughter with its batshit crazy sketches; but in this case, does batshit crazy actually equal quality? The answer to that is probably not. But regardless of it's artistic merit or even if the creator of this should still be allowed to freely roam the streets, Popee the Performer is certainly entertaining and, much like a can of pringles, once you pop, you can't stop!

For me what actually made the series was reading through (and eventually participating in) the epic thread that it spawned. Seeing this collective WTF?! rapidly morph into what I can only describe as a cult (and one which I ended up subscribing to!) is one of the most hilarious things I've seen in some time! Certainly, the thread is well worth a read, even if you don't pick up the series.

Go on, watch this late at night, I dare you!

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