PUNI PUNI POEMY (2001)

 

Format: 2 28-minute OVA episodes

Rating: R (BN, AC, AL, V)

Type: Comedy

American Production: A.D. Vision

English Dub Production: ADV Films

Japanese Production: J.C. Staff

 

Grading

 

Premise:

A-

Story:

C

Writing:

B

Character Design:

B

Mecha Design:

C

Animation:

B

Artistic Merits:

B

English Dub:

C+

Musical Score:

C+

Songs:

B

Opener:

B+

Closer:

B

 

 

Humor Content:

B+

Action Content:

B

Drama Content:

n/a

 

 

DVD Presentation:

B

DVD Extras:

B

 

 

OVERALL:

B

 

Synopsis

      Orphaned when her parents are apparently killed by space aliens, hyperactive 10-year-old Poemi winds up living with the family of best friend Futaba, which consists of seven sisters of varying ages charged with defending the world – although, in a cruel irony, none of their special powers are offensive. When a crisis arises that threatens her entire city, she learns to gut a magical fish to trigger her transformation into the magical girl Puni Puni Poemi, who is charged with protecting the world and does so with great zealousness. Meanwhile Poemi passionately pursues her goal of ultimately becoming a voice actress and catching the attention of the boy K.

 

The Long View

      Puni Puni Poemy is a spin-off of Excel Saga made by the same demented team. It shares musical themes and artistic style with Excel Saga, as well as duplicating its frenetic pacing and absurdity and working in several sly references to the original. Having seen Excel Saga is not absolutely essential to understanding Puni Puni Poemy, but you won’t understand some of the jokes if you haven’t seen at least part of Excel first.

      Like Excel Saga, Poemy’s bread and butter is the parody game. Prominent ones include Sailor Moon, Space Battleship Yamato, Dragonball Z, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, but there are too many to name them all here and I’m not even sure I caught them all. Poemy also targets entire anime genres, most notably the Magical Girl and Super-Hero Team genres. Elements of Japanese culture are also prominent targets for the series, and even the seiyuu themselves are not immune; Poemy’s constant references to herself as Kobayashi are best understood if one knows that Yumiko Kobayashi (one of the “Excel Girls” from Excel Saga) voices the title character, and references to the director, the writer, other seiyuu, and even the voice acting profession itself litter the series. As with Excel Saga, the director himself is embodied in the character Nabeshin (a composite of WataNABE SHINichi, the director’s real name) and a cameo of Koshi Rikdo, the writer for Excel Saga, can also be spotted if one looks carefully.

      Although Excel Saga itself had a reputation for being outrageous, Poemy takes this to new extremes. Some of its humor could at best be described as edgy, such as the S&M-themed content or the 10-year-old lesbian who has some rather adult notions about what she’d like to do with Poemy/Poemi. The aliens who have hairy balls hanging by long stalks from their crotches (insert your own joke here) are another example, as are the odd items in the Aasu household in some scenes (look carefully at the lamp in the bedroom in the second episode). And of course there’s the seemingly-obligatory breast-size jokes. The series also relentlessly teases the viewer with its fan service, which always manages to just barely avoid showing any actual frontal nudity but offers tons of suggestive shots. This is, I believe, supposed to be another of the jokes. The R rating I have given the series is definitely well-earned, as is the comment on the DVD case which says: “If we don’t offend you in some way, then we haven’t done our jobs!”

      The technical merits for Poemy are decent but unremarkable. The English dub makes a valiant effort to keep up with the rapid-fire delivery of the original Japanese vocal performances, but in some places this causes the dialogue to become muddled. For this reason I recommend the subbed version instead, since you can always use the Pause button to have time to make out what was just said. (And you’ll need to do this frequently.) The dub is still worth watching, however, since some of the jokes change a bit in the English version. The opener, which mixes animation with live-action shots of lead voice actress Yumiko Kobayashi (my, is she cute!) and is also sung by her, is a delightful if ridiculously silly bit, and the closer (which she also sings) is catchy in tune and amusing in lyrics. Unlike Excel Saga, though, you won’t find jokes imbedded in the credits.

      Puni Puni Poemy is not a series for everyone. It is intended for those well-versed in anime and Japanese culture, and for those who are not easily offended. Such people should find it to be quite funny, though whether or not it’s funnier than Excel Saga is a matter of opinion; personally, I think it tries a little too hard and recycles Excel Saga a little too much. It is an amusing series, though, that’s worth a look for otaku searching for high-energy comic relief.

 

DVD Extras

      Although the DVD design for Poemy isn’t bad, it doesn’t live up to the nearly unbeatable standard set by Excel Saga. It does have one of the oddest special features I’ve ever seen on an anime DVD, however: the “English With Weird Subtitles” option, which gives all the subtitles in Pig Latin. (No, really.) More ordinary extras include:

·  Company previews

·  Clean opener/closer

·  Character Art Gallery

·  Production Sketches

·  Behind The Scenes – A 13-minute featurette about the making of the audio commentary track. Most valuable for allowing you to see many of the key English voice actors.

·  Audio Commentary track – Available for both episodes, it features the director and numerous cast members. Silly, but sometimes interesting.

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Poemi/Puni Puni Poemy/ Kobayashi

Cynthia Martinez

Futaba Aasu

Luci Christian

Hitomi Aasu, minor roles

Kira Vincent Davis

Mitsuki Aasu

Jessica Boone

Shii Aasu

Monica Rial

Itsue Aasu, minor roles

Lorissa Wolcott

Mutsumi Aasu

Yu Haul (?)

Nanase Aasu

Kelly Manison

Nabeshin

Brett Weaver

Kumi Kumi, Mage Queen

Tiffany Grant

Narrator, minor roles

John Swasey

magic fish

Hilary Haag

K

John Laskowski

Alien 1, minor roles

Andy McAvin

Alien 2, minor roles

Rob Mungle

Ball people, minor roles

Greg Ayres,

Paul Sidello,

Spike Spencer

 

 

 

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