I had read about PaniPoni in passing and decided to start watching it now. After seeing the first four episodes, I like it so far but I also have my criticisms. I’ve also come up with an equation for how I view the series’ influences.
Sensei no Ojikan + Negima + Azumanga + Excel Saga = PPD!
Now let me try to explain the equation. It’s similar to Sensei no Ojikan and Negima in that there’s a diminuitive teacher at a high school who is a genius and that a student doesn’t hesitate to remind the teacher that he or she is kawaii.
It’s like Excel Saga because there are some obscure parodies and there seems to be no carry-over from episode to episode. There’s also a Menchi-type character in Mesousa, Becky’s companion rabbit.
Many of the characters are similar to those found in Azumanga Daioh. Rei Tachibana acts like Yomi, Himeko is energetic like Tomo, and the class rep could be seen as a malicious Osaka. There’s also a omnipotent cat god, but here it’s a trickster who hides in vending machines and gives out “body-temperature” drinks. Yeah, that’s right – “body temperature”.
1. Rebecca Miyamoto
Even though Becky is 11 years old, she acts and dresses maturely (although she does sport Lain-like PJs in ep 4) and wants to be treated like an adult. She should be, considering she graduated from MIT in, I think, robotics. She even tries to prove she can hold her “booze” by pulling a Misato.
Anyway, I like her character because she’s not a pushover and makes snappy comebacks. She is motivated and actually wants her students to learn, a true academic. Also, her seiyuu also voiced Miku Miyama (the little girl in the Tana arc) in Zettai Shonen so it seems oddly funny to hear trying to get her students to pay attention.
2. Episode Titles
Each episode title is based on a Japanese adage or proverb. I like this because it tries to teach me aspects of another culture. Supposedly, the title has something to do with the plot of the episode but I usually forget it halfway into that episode.
3. Theme Music
One of the quirks of PPD! is that it has three different OPs and five different EDs. You have to remember that this is a 26-episode show and not a long-running series like Naruto or One Piece.
Both the opening and closing titles have been stuck in my head for the past couple of days. The opening (for ep. 2-9) is “Kiiro Vacanes” – a catchy, 60s girl rock tune that has a very groovy chorus. The ending (“Girlppi”) is also catchy but in the J-Pop 4-syllable-per-measure-rhythm sense. Each episode’s ED also has different characters involved, at least until “Girlppi” gets replaced in episode 8.
4. IT HAS A BONUS ENDING!
1. Speech patterns
Two students have a phrase they say almost every time they open their mouth. The more subtle one is “blue haired” girl (Sayaka): she adds “of the year” to the end of her sentences. The more pronounced one is Himeko Katagiri, who describes things as “OMEGA (something)” and whenever she’s thinking “maho”. That might wear on me…if there weren’t good jokes on them. One of my favorite Becky-comebacks (ep. 3) is “omega baka!” and in ep 4, the class rep flips Himeko’s ‘ma’ into a ‘mu’ so I think I’ll come to accept her vocal quirks.
2. Possibly too support characters
In the first episodes, I was introduced to about 16 or so characters, more than half from either classes 1-A or 1-B. Keeping track of this many support characters in a comedy anime might as hard as naming all of Negi Springfield’s students, but I’m sure that as I watch, I’ll start to relate them to their characteristics to names. It seems that Becky can’t remember their names either, so I’m not in a hurry.
3. Becky and curtains
It was a good running gag for the first couple eps but it may be starting to get a little old. Hopefully later she become less scared and stand up in the face of it but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Middle of the Road:
When they show a classroom at a side angle, it’s on a stage. Somehow whenever this happens, it reminds me of the conclusion of The Big O. Maybe it’s a running gag parody of that show or maybe it’s just a camera the animators like to use. I feel it’s worth pointing out nonetheless.