As an eternal optimist, I really wanted to like this show; random humour and the otaku nod to fans usually have me lapping up any serving of amusing antics. My kind nature was instead bitch-slapped into submission by one of the biggest heaps of god-awful unfunny trash I have seen in a long time. Even before the closing credits of the first episode rolled, I anticipated a humongous disappointment. It wasn’t until six episodes in, with no shining moments of redemption, that I realised quite how bad this show was going to be. Praying for the finale to finally arrive, I found it an uphill struggle via an impossible incline to get to the end of Paniponi Dash!. The episodic nature was hard work, and consistent repetition of mildly amusing jokes soon killed off any humour that may have lingered.
Parodies only work if you’ve seen the target subject matter, and much of the show’s shtick is based on bizarre Japanese shows and culture that only a native or an infatuated weeaboo will recognise. From the blatantly obvious that may raise a smile (Indiana Jones and Super Mario Brothers) to the little-known (poking fun at an insurance company called Aifu..?), nothing is sacred in the eyes of the writers. Some puns are understandable, and can be funny as a result, but the entertainment was killed for me as I struggled to keep up with the never ending nuggets of information about the current joke. I never thought I’d say this, but it was too fast and too much all at once....
One of the things that really irked me about Paniponi Dash! was a lack of situational background. The adorable Becky just arrives at the Peach Moon Academy, but there is no build-up or explanation to how she actually got the job. Seeing an eleven-year-old-girl being interviewed to be a high school teacher could have been very amusing, but the script writers chose to ignore this amongst other prime opportunities. This kind of omission just gives the whole show a flailing and deficient feel: like running the wrong way up an escalator, the legs are pumping furiously, but it essentially is going nowhere, fast.
Maybe it was because I didn’t “get” the obscure Japanese satire used, or maybe it’s because the entire show feels like recycled trash that I’ve seen before but in a successfully humorous show. Either way, I am glad to have finally expunged this woeful offering from my watching list.
Fulfilling their reputation for quality, SHAFT deliver a slightly above average offering that encompasses multiple visual styles. The cutesy girls are satisfactorily drawn, but the real outstanding animation comes from the varied appearance designed to complement the episode subjects. Switching the setting to a retro computer game, or paying tribute to Patlabor in one of the opening sketches, the artwork has some solid moments. Sadly, like many interesting gemstones, there are a multitude of imperfections; in what I can only describe as visual rape, there are scenes that need to be paused to read subtitles, footnotes, and a deluge of extra character information that flashes past at warp speed.
One of the only things I looked forward to in Paniponi Dash! was the surprisingly amazing kick-ass soundtrack. Seamlessly blending together numerous contrasting musical genres, from a swinging sixties style opening to a tuneful magical girl spoof, the whole audio medley works extremely well. A polished seiyuu cast also perform admirably, giving depth to a tender young Becky and an excitable charm to the hyperactive Himeko.
Along with the story, I find characters are extremely important in overall enjoyment of an anime. Consistent with a dreadful script, the imperfect characters feel as if they are designed to disappoint. Part of the problem stems from an unrelenting recurrence of stereotyped jokes for each girl, resulting in the initial humour dying on its ass before the show’s midpoint. Underage teacher Rebecca is either being a bolshie tearaway, or an annoyingly tearful brat and her flip-flop personality results in her being jarring rather than lovable.
The rest of the class consists of a handful of forgettable characters that will definitely appeal to some, but feel like the result of too much spoofing for others. The shy moe, an aggressive tsundere... originality means nothing in Paniponi Dash!, and I struggled to find anything likable about a translucent supporting cast. Of the wide-ranging personalities featured in the show, the relationship between the abused bunny Mesousa and a peculiar god-cat who lives in a vending machine was bizarrely the most believable. For something with so much potential, this felt like a complete waste of what could have been a priceless sister sorority.
I know there is a huge section of the anime community who love Paniponi Dash!, but it just didn’t excite or interest me. A host of two-dimensional characters and hit-and-miss puns made 26 episodes drag out over 4 weeks, and with no urge to pick it up each time, it quickly became a visual chore. Someone made an interesting comment that summed up the entire series for me: this is reverse plagiarism. You feel like you’ve seen much of the content before in more recent shows, such as Lucky Star or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, but the newer offerings do it with certain indulgent aplomb.
She’s smart, talented, and the newest teacher at Momotsuki Academy; but she’s also… 11 years old?! Named Becky Miyamoto, this pint-sized MIT prodigy wants nothing more than to be a respectable educator, but all her students do is treat her like an adorable child! With space aliens, a class full of stereotypes (and one girl who is normal!), and a quick temper standing in her way, Becky will try her best to shape the eager young minds of tomorrow before she hits puberty!
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As a not-so-closet perv, I love watching anything involving panty-shots, handfuls of cleavage and an innuendo fuelled plot. Although most of my reviews will err on the risque, I also love the obscure, the twisted and things that make you think - drop me a line if you want to discuss any of them!