Puni Puni Poemy

December 4, 2004 on 11:17 am | In Puni Puni Poemy | Comments Off on Puni Puni Poemy

Director Watanabe Shinichi, more commonly known as Nabeshin, created the ultimate mixed bag in 1999’s Excel Saga. More often shrill than hilarious, it was a frequently wearying series. Two years afterwards, Nabeshin followed up on the threat that he made in the series and spun Excel Saga off into the two part OVA Puni Puni Poemy.
In some ways, he’s more successful.

Aspiring seiyuu Watanabe Poemi, daughter of Excel Saga‘s Nabeshin and Kumikumi, returns from school one day to find her parents have been killed by aliens or something. She then throws herself on the mercy of the Aasu sisters, and through an amazing twist of fate (a man tuning a shamisen) Poemi is given a fish that can be gutted in order to transform herself into magical girl Puni Puni Poemy!
… right.

Puni Puni Poemy is full of randomness, but it generally makes some sort of sense. I believe that it works better than Excel Saga because it has focus and it doesn’t have a main character who just says random things. Poemy does spout many things out of her mouth, but they almost always have to do with the situation at hand. Now, this style of show could not be kept up for 26 episodes – lord knows Nabeshin has tried before – but at a lean two there are very few problems. Kuroda and the characters acknowledge that they’re not going for anything serious or with real meaning behind it.

In addition to the “subtle” lesbian subtext between Poemy and Futaba, there is an abundance of side characters who probably have something to do with some obsession but it’s not entirely clear. The Aasu sisters are a family of seven, between the ages of 28 and three, and they have no parents to speak of.
The purpose of having seven support characters is made clear in the second episode, when they’re all used for the purposes of exploiting pretty much every fetish prevalent in anime and hentai back in 2001. Of course, huge boobs are universal, but characters being too stupid to realise that they should wear a bra and button their shirt to relieve the pain caused is not.

Puni Puni Poemy is an ADV property, and they’ve done something quite similar to their treatment of Excel Saga. While generally there’s little to complain about in regards to ADV, they sometimes have a tendency to go for overly crass translations, possibly in order to convey attitude. Some of the crudities and vulgarities that Poemy spouts courtesy of them are really too much and not even real words. Has anyone outside of Beavis & Butthead ever actually used the word “bunghole” in conversation? It is not a cool word to translate from ketsu, when there are so many other nicer, more acceptable words for the posterior. Stuff like this puts a little bit of a damper on the whole experience.

Perhaps some of Puni Puni Poemy‘s success is grounded in the work of screenwriter Kuroda Yosuke, who also wrote the totally excellent Pretty Sammy OVA and TV series. Writing magical girl parody clearly comes naturally to him, and he’s got everything downpat, as well as throwing in some extraneous things for the hell of it.
Now, the cynic’s corner: Masuda Toshio’s music is entirely lifted from Excel Saga, with the exception of a new OP and ED and two sequences which directly cloned Macross‘ march of war and Star Wars‘ imperial death march. This comes across as incredibly lazy.

The second act of cynicism is that there’s only one real reason to have so many damned characters: to bring in the seiyuu as drawcards. Poemy is played by Kobayashi Yumiko, who sang the OP & ED for Excel Saga, but the Aasu sisters are a galaxy of stars from Mitsuishi “Feel the pain” Kotono to Hisakawa “Why do I have an accent?” Aya. So the first cynical act is to save money and the second is to make money. At least it’s not the sort of thing that Nabeshin would lie about; the characters frequently acknowledge the constant pandering of the camera.
Too bad, then, that the fan service sucks overall. It’s a wasted opportunity for an OVA – mass bathing scenes wherein nothing is revealed. That sort of fan service is really losing its lustre in this day and age, wherein nipples are now visible on TV anime. What a strange and exotic world we live in.

Puni Puni Poemy is largely pointless, but it’s also a bit of fun. Perhaps the reason it is more enjoyable than Excel Saga is simply because it’s one thirteenth the length.

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