Aya HisakawaTomoko KawakamiOmi MinamiAtsuko Enomoto
Puni Puni Poemy
Medium: OVA
Year: 2001
Director: Shinichi Watanabe
Writer: Yousuke Kuroda
Studio: J.C. Staff, Victor Entertainment
Actor: Yumiko Kobayashi, Atsuko Enomoto, Aya Hisakawa, Kotono Mitsuishi, Omi Minami, Satomi Koorogi, Shinichi Watanabe, Tomoko Kawakami, Yuka Imai, Yumiko Nakanishi, Daisuke Kishio, Kan Tanaka, Mikako Takahashi, Misa Watanabe, Ryu Itou, Shigeru Kitayama, Takeharu Onishi, Yousuke Kuroda
Keywords: anime, SF, comedy, parody, boobs
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 2 episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=865
Website category: Anime early 00s
Review date: 22 January 2011
Puni Puni Poemy isn't actually that funny, but you can't argue that it's not frenzied and bonkers. It's a mish-mash of parody, obscenity, non-sequiteurs, breaking the fourth wall and whatever random gibberish the director happens to feel like throwing in. Sometimes I laughed, but more often I was just staring at it, slightly stunned. I wouldn't say it's good, but it's an experience.
It's an OVA spin-off of Excel Saga, but in an unusual way. The only in-story link is that Puni Puni Poemy was the name of a fictional anime that people were talking about during Excel Saga episode 17. However it feels like more of the same. It stars the same voice actors, with Yumiko Kobayashi again playing a motormouth lead role that's indistinguishable from her Excel. It has the same "explosion in a script factory" approach to comedy. It has the same awareness of the fact that it's an anime, even including lots of Excel Saga references and a flashback to Kobayashi's time as a voice actress on that show. It has crossover characters, most importantly the director's alter ego Nabeshin. It's even set in the same city, with Excel and Puni Puni Poemy both going to Dog Stew School.
The (ha ha) plot involves Poemy, a schoolgirl of insane energy levels who refers to herself as Kobayashi because she's bad at staying in character. She's probably about eleven, but she still spends a lot of time having nude transformation sequences and having her genitals digitally fogged because she's running around bottomless. Her best friend has a schoolgirl crush on her, which is common in anime but not to this extent. Lesbians ahoy. Poemy's ambition is to become an anime voice actress, but as it happens she's going to be transforming into Puni Puni Poemy and saving the world, whether it likes it or not. (Puni Puni means "squishy".) There's also a family of seven fanservice sisters, each of whom is also (a) a superhero with a useless power, and (b) an opportunity for nudity. One has monstrous breasts and never thinks or talks about anything else, while another is a bondage S&M queen.
The show is as obscene as Excel Saga's infamous episode 26, but in new ways. It was thus banned in New Zealand, because of the characters' ages. (Hitomi is three!) Personally I think that's a little silly, but it's certainly true that the show's stampeding over any boundary of taste it can find and then drawing attention to its own excess for the sake of comedy. There are aliens with spinning attack testicles, for instance.
I can't say I noticed as much parody this time, except perhaps of sleazy fanservice anime. There are of course references to other shows, but the one that's stuck with me has done so because it's disturbing and makes no sense. This is an opening sequence in which Puni Puni Poemy fights and kills a bunch of other magical girls, from Sailor Moon, Majokko Tickle, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Majokko Megu-chan, Mahoromatic, Cardcaptor Sakura and Sally, the Witch. They're all on a spaceship. Why? Don't ask me. However the breaking of the fourth wall is way beyond even that in Excel Saga, with Poemy being an odd combination of herself and her voice actress. It sort of stars both of them. The real Kobayashi even appears in live-action sequences, for instance dancing (horribly) in the title sequence and then having a surreal return after the end credits of part two.
Oh, and you know how magical girls will have a friend who's a talking animal? Poemy's is a fish. You wouldn't want to be that fish.
Did I like this show? Yes, I think so. Sort of. It's memorable, anyway. I can't see myself being in a hurry to rewatch it, though. It did make me laugh, although sometimes not through normal humour but instead as a kind of "what the hell was that?" I think I'm fond of the show, since it's hard to dislike something this manic and full-on. It's still a mess, though.
Look out for the Death Star, complete with (briefly) Star Wars-like music.