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|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Analysis : 3 R1 Episodes Watched|
Well honestly I didn't really think this is the cat's meow that Stretch thinks it is. The R1 voices want me to run outside screaming. I'll finish the first disk but a BUY or a RENT? I don't think so. I would prefer School Rumble or Azumanga Daioh or even Doki Doki School Hours over this.
You know this is probably the first time Stretch and myself have had a differing review.
Last updated Friday, January 05 2007. Created Friday, January 05 2007.
Anyone who is a fan of both Japanese pop culture and wacky comedy must watch this omega-funny-of-the-year show! Take Azumanga Daioh, but make Chiyo-chan not just a child genius but the teacher (and instill her with some of the irresponsible attitude that Yukari-sensei had). Also, add some of the weirdness of, say, Excel Saga--like "Becky" being monitored by aliens in outer space. Include plenty of jokes relating to Japanese culture and contemporary lifestyle. And, of course, throw in an intelligent white rabbit, a "magical healing girl", a bad luck fairy, a tanuki, and the cat God of vending machines (not to mention numerous other characters). Now you've more-or-less got PaniPoni Dash! This is a show which would only make complete sense to someone who had been born and raised in Japan; for example, a typical translation and cultural note:|
"Note: This is a reference to the Ganbaruman corner of the variety show "Super Jockey" where contestants had to hold their breath in a bowl of water"
Man, are fansubs getting sophisticated nowadays, or what? In fact, only abbreviated notes were included within the episodes themselves, and much longer ones are provided in a seperate file when you download (see episode 19). Let me reiterate: this is quite possibly the most thoroughly Japanese anime comedy you will ever see. If you are not curious about pop culture in Japan, much of this will be wasted. To be honest, I myself was initially left feeling confused and frustrated by the difficulty I was having making sense of the overall plotline of the show (perhaps because, for all intents and purposes, there is none!). Thinking back, it kind of reminds me of the way I felt the first time I saw FLCL. PPD is kind of slow getting started, and I fear it will be unfairly hammered by "expert" critics who base their reviews on a series' first volume alone. However, this outlandish, whacked-out show has been steadily growing on me. The humor exists on so many different levels, ranging from sight gags (that you will miss if you blink), to the more-or-less conventional silly-funny antics of the loveable characters, to sophisticated Japanese pop culture parodies, to the scrawlings on the classroom blackboards--it's funny even when half the jokes go over my head. Perhaps this show would appeal most to a relatively small portion of all viewers, who have a quirky, strange sense of humor that's hard to define. But give it a try, and maybe you'll find it to be hilarious.
I should also mention that I love the OP and ED songs--there are, in fact, no less than three OP songs and two ED ones, all of above average quality. There is also a plethora of hilarious eyecatches scattered about the episodes--clearly this was a labor of love, with far more effort devoted to it than the average anime series. I like this show so much that I've started rewatching the episodes, comparing them to the exhaustive "Detailed Notes" this time. Since the fraction of the jokes I "got" the first time around barely scratched the surface, I find there's plenty of comedy still to be had, and it's a lot easier to make sense of the episodes the second time around. It's safe to say that this has become my single favorite anime ever. I only wish I had a clue what "PaniPoni Dash" means...
I first got a chance to sample the ADV English dub of PPD at a screening at an anime convention. My first reaction was "Ahh!! Travesty!!", but before long it wasn't annoying me anymore (except the alien captain, who has been given a strange accent for some reason). Having no subtitles to contend with, for once, I noticed at least one sight gag I'd never caught before. PPD is so chock-full of visual humor that it really helps to have your eyes free; it's fun in both subbed and dubbed modes, like two shows for the price of one. I did notice a few minor visual changes ADV had made, like a quick display of the principal characters in one of the classrooms. The people around me were laughing uproariously (especially the girl directly behind me), which suggested maybe my tastes aren't all that weird after all. ADV's cultural notes weren't played at the convention, but I've purchased my own copy since then; even though I have the fansubs I love this show so much that I was willing buy the R1 volumes, in part for the extras they would (hopefully) contain. I read that, inexplicably, the Vid-notes cannot be played in subtitle mode, which, if true, would have been infuriating; but that was a false alarm, they play just fine in subbed mode. They are a lot of fun, though not nearly as exhaustive as the notes I downloaded with the fansubs. Those fansub notes were kind of overdoing it, and it was a pain to be fumbling around with sheets of paper in order to match the comments to what was happening on the TV screen. Half of the comments on the ADV notes still meant nothing to me, being references to shows I'd never heard of. Some jokes inexplicably didn't have any note to explain them. But some were both fascinating and amusing--did you know there was a martial arts video game in which, due to a bug, you could kill your opponent just by kicking him enough times in the shins? The Vid-notes are priceless, but otherwise the extras are disappointing. They consist largely of the American VAs reminiscing about their own High School days, which is a waste of time; either tell me something about schools in Japan, or about the dubbing process over here. Nevertheless, I still look forward to recieving each new ADV volume of PPD, and always notice numerous things I'd never caught before.
Having read a number of reviews which have come out after the R1 release of PaniPoni Dash, it becomes clear that this is a love-it-or-hate-it show:
Loved It: "Pani Poni Dash! may be a retread of familiar themes, but it attacks those themes with such energy and uniqueness that there's no mistaking it for any other classroom comedy" --Carlo Santos, Anime News Network
Hated It: "these first five episodes of the series come across as amazingly bland... It's certainly filled with tons of parodies and in-jokes, between dialogue and background gags, but that's not enough to properly carry a show and it didn't carry these first five episodes at all" --Chris Beveridge, Anime on DVD
Loved It: "Paniponi Dash V1: Lethal Lesson is the kind of wacky, weird, and wonderful anime series that fans of movies and pop culture references will enjoy repeatedly. It was light, fluffy, and fun to watch and if later volumes are half as good as this one, they'll be better than a great many competing titles on the market" --Don Houston, DVD Talk
Hated It: "for those of us who have really been around the block on anime, this isn't all that new or all that funny. Madcap can be done well... In comparison, Pani Poni Dash! is just manic bad, not manic good" --Jason Huff, The Anime Review
Loved It: "The dub is one of the best I've heard in recent memory, retaining all of the original Japanese's nuances while taking enough liberties to keep the dialogue natural and unforced. Recommended to anyone who can deal with its frenzied pace and high cultural barrier" --Geoffrey Miller, DVD Verdict
Somewhere between Loved and Hated It: "You should NOT judge the show on those first episodes... (it) Takes a while to get good, but once it does, it's a lot of fun to watch" --Tim Jones, THEM Anime Reviews
(Keep in mind that other than the final comment, these all refer to the first volume alone)
Yes, it would be just as easy to find PPD's quirky sense of humor to be baffling as hilarious. If you're looking for a Japanese comedy that any westerner would find amusing as well, this is not the show for you. If you are disillusioned with the frequently vulgar humor of America, and curious about what sort of comedy is popular in Japan, this is exactly the show for you!
P.S: In a recent survey of the "Top 100 Animated TV series as Voted by Japanese Viewers" PaniPoni Dash was rated as the 14th best anime series of all time. In a "recent poll of several thousand Japanese TV viewers" (according to Protoculture Addicts magazine), PPD was their third most popular anime, exceeded only by Fullmetal Alchemist and Evangelion!
P.P.S: One more loved it review (referring to the series as a whole): " There's definitely a skill involved in making nonsensical, goofy comedies, and Paniponi Dash has it in surplus. Another ex-ADV title, this madcap (and a little bit exhausting) comedy takes spontaneity to new heights. It is the epitome of randomness." --Bamboo Dong, ANN
Last updated Wednesday, May 06 2009. Created Friday, November 18 2005.
Episode 12 has been released as a fansub.
Last updated Saturday, November 12 2005. Created Saturday, November 12 2005.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||http://www.paniponi-dash.com/|