Poyopoyo (2012)


I’m back again with more winter anime for human beings. Poyopoyo is about a nearly perfectly spherical cat. It ran the entirety of 2012 for 52 episodes. Each episode is a smidgen under 3 minutes. So, if my arithmetic is correct it’ll take you 2 hours, 27 minutes and 20 seconds to watch them all.

It was director Akitaro Daichi’s second cat anime following the superior Kuruneko. The bad news is, you can’t watch Kuruneko in English. As second choices go though, Poyopoyo runs it close for quality, if not realism. The cat is generally cat like, but there are also just as many jokes about his unusual size and shape.

Rie Ooshima returns as animation director from Kuruneko bringing the visual charm she brought there, but with a wider colour palette. Plus, it’s got the quality page to screen gag conversion that we’ve come to expect from Daichi’s comedy shows.

It also has a number of voice actors who almost feel like a troupe nowadays given how regularly Daichi uses and reuses them. Suzuko Mimori, Akira Kamiya and Hidekazu Ichinose play the family who own Poyo. They since have appeared together, or alone in a number of other Daichi projects. These include in DD Fist of the North Star, Kamisama Kiss, and the post-Poyopoyo live action Edo Cafe.

Plus, it has top cartoon animal voice provider Ikue Otani (Pikachu, Chopper) as the voice of the titutlar cat.

Unfortunately we’ve not been delivered a second season, so the introduction of Poyo’s mother, sister and similarly spherical nephews remain tantalising out of reach.

You can see all the circular cat’s adventures at Crunchyroll.

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#65 – City Hunter

Despite never having seen an episode City Hunter actually plays an important part of my introduction to anime fandom.

It's 1990, and welcome to the world of grey imports and unintelligible Japanese videogames. Now I never had a PC Engine myself. It tended to be the spoilt rich kids who imported consoles. However, I did have a number of spoilt rich kids as friends, so I was familiar with the machine and it's games. And amongst the games folks imported for it was a Platformer RPG called City Hunter.

Yes, people did used to import Japanese text heavy games with no understanding of the language. They tended to rely on the fanzine “PC Engine Fanatics” for plot and gameplay information. I remember playing a Gameboy Lupin III game thinking it was the third game in a series of games called “Lupin”.

Bizarrely the City Hunter game did get an English translation for the ill-fated US launch of the PC Engine as Turbografx. Echoes of the Golgo 13 NES game US release. I remember it getting reviewed in Dragon Magazine by Sandy Petersen (the Call of Cthulhu RPG creator who'd go onto work on Doom and Quake). I also remember Dragon Magazine printing a letter about anime where a reader listed loads of shows that I wouldn't see for another 4 or 5 years.

But I digress. The point I'm making here is one I've made before, my anime fandom is born somewhat out of that early nineties import scene, and without it, I'd doubt I'd be doing this longwinded blogging challenge I've set myself. 

So what about City Hunter itself. Created by Tsukasa Hojo, it's the story of Ryo Saeba, a “sweeper” (bodyguard/P.I.) and his business partner, Kaori Makimura. Hojo also created the series “Cat's Eye” and an “alternate universe” sequel to City Hunter, “Angel Heart”. It's arguable that it is only an alternate universe due to adverse fan reaction to the main change in the series from City Hunter. However further changes have also been made to clarify it's alternativeness.

Ryo Saeba, I should point out, is voiced by voice legend Akira Kamiya (Mouri in Detective Conan, Kenshiro in FotNS, Mendou in Urusei Yatsura, to name but three).

Famously there is a live action version of City Hunter starring Jackie Chan. Indeed this is the form most familiar to the UK, and noted for a Streetfighter II parody sequence that has little to do with it's material of origin.

The City Hunter manga managed to get 5 volumes released in english before the collapse of Rajin Comics. The anime has been released by ADV.

Here's the second opening of City Hunter:

Bonus – Jackie Chan City Hunter Street Fighter Parody:

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