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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Poyopoyo is here

Akitaro Daichi returns with another gag manga adaptation. Which if you’ve followed his career is enough of a reason to celebrate, as he’s got a better understanding than most on how to transfer them to screen. Namely, don’t lose the gags.

Even better though, is he’s brought with him Rie Ooshima. She worked with him on the Kuruneko adaptation. And very few other people. This interview with Daichi discusses how they approached that series. In particular he mentions not using storyboards (instead just using the strips) and pre-scoring both it and Gag Manga Biyori.

On Poyopoyo, Ooshima is working as Animation Director, and it’s certainly a fuller world than Kuruneko’s. The look is more in the spirit of Daichi’s work on Legendz and Grrl Power. And while the spherical cat is consistent with the manga’s design, the human characters have been given some spit and polish to make them more charming.

Noted animal voice actress Ikue Ohtani (Merle, Pikachu, Tony Tony Chopper) voices Poyo, the cat. And vocal legend Akira Kamiya plays the father of the family who adopt the cat. And apparently the grandmother too!

While Poyopoyo isn’t Kuruneko, I’ve been waiting so long for a Daichi gag show to get picked up by someone I’m unduly excited to see it on Crunchyroll. And who knows, maybe it will foster some interest in the superior Kuruneko and Gag Manga Biyori? (SPOILER: It won’t).

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#36 – Ojarumaru

The clip I found on Youtube had embedding disabled so click on the festive Ojarumaru above to link there.
And another highly popular, ignored by the English speaking world, directed by Akitaro Daichi, kids show. In fact it took the recent tragic suicide of it's creator Rin Inumaru for it appear on western fandom's radar. And then promptly drop off again.

So what's it all about?

Ojarumaru is a selfish boy from the Heian era who finds himself transported into the future to the modern day via the use of the king of the demon's stick. He moves in with that old adage – the typical Japanese family – and hilarity ensues.

Here's a sweet English summary of the shows appeal from a Japanese fan.

Daichi won a Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence in Animation award in 1999 for the show.

It, of course, remains untranslated into English.

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More uber-popular gag manga adaptations that swoop under the radar.

This is an ongoing show that began in 2002, based on the 1994 manga by Eiko Kera. It's the story of the life of a normal Japanese family.

…aaand that's about all you will find out about it on English language sites. Except that it, curiously, is one of the titles Funimation asked people to stop fansubbing in October this year. Which is curious.

Actually further investigation shows it was being hawked last year at film and tv markets as can be seen here. If “Funi” do have the license it will be interesting to see what they do with it. Especially in light of their adaptation of Crayon Shin-Chan.

One thing of note (at least to me) is that the series director is Akitaro Daichi. Who is the king of manga adaptations. In fact such is his skill at transferring the feel of a particular strip to animation that you tend to wonder what his OWN sensibilities are. Particularly when his own, more personal work includes industry insider joke Animation Runner Kuromi, silly ninja comedy Jubei-chan and the disturb-o-tastic Now And Then, Here and There. Not to mention the bizarre decision of recasting his lead from NATHAT as the lead in Legendz…

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