What They Say
You don’t need to be crazy to watch this, but it sure helps.
Beautiful Girls! Naughty Aliens! Dead Fish! When evil aliens kill Poemi Watanabe’s parents, she doesn’t get mad, she gets even… but first she moves in with the seven crazy Aasu sisters, discovers the magic power of dead fish, develops a serious crush on a local octopus, experiences the bizarre and varied wonders and joys of fighting terrorists, S&M;, giant robots and becoming a super hero… all while pursuing her REAL ambition of becoming a professional voice actress!
From the creators of Excel Saga, it’s the weirdest, wildest, rudest and out and out most demented anime ever made, Puni Puni Poemi!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded at 224kbps while the English language dub gets a solid presentation as well. The two episodes here feature a very active forward soundstage mix with lots of dialogue being placed all over as the characters, much like in Excel Saga, are pretty much all over the place. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and quite shrill in many places. We didn’t notice any dropouts or distortions during regular playback of this or the commentary track.
Originally released to video back in 2001, the OVAs are presented in their original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer here has a slightly elevated sense of color and vibrancy than the Excel Saga series but looks much like it otherwise. Colors are vibrant and look great as there’s a wide variety used as well as a number of styles throughout. Aliasing and cross coloration is virtually non-existent which results in a very clean and great looking transfer. There’s a lot of very fast moving and varied animation throughout this that goes beyond what Excel Saga did and the authoring manages everything very well and avoids any noticeable macroblocking or blurring.
Released in a clear keepcase, the cover here is very heavy on the pink with the background being a very light pink polka dot piece. The character art on top of it provides even pinker and other soft colors while mixing in the comical signs to give it that wacky feel. The cover looks good overall with it being something of a partial cast shot and you can never go wrong with a shot of Nabeshin on the cover. The back cover provides only a little bit of artwork but a number of headshots of all the Aasu sisters. The usual array of production and technical information is available though it’s in all sorts of different directions and all over the cover at that. With this being a clear keepcase, there’s a reversible cover. In fact, for fans of this show, both of the Japanese DVD covers are available here to be reversed and used as the front cover. They even worked it so that the spine would be half right depending on how you look at it. The insert is actually a fold-out poster while the back side provides a comical account of how the show came to be, complete with a note that the story is only half true. And at least with the first pressing, there’s a cute patch included with a kitty that says Poemy on it.
Going with some small cute images, there are two character shots on the main menu, each in a circle on opposite sides of the menu as episode selection, the other selections are along the bottom while the opening theme plays along and some bits of animation cycle through the logo. It’s not a very active menu, but it has just enough of that kind of style to it to fit perfectly with the show while still being minimal. Movement through submenus is quick and easy, though people with smaller monitors may blur in the extras section with the pink background and white title listings.
The extras are fairly standard material here for the most part but then there is? the commentary. The basic extras are things like the clean opening and closing (take extra time to check out the shoes or how well she runs!) and the character artwork gallery and production sketch gallery. An original extra here is a twelve minute behind the scenes piece (unedited!) that provides a look at the first couple of minutes of the commentary track as it was being recorded and the method used to do it. As when any of these people get together, the comedy does ensue and they all have a lot of fun for this.
The big extra for this release is the inclusion of a 5.1 commentary track, which is used to take some of the lower layered lines from the show and bring them to the fore so that you can actually hear them. A lot of these background lines are hilarious and are some of the raunchiest bits of the show. All of this is tied with the actors and director providing commentary on the show in between laughter. The commentary track covers both episodes (though it didn’t ‘stick’ when episode 1 ended and episode 2 started up) and is just really pure non-stop insanity. While I’ve enjoyed ADV’s commentary tracks before, this one takes it to a whole new level.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Back when Excel Saga was coming out, the big cautionary thing told to new people to it was that the last episode is just beyond all things in how wrong it is. Since the episode was basically direct to video, the creators got to really go crazy and made it as raunchy as they wanted and did things with characters that you normally only dream they’d do (unless you have ready access to doujinshi). Once the series was completed, they opted to do a two part OVA series based on the series that Pedro’s son was animating during the time he spent in America. Thus was born Puni Puni Poemy into the world of anime.
The series is both easy and hard to describe. In a most basic sense, we’re following the life of young Poemi Watanabe, a girl who has lost her parents to the hands of an evil alien and lives for revenge but also to become a voice actress. In her goal to gain revenge on the evil aliens, she comes down to Earth (as this is where the aliens are about to exact a worldwide takeover) and lives with the seven Aasu sisters, a group of women who are just so warped in every direction that each one would merit its own series to truly explore just how off the road of normality they are. In fact, one of the young sisters named Futaba finds herself romantically inclined towards Poemi. Of course, that’s all just implied but there is a lot of brazen nudity throughout the two episodes as characters end up in compromising situations.
That is, when they’re not fighting the military, dealing with Alien One or Alien Two that look like the invaders from Gatekeepers except that their weapon of choice is a sort of elastic waterball thingy that hangs from their crotch down towards their ankles. Alien One only has one while Alien Two has two and both use their weapons in disturbing ways, such as when Alien One tries to take down Nabeshin during the first episode and he swings it around like a whirlwind shield. The characters also deal with school situations, dead parents and giant invading robots that destroy cities full of the minimalist white characters that inhabit this world unless you’re a main character.
With Poemi making her way through these situations, alternating between her traditional schoolgirl outfit or her magical girl outfit, she deals out her special brand of justice through the hyperactive voice of hers while still trying to keep an eye on her potential true lesbian love. The show is so heavily littered with in-jokes, gags and jokes that it’s the kind of show, much like Excel, where you really have to pay a hell of a lot of attention to try and see and catch everything. For some people, that’ll overwhelm them completely, regardless of which language you choose since both Poemi’s master that style of speech perfectly.
Throughout both of these episodes, I only found myself actually laughing out loud during two segments. The first is during the fight sequence between Alien One and Nabeshin. From the introduction of the Alien and their elastic waterball weapons, I couldn’t help but laugh. But then you add in Nabeshin and small plushie versions of himself that launch from his hair as weapons while the two fight and even do some synchronized swimming. The other area that had me laughing very heavily was during the second half of the second episode when the villain has kidnapped the Aasu sisters and has them all undergoing various sexual torture techniques. These techniques are straight out of the standard hentai book but are done so comically well and with great lines in both languages. Of course, my enjoyment of hentai may have colored my enjoyment of that sequence, but it was just one of the most enjoyable parts of the show.
But for the other fifty minutes, I’ll say that I was pretty impassive. The bulk of the episodes really just felt like the half of Excel Saga that I didn’t care for. That series was very hit or miss depending on the episode and a good number of those barely got a chuckle out of me as well. Naturally, comedy’s one of the hardest things to do and there’s plenty of factors that can effect the enjoyment of it. But I barely got a chuckle, which tells me plenty. Whether it was from an overload of images to try and keep up with or jokes or the hypervoice, it was simply hard to find a lot of this funny. And with this supposing to be a gutbuster, it simply didn’t work for me.
There’s an additional piece to this release that’ll get some chuckles from people and that’s a special subtitle track that’s done up in pig-latin basically. This is the kind of track that will go over very well in club or group settings in getting extra continual laughs throughout the show whereas it starts to fall flat after the first couple of minutes. In fact, I’d almost say that the show in general is much more suited to group viewings than people by themselves since laughter is infectious and a show like this may make out better.
Puni Puni Poemy is a comedy and for whatever reason, I really didn’t laugh. Well, that’s not entirely fair. I didn’t laugh at the show itself but I was in stitches listening to the commentary track and laughing with the actors about what they were saying or their joking about their lines and some of the ‘hidden’ layered lines that the mix was able to highlight. There’s plenty that’s wrong about this show and it’s definitely similar in many respects to the last episode of Excel Saga, so people who loved that will likely find a lot to laugh about here. For me, there were just two really high moments throughout a show that I otherwise simply couldn’t get into.
Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles, Weird Subtitles, Textless Opening, Textless Ending, Production Sketches, Character Art Gallery, Behind the Scenes at the Commentary, English 5.1 Commentary
Content Grade: D
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A+
Released By: ADV Films
Release Date: April 6th, 2004
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.