Rebecca Miyamoto. Born of an American father and a Japanese mother. Graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the youngest graduate in the school's history. She then returned to Japan to become a high school teacher. However... she was only 10 years old at the time!
That's just the beginning. Rebecca's class consists of six students and several cloned extras, and she also has to deal with the general mayhem that ensues at Momotsuki Academy. Did we mention that she's accompanied by a mopey, luckless rabbit named Mesousa, and is being monitored by aliens? Then there's the strange cat-like creature who claims to be a god, likes to hide in vending machines and keep the sodas warmed-over with his body heat, and seems to be following Rebecca and her class...It's a Studio Shaft, reference-a-minute, madcap comedy series best described as early Mahou Sensei Negima!meetsExcel♥Saga.Originally licensed by the fine folks at ADV Films, now licensed by FUNimation.
An extended one for Mugihito, the voice of the Alien Captain, who played Jean-Luc Picard in the Japanese dub of Star Trek: The Next Generation — including a part where the aliens randomly turn into TNG lookalikes. At one point he watches the movie Excalibur, specifically the part where Patrick Stewart's character vainly attempts to lift the sword from the stone.
He also briefly turns into Keel Lorenz, also voiced by Mugihito.
There are some chalkboard gags that exhibits this. One episode there's a scribble saying "Embarrassing StaXment Are Prohibited" this refers to Aika Granzchesta'sCatch Phrase. Aika and Becky are both voiced by Chiwa Saito.
Kinda, for Akane Serizawa. She's voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro, the VA of Mint Blancmanche. Both characters are obsessed with mascot costumes.
In the OVA, Ichijou has the same hairstyle and school uniform as Kafuka Fuura. Both are voiced by Ai Nonaka.
Rebecca: Well, before I send you all home for the day, I should probably get around to taking attendance, so is there a Miyako Uehara here today? Sayaka Suzuki. Himeko Katagiri. Rei Tachibana. Kurumi Momose. And everybody else.
Ichijou is well and able to subdue ninjas, bungee jump with her hair, infiltrate spaceships, attack people with strings, summon the rain, create Hammer Space boxes and turn them into a plot device, and even plays a mean shamisen where she manages to break the strings without even strumming it.
Berserk Button: Don't call attention to Miyako's rather-large forehead, she might just burn you with the reflection off of it. Also, don't call her a "worm". In fact, on most days saying more than two words to her will piss her off.
Big Red Button: Ichijo has one on the back of her neck. Himeko presses it. Square Enix explodes.
Black Comedy: Characters die sometimes...then are brought back in the next. However, it can also zig-zag; the 14th episode has the 1-C class being blown up, by only being slightly burned, with poofy hair, but in the 18th episode, after a bomb blos up, we don't see if they're okay or not...
Chekhov's Gun: Happens when Ichijou's little sister accidentally being teleported onto the alien's ship apparently results in Class 1-C contracting a mysterious virus in the next episode, and a mushroom that appears on Himeko's head in THAT episode is revealed to be an alien that possesses her body in the episode after that. Neither give any indication that they're going to be important in the next episode, and can be easily lost amongst the numerous sight gags.
Also, the Ichijou Festival. Originally just a bizarre creation by Ichijou that pops up from time to time and occasionally eats somebody, but by the end of the anime it grows to humongous size and tries to destroy the Earth.
Chest Blaster: Rei gets boob missiles during the dream sequence episode. She's not happy about it.
Rei's mad mainly because Himeko grabbed her and shouted out said attack, when Rei was trying to think up of one of her own. Himeko's extremely fortunate they couldn't remember what happened when they woke up.
Ichijo once cut a conversation with Miyako short by rocketing into the stratosphere, and when Miyako caught up with her again and mentioned it, she went "What are you talking about?"
Cluster F-Bomb: When Miyako did an episode preview she starts to degrade into yelling "Dammit!" at the end of every sentence. In fact, this happened twice.
Cool Car: Miss Igarashi drives a 60's British sports car known as an MGB, though the series mistakenly calls it a Midget. They are two very incredibly similar looking vehicles, but cool nonetheless.
Corner of Woe: Call Kurumi "plain", and she'll retreat to the rabbit hutch, to sulk with the bunnies, while mumbling "la la lu". She's also been known to slowly turn invisible, when a rabbit hutch isn't readily available.
She instead gets pretty annoyed being called that by the second half of the anime, but no longer gets depressed.
Yuzuku Kuruso is one too with her and Akane in a strange relationship of friendship without the customes but natural enemies in costume due to the war between drama and film club. Her rooster costume also gets passed around to other characters.
Cry Cute: Becky, whenever she gets scared, pressured, or scolded by her students (usually by Rei), she becomes Super-Deformed and hides behind a curtain and breaks down; so cute indeed that Himeko even called it the "Hau-Hau".
Cultural Cross-Reference: While most of the jokes are based around Japanese pop culture and anime, there are moments where people like Colonel Sanders and Chuck Norris are mentioned.
Among many others. This is, after all, Studio SHAFT.
"Hey Rei, what's a Chuck Norris?"
Episode 15 has Himeko imagining their bus crashing onto the Discworld
Custom Uniform: Girls have the option of wearing neckties or bows of varying sizes. Some girls also wear cardigans of different colors. Legwear is evidently not regulated, as girls have different socks or stockings at different lengths and colors.
Behoimi's "Magical Girl" costume is actually just a pink-and-white version of the school's yellow-and-blue uniform, just with different accessories.
Misao wears an almost-all-white version of the uniform, with just a little blue trim.
Rei starts wearing a plain white shirt with necktie, beginning in episode 9.
Media joins the school in the same episode, and simply wears a maid's uniform. She does briefly wear a regular uniform in episode 26, though, by forcing Behoimi to switch with her.
Depending on the Writer: The last 4 episodes written by Sarah Alys Lindholm and Christine Auten (voice of Mesousa, and even directs these episodes) on the english dub goes into this direction by making the dialogue more looser than usual. Here's a sample from the most notably changed epsiode, the 26th episode:
Rei: (snaps fingers) Too cool for school, daddy-o.
Don't Celebrate Just Yet: An adorable and very polite little girl named Taeko, a "Jinx in Training," asked Mesousa if he could "please be unhappy" for her. She ends up placing a bomb on his forehead without him realizing it. Over the course of the episode, Becky, Behoimi, and Medea use Serazawa as a test dummy to develop a way to remove the bomb. By the end of the episode, they find Mesousa and tell him they found a way to safely remove the bomb! All the other girls start praising Becky for being the little genius that she is.... *BOOM*
Eccentric Mentor: Old Geezer, minus the "Power and respectability" part mentioned in the trope.
Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: Himeko's dreams are dotted with these all over the place. They all have her signature cowlick.
Emergency Impersonation: Played straight in that Rebecca disappears just as the PTA are about to sit in during her class and her loyal students all but force Serizawa to use her magnificent drama club skills to impersonate Becky at the last minute, or as Akane herself thinks, a "kagemusha". This trope is also subverted in that Rebecca had been present all along, using her disguise skills to appear as various other members of the cast (finally revealing herself as the school principal that was part of the PTA). This is revealed in a sequence that pays homage to Cutey Honey. She did this because she hated such visits from the PTA.
Emoticon: The show makes good use of 2chan emoticons. Especially on Kurumi's face when she's so absolutely befuddled that she has no clue what's going on, or when depicting certain periods of Japan's history.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Old Geezer. It's suggested in one episode his name might actually be Old Geezer (Watanuki was too disinterested to do more research on him).
Played straight with Alien Captain and his two Alien Subordinates. And Ichijou's little sister.
Evil Chef: Ichijo kills Mesousa by the end of the first episode with her poisoned sweet rice dumplings. But hey, this IS Ichijo we're talking about here....
Evolving Credits: Every closing sequence has subtle differences per episode, whether it's new chibis for the first sequence, or shuffling the playing cards around for the third and bookending it with two new tarot cards.
Fish Eye Lens: Used to make Miyako's forehead look even bigger than it is.
Fission Mailed: Halfway through the anime, Class 1-C is seemingly killed in an attack on the school. Cue the words "The End" and the credits rolling. Of course, since there's still several minutes left in the episode, the viewer should know there's something up.
Flipping the Bird: Becky does it in the first episode, much to the shock of her entire class.
Forehead of Doom: Miyako. Himeko takes this to its logical extreme in her dreams.
For the Evulz: Taeko, the Jinx Trainee, plants a bomb on Mesousa because she's training to make people be unhappy. She even asks him if she's doing a good job at making him unhappy. She's very polite about it.
Friend to All Living Things: Misao Nanjo is an extreme animal lover with many, many exotic pets that she often brings to school, ranging from crocodiles to giraffes to kangaroos. In one episode, she's convinced her father is a fish.
Gag Sub: Used in episode 22 as a joke itself, where the scenes frequently shift to an isometric RPG view, complete with text boxes and character portraits. By the end of the episode, the text boxes are having a completely different conversation from the characters.
Averted by Fumiko Orikasa, VA of Himeko, with Kirara from Samurai 7 and Yuko Okonogi from Dennou Coil. Who could have thought that Himeko would have the same VA for a mature older sister and a mild mannered girl?
Also, Rukia now has an ahoge and blue hair, as well as being the resident idiot.
Huge Schoolgirl: Suzune and Zola. Zola, particularly, is gigantically muscular and incredibly masculine in appearance, in addition to being the school's best athlete. Interesting to note is that she barely appears in the series.
Humble Goal: Ichijo claims her ultimate desire is to be a domestic kind of woman, like her mother. This is probably the most ordinary anything she ever did in the show.
Humongous Mecha: It only appears in a few episodes, but there is a giant mecha called Pani Poni X.
Also there's the upgraded version Pani Poni X Turbo R.
Karma Houdini: Just because she can, Ichijo creates the "Ichijo Festival", which is basically an entire universe existing within a fruit box. It later ends up being a threat to the entire planet, so it's up to Class 1-C to put a stop to it. Does anyone ever blame Ichijo for creating it or try to punish her for it? HELL NO.
She does get pulled out from the scene in case she ruins an emotional scene. She also indeed has slapsticky moments every once in a while.
Magical Girl: Behoimi. Well, not really — she's just deluded into believing she is and wrote a convoluted backstory for herself as one. Probably.
This is really subverted since she's not actually a magical girl and comes to realize this during the anime ridding herself of the pink hair, magical girl outfit, etc. Of course, it's then played straight when she actually does become a magical girl in the spinoff manga series.
Mascot: Mesousa is a parody of the cute mascot character.
Master of Disguise: Akane Serizawa has impersonated others with such accuracy that would make The Chameleon proud. Though, her Cat-ears hair tends to stick out.
Meganekko: Rei, Miyako, eventually Behoimi, sometimes Becky, and sometimes Serizawa.
Serizawa became one when she became a stand-in for Becky.
Meido: Media; additionally, the entirety of class 1-C don maid outfits for the school festival, as they are running a "Fighting Maid Cafe".
Meta Guy: Miyako often points out the insanity only to have everyone else shrug and dismiss it out of hand. This happens to Kurumi sometimes, as well.
Motive Rant: Miyata has a total nervous breakdown that quickly turns into one of these when she hears that, in mysteries, it's always the least conspicuous person — even though she doesn't fit the profile and didn't actually do anything.
Mr. Vice Guy: Rei will think of anything to help turn a profit. Even if it means selling coffee made from used, week-old coffee grounds.
Multicolored Hair: Rebecca's hair is part blonde, part pink. It's presumably due to her being half-American and half-Japanese, but it's also just part of the character and art style since the other characters have different shades of hair shown at all times as well.
In the early part of the series, Behoimi would have you believe she's a magical girl from the Magical Kingdom; later it's revealed that this is bunk. Media and Behoimi have, however, apparently served in "The Organization" and worked together on "The Battlefield." It's never explained what they did, but this has seemingly led to their advanced knowledge of weaponry.
No Fourth Wall: Occasionally the camera reveals them to be on a TV set, using a production crew, or at least using a lighting rig. A banner in Episode 9 welcomes the Pani Poni Dash film crew to the island; the crew can be seen shadowing the main characters throughout the episode.
The anime series itself does NOT break the fourth wall by referencing the audience, its voice actors, or that it's an animated production.
The characters themselves DO break the fourth wall in recognizing every once in a while that they're in a show — such as Himeko crashing into the camera in the first episode, Becky mentioning the number of episodes left near the end of the series and Kurumi hearing, then talking to the narrator in episode 23.
The Other Darrin: Alien Captain changed voice actors in episode 15 of the dub; lampshaded in the dialogue. "New helmet. But that's beside the point!"
Played with with Giant Salamander, who has a different voice in each appearance in both Japanese and English dubs.
Physical God: Lord Cat-Sama. He is God, after all. He just likes to live in a vending machine. Is that so wrong?
He also likes eat living cans with his VERY long prehensile tongue. Also, the cans scream for their life!
Polar Opposite Twins: The Kashiwagi Twins. Yuma is an extreme extrovert, Yuna is an extreme introvert. Yuma maliciously sabotages Yuna's hopes of being more accepted just to stay in the spotlight herself.
Serious Business: There have been several all-out wars within the Film Club about what film medium to use. Not to mention the intense rivalry spanning generations between the Film club and the Drama Club.
In the School Festival episode, Rei sees the cafe as a financial endeavor to make lots of money and obsesses over various cheap methods to earn maximum profit. She even says, "As long as there is monetary transactions involved, this is serious business!"
She's Got Legs: Every girl, but Kurumi is a sure winner, especially a scene in the OVA....
Otome. She sure shows them in one of the cards on the ED theme for the 18th episode.
Shout-Out: Almost constant. At least 50 per episode if you count all the chalkboard references.
Slapstick Knows no Gender: Himeko often receives physical abuse from Rei, Miyako, Becky and was also once received a Suzune karate chop. Otome is usually on the receiving end of Suzune's chops. Serizawa is also blown up quite a few times.
Something about a Rose: Nanjo's face is perpetually framed by roses in one episode. The frame even follows her around as she moves.
The Stinger: Used in almost every episode in between the credits and the next episode preview, and is typically reserved for some bizarre Shout-Out.
Even when she's not SD, it's a rare occasion when Ichijo's face isn't locked in a noseless SD expression with black circles for eyes.
Becky usually does this whenever she cries.
Supreme Chef: Rei is a damn good cook. She can make any Chinese food with enough firewood. After all, Chinese food is all about firepower! She's even good at substituting ingredients in a pinch. Poor giant salamander....
Wholesome Crossdresser: Mesousa has a number of crossdressing scenes, usually trying to pass himself off as another student... usually while in the presence of that student. The Tanuki qualifies as well, though he never fools anyone.
Wrestler in All of Us: Sayaka does an Argentine Backbreaker in the dreamworld. Everyone else present is rather unimpressed that this was the most fantastic special attack she could think of, since they were shooting forehead lasers and boob missiles.
Serizawa/Roboko does a German Suplex at one point.
Wrong Context Magic: Ichijou, the Class Representative, is weird even for a thoroughly Widget Series. She appears to have inexplicable (and unexplained) powers that ignore the laws of physics, reality, and sanity. For example, she once cut a conversation with Miyako short by rocketing into the stratosphere. When Miyako caught up with her again and mentioned it, she went "What are you talking about?"
Wrong Genre Savvy: When Class 1-C contracts a mysterious virus, Rebecca and Class 1-D attempt to find the original carrier. Unfortunately, 1-D starts trying to use Mystery Tropes to find him/her, blaming Akira for being a minor character and thus the one everyone would least suspect, and then Rebecca herself for bringing up the whole issue in the first place, and thus also the one everyone would least suspect.
Yank the Dog's Chain: Just when Mesousa is being respected and celebrated by Becky and her students for supposedly shrinking Ichijo's little sister back to normal, the space aliens retcon the entire scene to cover their own mistake, relegating the rabbit back to Butt Monkey status.
Alien Captain: "Well, that's just a rabbit."
You Are Number Six: Sayaka is sometimes referred to as "Number 6" or "Rokugou" due to being the sixth girl named Suzuki at the school.