Wherever there's a head of hair being threatened by a criminal clipper, I'll be there!
Combining a thinly-disguised Affectionate Parody of Fist of the North Star with a plethora of bad puns, pop-culture parodies, and a cocktail of hallucinogens, Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo is every bit as weird as its name, which is also the name of its main character. Bo-bobo (as he's known) is a tall, muscular man with sunglasses, a large blonde afro, and tendencies towards childish, eccentric, or downright strange behavior that belies his serious demeanor. Not surprisingly, it filled with strange, bizarre or outright surreal imagery that has little to do with the plot most of the time.In the post-apocalyptic world of the year "300X", Bo-bobo fights the machinations of the Margarita (from marugarite, the Japanese word for "bald-shaven") Empire and their leader, Emperor Tsuru Tsururuna IV (Czar Baldy Bald IV), who has sent his "Hair Hunters" to shave the hair off everyone in the world. Ostensibly, Bo-bobo does this through the art of Hanage Shinken (translated as "Fist of the Nose Hair"), an oddball form of martial arts that allows him to manipulate his body hair to defeat his enemies. More often, though, he defeats his enemies by confusing the hell out of them with his oddball behavior and an assortment of sight gags (like little people living inside his afro). This is eventually revealed to be an actual fighting style in the world of Bo-bobo, known as "Hajike" (from the Japanese word "hajikeru", which literally means "to burst" but can also mean "to go crazy", translated as "Wiggin" ala the phrase "Wiggin Out"), where the object is to use these strange happenings to distract and confuse your enemy into submission.The show was very well liked in America and Japan; the dub wasn't a direct translation from the Japanese original (just look at the narrator), the voice acting in both versions was great (Kirk Thornton, an incredibly famous voice actor, voiced Don Patch and is considered to be one of his best roles), and it appealed to many people. However, the anime was cancelled after 76 episodes, and the American manga beginning at Volume 11 (renumbered) on hiatus, with only five volumes released (supposedly they are going to translate more in the future, according to an email). The Japanese manga is finished, but there is still high demand from fans to finish the anime. Bo-bobo is accompanied on his adventures by an assortment of sidekicks, including:
Beauty, an otherwise ordinary young girl who is frequently perplexed by Bo-bobo's antics (and frequently kidnapped by the bad guys).
Don Patch (Poppa Rocks), his Japanese name being a pun on "Donpachi", a brand of Japanese candy similar to Pop Rocks, a strange fellow who resembles an orange ball covered in spikes and, as a former "King of the Hajikelists", frequently acts as weird as Bo-bobo. Don Patch frequently tries to act tough or hog the spotlight, usually with no success. Hinted to be genuinely insane, as he occasionally makes humorous references to how, in his own words, "I don't take my medication, because thats just how cool I am!"
Heppokomaru (Gasser), a young man who is another token "sane" person like Beauty, aside from the fact that he fights with a style called Onara Shinken (or "Fist of the Backwind(fart)").
Softon, a former Hair Hunter whose head looks like soft-serve strawberry ice-cream (and, by no coincidence, the common anime representation of excrement). He fights with the Babylon Shinken(Fist of Blabs-A-Lot), and for the most part (one of the excluded parts being the aforementioned head) is the most serious of the group. Has a penchant for spouting badass-soundingnonsense, though. In the manga, his head was chocolate ice-cream and thus many jokes about it being poop are made.
Tokoro Tennosuke (Jelly Jiggler), another former Hair Hunter who happens to be a humanoid blob of blue jelly. His name is a pun on "tokoroten", a type of seaweed jelly, of which he'll often sing the praises. He frequently tries to get people to eat him, and is somewhat obsessed with the Japanese character for "nu". Uses the fighting style Purupuru Shinken (Fist of the Wobble-Wobble)
Dengakuman, a cute little white humanoid figure who, like Softon and Tennosuke, leaves the Hair Hunters to fight alongside Bo-bobo. He occasionally insists he is a dog, and is almost always obsessed with either making people eat dengaku (fried tofu on a stick covered in miso sauce), or making people be his friend.
Torpedo Girl, who is not one of his traveling companions but pops up from time time as a Sixth Ranger. Is in love with Softon. As her name suggests, She's a Torpedo! with arms and legs. Alternate form of (the very male) OVER but he virtually stops appearing after turning into her.note And THAT'S because...SHE'S A TORPEDO!!
In one episode, an enemy's attacks fail to hurt Don Patch. Don Patch's only explanation for this is "because I'm stupid."
In another episode, an enemy removes 90% of the titular character's (already somewhat limited) intelligence, which just allows him to do even more things that don't make sense, such as his hair turning into miniature versions of himself that beat up said enemy.
Action Girl: Most of them are the few villanesses within the Maruhage/Chrome Dome Empire's many incarnations.
The Fusion Dance forms, Denbo-chan and Adult Woman are this.
Sort of off set by his being glad at the destruction of the hair empire (although that's set off by the fact that they're potentially racist), destroying Gasser's home town, and most likely killing his master.
The Artifact: The importance of the Maruhage Empire's "Hair Hunts"(see Bald of Evil below) fluctuated as the series progressed. By the time the group battles Halekulani, the notion had been virtually forgotten. Only during the final battle of the Hair Kingdom arc does it get any important mention (Bi-bibi started the Hair Hunts out of jealousy) again.
The same thing happens in Shinsetsu: By the time the first volume is over, the Hair Hunts are only mentioned in passing a few times.
It becomes very obvious since the villains following the Z-Block arc had various extremes of Anime Hair, talk about being a Hypocrite
They 'were' wearing wig held down with, among other thing, tape and glue. Not to mention that the higher-ups have full heads of hair.
Art Evolution: The first bunch of volumes have very blocky and undetailed work to a degree that it looks ameturish; later volumes become more fluid and detailed, and by the time the sequel Shinsetsu begins, comparisons become exceptionally jarring.
Art Shift: Consistently, they often go from happy to semi realistic when doing Oh, Crap moments, Don Patch is the greatest offender of this.
Blood from the Mouth: In the manga, everything, everything that qualifies as an attack in some way (like breathing in their ear suggestively) causes this to happen. It's almost a useful indicator that someone's been harmed. Doesn't happen in the anime (even in the unedited Japanese version).
Bowdlerize: The anime was toned way, way down from the original manga. The High-Pressure BloodRunning Gag was completely removed, Softon's ice cream head was changed from chocolate to strawberry to avoid the poop jokes, one enemy who was a box of cigarettes was changed to a box of chocolate bars, and more minor examples.
The English adaptation that aired on Cartoon Network went even further in both removing scenes and implementing the dreaded Never Say "Die" trope. Some of the foreign dubs also did this.
Breathe on the Fan: Bo-bobo once won second place in a contest for "Saying 'Ah' in front of an electric fan".
Butt Monkey: Everyone except Beauty, but in particular Don Patch and Jelly Jiggler (especially the latter), to the point where Bo-bobo randomly beats them up in fights for no reason.
Calvinball: That's literately the only rule of the fights in the Bo-bobo universe. The rules for one battle won't carry over to the next one. One battle my be borderline serious, with all attacks ending in blows even if the attacks themselves are silly, and another one the enemy might be defeated by what appears to pure psychological damage because the moves shouldn't be do any damage. It's very, very odd.
Canon Immigrant - Dark Yasha/Sambaman originally first appeared in the Bo-bobo GBA game, "9-Kyoku note The "9" is read as "kyuu", which combined with the "kyoku" makes "kyuukyoku", or "ultimate" Senshi Gag Yuugou", and he later appears in both the manga and the anime in the Emperor Playoffs.
Catch Phrase: Torpedo Girl's "I'm a TORPEDO!" Even her laugh is just her repeating the word "torpedo"('Gyorai') over and over again. Infact, it actally starts to annoy the heroes in her debut episode, to the point where Don Patch asks her to stop saying it.
Chekhov's Gag: Bo-bobo uses "Ganeme", a modification of "megane" (the Japanese word for glasses), by flipping a pair of glasses while fighting Zeb Ziegler/Kibahage to confuse him and it came back later in the fight against Be-bebe when Bo-bobo flips his glasses upside down and unleashes the ultimate glasses-filled attack that defeats his brother.
Chekhov's Gunman: Pickles, of all people, was left behind in the first chapter because Bo-bobo secretly assigned him to spy on his evil brother, Bi-bibi.
Clothes Make the Superman: All over the place in the series, a genuinely serious example would the Super jacket that allows Bo-bobo to become Super Bo-bobo.
One notable case is when Don Patch injects the Poet with a serum that causes him to think like Don Patch. Instead of creating cool weapons to attack, he creates "Stupid Prince", "Pure-Hearted Bucktooth Cop" and "Panties".
Combat Pragmatist - Any Hajikelist/Wiggin Specialist such as Bo-bobo and co. are this.
Comedic Hero: Bo-bobo, Don Patch, and Jelly Jiggler to various degrees,
Comedic Sociopathy: This was one of the main reasons that parents in Japan petitioned the anime's cancellation; too much of the show's comedy was placed on absurd slapstick.
Confusion Fu: Bo-Bobo has a black belt in it, tenth dan. Essentially the strategy is cause the enemy to let their guard down with their bizarre antics
Cross Dresser: Don Patch, and occasionally Bo-bobo as well as Jelly Jiggler.
Cut Short: The anime ran for 76 episodes, covering 11 of the manga's 13 story arcs; it was cancelled after about a third of the second-to-last story arc surrounding the battle with the Reverse Maruhage/Chrome Dome Empire aired. The manga itself did, however, reach a conclusion.
The Viz release of the manga seems to have ended at volume 5 (Japanese release: volume 15) with 6 volumes left untranslated (13 counting Shinsetsu), as there is no indication that they will be continuing and no previews for future volumes at the end of the latest one. (According to an email, they are going to translate more at an undetermined point in the future)
The release in Spain won't cover Shinsetsu despite the first series ending with a giant Sequel Hook (Tsuru Tsururina III is back!) and the volume and author notes encouraging the reader to buy Shinsetsu (Which were left in the volume, of course). After constant Screwed by the Network moments (Early volumes coming almost randomly, stopping for a while after 5-6 were published and stopping again for nearly two years when they only had 2 volumes left to finish the first series), Spanish fans felt this was final middle finger moment from the publishers. The only explanation was "low sales", but it's not like the series is known for selling a lot (In fact Shinsetsu ended for its low popularity), so...
Darker and Edgier: The manga sequel Shinsetsu, from its darker and sharper art style to some more grisly violent moments, namely Heppokomaru getting violently stabbed by a villian and Bo-bobo's first fight with "emperor" Namero.
Deranged Animation: Where do we begin? Bo-bobo and co change into random things without warning, stuff ranging from booger ball people to giraffes and even Yami and Slifer come out at one point of the manga, then there's the random things in the earlier episodes like when a giant baby comes out of the train ride at the A-Block troop and then there's the rap scene....
Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Bo-bobo and co. does this many times, especially the time they were sent into the underworld during their fight against Giga using the Macho Men Fist and they picked a fight against Enma...
The Dragon: Giga to Czar Baldy Bald IV, Hanpen (General Lee Fishcake) to Czar Baldy Bald III, Byakkyo & Bebebe-be Be-bebe to Hydrate, and Shigeki X to Bibibi-bi Bi-bibi
End of Series Awareness: The characters (including the narrator) complain that the series is canceled just before an epic fight, and the narrator complains that he was never visible through the entire series.
Although that was a line in the dub, and the narrator did in fact make an actual appearance in the recap special in Japan.
Enemy Mine: Played straight in The Reverse Maruhage Arc with the remaining finalists such as OVER, Halekulani, Zetsubou/Sad Sack, and Kancho-kun teaming up with Bo-bobo's gang to fight against the Reverse Maruhage Empire led by Hydrate.
Epic Fail: In fights whenever attacks go wrong lead into these moments very often, especially with Don Patch.
Evil Counterpart - Gunkan/Battleship to Bo-bobo, J to Softon, Shigeki X to Don Patch, and Jati to Beauty.
Fanservice: Subverted; at the beginning of one chapter, Don Patch poses while wearing girls' underwear and says "Fanservice!"
Service Man. His name is a parody of fanservice. Not to mention his only attack is to lift his sheet to show things that should never be seen.
Played straight in the forms of lolicon-girl Pokomi and Princess Chinchiro in Shinsetsu.
Fate Worse Than Death: Hatenko deals with one of the Cyber Knights by freezing him in one place and putting a bunch of bladed keys in him. Also, Rice gets turned into a polygon and gets his face torn off.
Though is implied to have gotten better by the sequel series
Fartillery: How much more obvious than "Fist of the Back Wind" can you get?
Fire-Breathing Diner: Done by Bo-bobo to Don Patch, Jelly Jiggler and Torpedo Girl during the battle against her/OVER.
Fusion Dance: Parodied; at one point when an enemy tricks Bo-bobo into fusing with the wrong person in an attempt to weaken him.
Goggles Do Nothing: Parodied with the minor villain Rububa the Bubbles (Bubble-uba in the English dub), who wears three pairs of goggles on his forehead, and has an extra-large pair wrapped around his waist.
Gratuitous Korean: Denbo, the Magical Girl fusion warrior of Bo-bobo and Dengakuman, can speak Korean...very badly. In fact, when that episode was aired in South Korea, that line wasn't dubbed over, for extra funniness.
Also, some episodes have characters chanting "Bulgogi!" (Korean Barbecue) for some reason.
Interesting Situation Duel: Starting around the Cyber City Arc, most of the battles have some sort of gimmick. From fighting in a giant coin toss game to being tethered to bungie cords.
It Runs on Nonsensoleum: The entire series (manga and anime), and it does, too. Still, this is one of, if not THE biggest reason why a number of anime fans don't like this show.
And also the biggest reason why many anime fans LOVE it, of course.
James Bondage: Gasser in Cyber City Arc, and both Softon and Dengaku-man at two points during the Hair Kingdom arc.
Large Ham: Almost everyone aside from Beauty and Gasser.
Last-Second Word Swap: In the English dub, while Bo-bobo, Don Patch, Jelly Jiggler and Dengakuman look like they've formed a rock band...
All four of them: Gasser, Gasser, he's first class!
He thinks with his heart but fights with his - Ask us how he stays so fit!
He works out hard and he smells like-
Gasser: HEY NOW!! Wait a second!
Lemony Narrator: The English dub narrator constantly breaks the fourth wall, interacts with the characters and even the producer, and bitches about certain elements of the show. Arguably, he also gets more character development than most of the main cast.
No Ending: The anime was cancelled after 76 episodes, midway through an arc, with the characters about to storm the enemy's fortress. They're then notified that the show ends on that note and everyone, villain included, freaks out.
This is because their sponsor was in financial crisis during that time.
Power Incontinence: Gasser, when his collar's removed, he turns into an infant mind state, but is far more powerful
The Power of Rock: Parodied again. Denbo, Jelly Jiggler and Don Patch fight J by singing, which makes stuff in the song real. But the songs they think up are complately ridiculous, involving things like Beta-Carotene and a 49 year old man. There's even a little DDR section. This is recycled in the manga sequel, except that Pokomi is the one singing.
Shout-Out: For one, Bo-bobo summons Yugi Mutou from his afro in one chapter (drawn by Kazuki Takahashi, no less), and Dengakuman looks suspiciously like a Chao. Also, he once does a attack that involves A Dragonball Z posterboard, and Bo-bobo, when thrown while doing this attack, shouts "Vegeta"! All of this is from one volume.
Hell, the manga is rife with these from poking fun at its fellow Jump series to parodying live action shows. Folks not from Japan probably won't get a few of the jokes due to most of them being rather exclusive to its home nation (as if this series wasn't confusing enough). The toning down of the anime forewent most of these shout outs due to copyright reasons.
Spanner in the Works: Before he made a Heel-Face Turn, Jelly Jiggler had an elaborate plan to defeat Bo-bobo that all hinged on him asking Jelly how he could break his leg if he didn't have any bones. Right before he could implement it, some random kid came up and asked the question instead, ruining everything.
Spinoff: Don Patch now has his own manga series, Fuwari! Don Patch, in the Saikyou Jump magazine.
Talking Poo: Subverted: Softon's head is made of soft-serve ice cream.
Tear Off Your Face: Lambada has done this to Rice, although in a less gory manner - the polygonated Rice was left with with no apparent injuries, save for not having polygon edges or colour on his face. The face also turned into a nice little rectangular brick thing. It has been said that Lambada does this to defeated enemies regularly.
The Team: Bo-bobo's gang grows as the series goes on until it composes the following members.
Training from Hell: Torpedo Girl puts Gasser and Hatenko through a comically exaggerated version of this
Traintop Battle: Episode 36, Bo-Bobo and the gang fight "The Boxer on the Boxcar", Cane-maru. At one point, the train derails and smashes through an amusement park.
True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-Universe, Giga's Super Fist of Objet d'Art, ordinary objects turned into incomprehensible art. He also considers Don Patch the true definition of art for some reason.
True Companions: Parodied, of course, but also (believe it or not) played straight. After all, Bo-bobo doesn't want Beauty to get hurt...
Tsundere: Torpedo Girl. One moment she acts like a giddy schoolgirl (especially when she fawns over Softon,) the next she violently blasts through anyone who provokes her like a, erm, torpedo. However, she is still dangerous in Dere mode (albeit unintentionally dangerous.)note And that's because...she's a torpedo!
Unreliable Narrator: In the English Dub, the narrator is a teenage preschool dropout who lives with his Grandma and has a large hate for the producer. he's lost his job many times. (Although most of them involve him quitting)
He also usually stops focusing on the script and starts worrying about his personal issues to the point where the producer began to take a dollar out of his paycheck every time he goes off script. He now owes the producer a dollar every payday.
You Can't Thwart Stage One: Double subverted: When Baldy Bald/Tsuru Tsurulina III awakens, Bo-bobo slams his cryogenic chamber shut, duct-tapes it, and blows it up. Unfortunately, the emperor had already escaped./