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Anime / Onipan!

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Onipan! takes Comedic Underwear Exposure to a whole new level.note 

Long ago, oni were relegated to the role of bad guys in Japanese folk stories. Although they've since made peace with humanity, old stereotypes about their kind linger. To remedy this, three oni girls — Tsutsuji, Himawari, and Tsuyukusa — are sent to the human world to improve the image of their people. And to help them in their quest, they've been given a magical item from their tribe...

Their legendary oni underwear.

Using the Henshin Hero-style transforming power of their "onipan" (a Portmanteau of oni and pantsu), it's up to these three girls to bridge the divide between oni and humanity.

Onipan! is an anime original series directed by Masahiko Ohta and animated by Wit Studio, from an original concept by Norihiro Naginuma, the director of The Ancient Magus' Bride with the production as a whole being backed by Shogakukan note .

It began airing on April 11th, 2022, as a series of three-minute shorts every weekday during the Oha Suta variety show on TV Tokyo, with a twelve-minute compiled version available at the end of the week. The series is licensed by Sentai Filmworks and their service, HiDIVE is simulcasting the compiled version overseas.

Onipan! provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The Alcoholic: Kuma seems to love its alcohol, starting from the moment its first presented to the girls clutching a bottle of sake as big as its body. When they go off to school, it toddles over to a bar where the staff seem to recognize it.
  • Animation Bump: The Friday episode/last segment of the compiled show lets the animators go wild. Episode three has a totally unnecessary — yet amazing — journey through the universe to the Planet of Delicious Food, populated by vegetable dinosaurs.
  • Art Shift: At the end of the third episode, a flashback to the bustling shopping center is animated in a chibi-ish art style.
  • Associated Composer: Director Masahiko Ohta brings along his go-to composer Yasuhiro Misawa, and Misawa brings along his penchant for quirky, laidback arrhythmic percussion and off-beat pizzicato melodies.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": To demonstrate that humans no longer fear the oni, Himawari puts on some terrible wooden acting to run around the city shouting "Roar!"
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Tsuyukusa introduces herself to her class:
    "I'm Tsuyukusa. If you have any questions...go ask Tsutssun or Hima."
  • Beast Man: The oni girls are accompanied to the human world by Kuma (the Japanese word for bear), which is a pint-sized bear.
  • Big Eater: Tsuyukusa is happy to leave Onigashima behind, since the food there is so terrible. Only human sweets can rouse her from her terminal lethargy. When they first arrive in the city, she orders an abomination made of six different ice cream cones smashed together and merrily munches on it while the other two have more reasonable portions.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Tsuyukusa and Momomomo sport thick, comma-shaped eyebrows.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The very first conversation between our heroines ploughs right through the fourth wall.
    Tsutsuji: "Tsuyukusa-chan, Himawari-chan..."
    Himawari: "What is it, Tsutsuji?"
    Tsutsuji: "I want to go back to Onigashima."
    Himawari: "But the anime just started!"
    Tsuyukusa: "It was a great last episode."
    Himawari: "Not you too, Tsuyukusa!"
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "Onipaaaaan ... CHANGE!" Note that the exclamation doesn't actually do anything, they still have to physically put their onipan on by hand.
  • Captain Obvious: When Eion-sama discusses misconceptions about the oni race, one of them is that if you cut off an oni's head, they will die. Himawari counters that if you cut off anybody's head, they'll die.
  • Category Traitor: Tsuyukusa finds human food so tasty she claims she's ready to follow the teachings of Momotaro, referring to how the folk hero recruited followers in his campaign against the oni by offering them rations. Himawari immediately calls her out for betraying her own kind so easily.
  • Chuunibyou: Among her classmates, Noriko Issun looks gloomy and speaks in pretentious, cryptic quips about destiny and legendary battles. Tsuyu spells out to Tsutsuji that she's a chuuni.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Of the self-inflicted variety. The onikko have to physically put their tiger-striped boxer shorts on in order to transform. And they need to wear them over their street clothes too — when Tsuyukusa tries to hide hers under her dress, the transformation fails.
  • Company Cameo: The oni girls live in the Ohasuta district, referring to the children's variety show that aired the anime.
  • Cosplay: After the onikko transform into policewomen and go to great lengths to return a little girl's stuffed rabbit, it improves the girl's image of the oni. Unfortunately for the onikko, that 'improvement' is that she instead thinks they're all cosplay fans.
  • Country Mouse: Onigashima is a fairly remote tourist spot, so when Tsutsuji is sent off to the human world she's completely overwhelmed by the enormous crowds. However, the allure of human fashion gives her the strength to overcome her worries ... at least until she rides the train for the first time, and immediately wants to go home.
  • Culture Equals Costume:
    • Although the girls have been sent to the human world to dispel stereotypes about oni, such as them only wearing tiger-striped loincloths, they still have to wear their onipan to transform. Himawari complains that only old people still dress that way.
    • When the girls help revitalize the shopping center in episode three, naturally they're depicted on the refurbished sign wearing tiger-striped tunics even though they only wore their "onipan" in front of the crowd for about five seconds.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Himawari sports one of these, to compliment her broad, easygoing smirk.
  • The Determinator: Though Tsutsuji is generally a worrywort, when she sets her mind to something she commits 100%, as demonstrated in the first episode when she's hellbent on returning a stuffed animal to a little girl.
  • Dub-Induced Plotline Change: Even though the Japanese soundtrack clearly says "Enuo-sama" and "Eion-sama", HiDive's subtitles translate both as "King Yama".
  • Duel to the Death: When the girls cross paths with the ancestor of their peoples' mortal enemy, Momotaro, they meet on the sports field at lunchtime to settle old scores. The girls draw their clubs, Momo draws her katana and summors her animal companions, they they spend the whole last act epically duking it out for the honor of their people. Subverted when it's revealed they were just playing an RPG on their smartphones.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: When Tsutsuji remarks she wants to go back home at the beginning of the first episode, her eyes are two glassy golden circles.
  • Dying Town: The Ohasuta shopping center is on the verge of shutting down, unless the oni girls can find a way to revitalize it.
  • Elvis Impersonator: One of them appears in the ED during a group shot of bit characters. He later appears in Episode 11 as an idol producer.
  • Embarrassing but Empowering Outfit: To transform, the girls need to wear their tiger-striped shorts outside their street clothes, to their deep embarrassment.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Tsutsuji isn't remotely evil, but (in the fansubbed translation) she laments that a lot of people back home thought she had "dark secrets" because of her deep (for a teenaged girl) voice.
  • Eyes Of Sight: Issun-Boko wears a hime cut that completely covers her eyes. It's meant to mimic the bowl-shaped hat her ancestor, folk hero Issun-boshi, is sometimes depicted wearing.
  • Fantastic Racism: Although humanity and the oni get along just fine in the modern day, there's still some lingering prejudice among humans. It's stronger outside of the major cities, where people don't encounter oni as often. At the behest of their leader, the protagonists have been sent to the big city to improve the image of their people.
  • The Fashionista: Tsutsuji expresses distaste for the tiger-striped clothing that is everywhere in Onigashima, and finds the cute clothes in the human world alluring.
  • Fictional Social Network: "Noririn" and Himawari both post videos on Ohasutagram.
  • Flawless Token: Invoked. The onikko are sent to the human world to provide a positive portrayal of oni to counter negative stereotypes about them being violent hooligans who only wear tiger-striped clothing. In reality, however, Tsutsuji is neurotic and kind of pathetic, Himawari is an acid-tongued tsukkomi, and Tsuyukusa is a lazy girl who doesn't care about anything except eating sweet human candy.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: Tsutsuji, Himawari, and Tsuyukusa are sent away from Onigashima ("island of ogres") to become cultural ambassadors at a Japanese high school.
  • Foreshadowing: The first episode features billboards for "Noririn" — a cutesy Japanese nickname for Noriko — an idol singer who appears prominently in the ED. "Noririn" herself first appears in episode 3.
  • Freudian Trio: Tsuyukusa doesn't want to do anything unless it involves human sweets (the Id), Himawari provides constant tsukkomi snark to berate the others into thinking clearly and staying on-mission (the Superego), and Tsutsuji is torn between her desire to experience human fashion and her desire to return home and escape the crowded human city (the Ego).
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: After Kuma presents the girls with their onipan as if it'll solve all their problems, they read the disclaimer that despite changing their costumes it won't actually give them any superpowers. They angrily corner Kuma with glowing golden eyes and shout, "We can't use this!"
  • Hellish Pupils: The oni girls have eyes with vertical pupils, giving them a cat-like appearance.
  • Henshin Hero: Subverted. After the girls don their onipan for the first time and magically transform into policewomen, they then notice a disclaimer saying they will need to gather all the necessary skills themselves. Meaning it doesn't give them any superpowers.
  • Hero Does Public Service: When the onikko see the sorry state of Ohasuta's shopping center, they try their hardest to revitalize it. In the end, Himawari's cooking (using ingredients from the local market) is so good it blows the judges away and brings throngs of crowds in. They even become part of the new sign.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Momo-zono, the descendant of Japanese folk hero Momotaro, poses with a katana in the ED.
  • Huddle Shot: Seen when the onikko gather in episode two to try and figure out how to introduce themselves to their new class.
  • Horned Humanoid: The oni, naturally. They seem to come in a few different flavors: one horn coming straight out of their forehead, two horns coming out on either side, or just one horn on either side.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Tsutsuji nervously tells a young girl that oni aren't scary ... while she has Tsuyukusa in a sleeper hold, and Tsuyukusa is desperately trying to tap out before she's choked into unconsciousness.
  • Idol Genre: According to the press release, the girls will become idols at some point, which is fitting since their voice actresses are actual idols.
  • Idol Singer: The ED prominently features an idol singer named "Noririn" — who is surrounded by mallets — right in the spot where Noriko Issun — who was previously shown in the very same ED surrounded by mallets and is the descendent of a folk hero who owned a magic mallet — should be.
  • In a Single Bound: In the first episode, the onikko effortlessly vault atop a six-story building in their quest to return a stuffed animal to a little girl.
  • Innocent Bigot: When the girls arrive in the Ohasuta district, they meet a young girl clutching a book with some oni chasing either a small child or Momotaro on the cover. She cries out in fear because she thinks they really do eat children. Tsutsuji is offended, but Himawari and Tsuyukusa play along with it just to mess with her.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Himawari tries to create a video calling on people to come to the Ohasuta shopping center. It's just ten seconds of her freezing up and sputtering.
  • Invisible to Normals: Discussed. When the girls don their onipan the first time, Tsuyukusa says there's probably some magic that will prevent normies from seeing them change into their embarrassing tiger-striped boxer shorts in public. She's very, very wrong.
  • Irony: Tsutsuji is in love with cute human clothes, yet her idea of a "cute" mascot is a literal walking pile of garbage.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Tsuyukusa dons a battle-damaged wizard's robe and groans that Tsutsuji should leave her behind ... in a bid to avoid getting out of bed and going to school.
  • Japanese School Club: The school has a lot of very weird clubs. They include: the Bat Club, who hit every kind of sports ball with a baseball bat except baseballs (because that would make them the Baseball Club); the Pitfall Digging Club, who dig random pitfalls around the school grounds; and the Pitfall Finding Club, who look for pitfalls and disarm them.
  • Large Ham: Momo begins chewing the scenery the moment she first swaggers into the classroom and she never stops.
  • Le Parkour: The oni girls perform an impressive (and humanly impossible) version of this in the first episode, when they try to return a plushie to the girl who dropped it.
  • Lemony Narrator: At the beginning of episode 2, the narrator says the girls were handpicked for their mission. When the footage doesn't agree, she goes off on a rant about how it's not following along with what she's saying.
  • Limited Animation: Tsutsuji and Tsuyukusa have a "fight" in the third segment that's only three (wildly-exaggerated) key frames repeated over and over.
  • Literal Metaphor: In episode 3, Himawari's cooking blasts everybody across the universe to a prehistoric planet made of delicious food. When a volcano explodes, they get caught in its literal primordial soup.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The oni look identical to human beings, with the exception of hellish pupils, pointy ears and horns sticking out of their foreheads.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Momo inherits her ancestors' penchant for being accompanied into battle by a bird, a wolf, and a monkey.
  • Martial Arts Headband: The ED features Momo-zono posing with a katana and sporting a headband with an upside-down heart/peach on the front.
  • Mascot: Tsutsuji tries to invent a mascot to revitalize the Ohasuta shopping center. Unfortunately, despite her best efforts, it looks so bad it makes Forbush Man look like Iron Man.
  • Match Cut: When the onikko meet a young girl who's frightened of them, the girl holds up her picture book. The cover has an illustration of three ugly leering oni. She then lowers the book to reveal the onikko in the exact same pose, only much less threatening.
  • Medium Awareness: In the first episode, Tsutsuji brusquely shoves Tsuyukusa's Imagine Spot out of the way.
  • Mentor Mascot: Kuma ... sort of? It's not clear what it is. Eion-sama gave it to the girls before they left, telling them "it" would help them, implying it's not biological. It follows the girls to their new home and seems to have emotions and be capable of Pokémon Speak, but they forget all about it until it gives them their onipan and starts delivering explanations they can't understand a word of.
  • Monster-Shaped Mountain: Onigashima has a giant, smoking volcano with an enormous scowling oni face carved into its side.
  • Mood Whiplash: Parodied. When Tsutsuji tries to wake Tsuyukusa up for school, Tsuyu dons a wizard's cloak and groans that Tsutsuji should go on and defeat the demon king without her, since she's too wounded to continue. Tsutsuji — now decked out in hero's garb with a giant sword on her back — freaks out about how the story suddenly got a lot darker. Himawari calls them in for breakfast, but Tsutsuji flails her arms and yells that she has to defeat the demon king first.
  • My Name Is ???: In episode 3's credits, "Noririn" is credited with a string of question marks — despite very obviously being Miyu Tomita.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: When Momozono enters the classroom to greet the onikko, she lets loose a shrill noblewoman's laugh into the back of her hand.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Though the show literally has "underwear" in the title, it doesn't mean what it sounds like. Pantsu in Japan refers to underwear in general, and here it means the bright yellow, poofy, tiger-striped shorts/loincloths oni are sometimes depicted wearing in statues and illustrations, and they wear it outside their school uniforms so there's even less risk of lewdness. note 
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: The onikko are played by teenaged idols rather than professional voice actresses, and the weekday morning airdate — during a popular children's variety show — suggests the anime is meant to market their new idol unit.
  • Non-Standard Character Design:
    • The main cast consists of five moe schoolgirls and a simplistic rotund bear with Sphere Eyes.
    • The ED shows a dozen supporting characters in profile. Among them, we see a handful of lumpy-looking kids, a squint-eyed middle-aged man with a six-inch chin, and an overweight Elvis impersonator.
  • Not a Morning Person: In the ending, Tsutsuji and Himawari have to physically drag the slumped-over Tsuyukusa out of their apartment.
  • Oni: The three main characters are oni, though they don't look much different from humans aside from their horns and their pointy ears. Their tiger-striped underwear also alludes to how oni are traditionally depicted as wearing loincloths made from tiger skin.
  • Plain Jane: After Tsutsuji nervously tries to convince a little girl the oni aren't monsters, the girl changes her mind ... and says Tsutsuji is "surprisingly plain". Tsutsuji sinks to her knees with Blank White Eyes and says she gets that a lot and that people think she's hiding some evil secret. This was changed in the HiDive translation to her being too "normal" when compared to the weirdoes around her.
  • Pokémon Speak: Kuma can only say, well, "Kuma."
  • Power Trio: Our three heroines are sent to the human world by themselves to counter misconceptions and stereotypes about the oni.
  • Production Throwback: When the oni girls discuss humanity fearing the oni, there's an Imagine Spot of a Titan-ified Tsutsuji, referring to Wit Studio's past work.
  • Proscenium Reveal: The climax of episode 2 is an epic duel on school grounds between the club-wielding oni girls and the katana-slinging descendant of their arch-nemesis, Momotaro... played out via an RPG on their smart phones.
  • Public Domain Canon Welding: The show incorporates the Japanese fairy tales of Momotarō and Issun-boshi into its backstory, both as in-universe historical events and with their descendants being classmates of the onikko.
  • Real-Place Background: The show starts with the girls arriving at Shibuya station. Their destination, Ohasuta, is more of an amalgam of typical small towns that can be found throughout Japan and as such doesn't have a real-life counterpart.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Despite the obvious color alignment, it's not a direct one-to-one. Tsuyukusa is a frosty, stoic girl with a sharp tongue, but Tsutsuji spends the first short acting unusually dour for a red oni, while Himawari plays both The Gadfly and also the straight man to the other two, fusing the traits of red and blue oni together.
    • In the first episode, a boy reads an 80s-style shonen manga on his tablet with an ugly-looking red oni and a handsome blue oni (and a yellow oni frothing at the mouth).
  • Running Gag: All of Noririn's videos have the exact same two comments: "Noririn's SO cute eating that [X]!" and "I'm gonna go to that shop too!"
  • Short Tank: Himawari dresses like a teenage boy, with cutoff denim shorts and a dark blue tank top.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the first episode, a boy is shown reading an oni-fied version of Sakigake!! Otokojuku — which had a main character named Momotaro, ironically enough — on his tablet.
    • The leader of the oni is named Enuo, after a legendary sorcerer from Final Fantasy V.
    • After Tsuyukusa inadvertently makes the class laugh during her introduction, she says, "Just as planned."
    • Noriko, acting like a chuuni, is surprised Tsutsuji can see through her invisibility cloak.
    • In the third episode, Himawari's cooking is so good it causes everybody who eats it to fly into a "scrumptious stargate".
    • In episode five, Momo wears a pink version of Bruce Lee's outfit from Game of Death.
  • Signature Shot: The director often inserts a shot in the premiere episode of the camera rushing headlong through a 3D environment. In Minami-ke, it started simple with a character running down a hallway and smacking her face into a wall. Now, in Onipan!, the premiere episode blows it up into a two-minute footrace through town with epic parkour skills, wall-running alongside cars, and leaping atop six-story buildings.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Subverted. When Kuma, a diminutive bear, hands the girls their onipan for the first time, it gives an explanation in Pokémon Speak. Tsutsuji "repeats" what it said so the audience can hear. Himawari, confused, asks her if she can speak bear, but Tsutsuji reveals she was just reading the tag dangling from the onipan.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Gabriel Dropout. It has similar comedy aesthetics and visual language, it was made by the same invoked Production Posse, it uses same basic premise of "mythological creatures go to Japanese high school", Gabriel's voice actress has a major supporting role as Noriko Issun, and their dogged "rival" Momo Momo-zono is basically Satania 2.0.
  • "Super Sentai" Stance: Both the opening voiceover and the the ending feature a shot of the three oni heroines posing like this.
  • Surprisingly Creepy Moment: The show is billed as a children's show, airing at seven in the morning, yet the very first episode has an unnecessarily-detailed Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame of Tsutsuji as a grotesque, skull-like oni opening up a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth with strands of sinew stretched between her jaws.
  • Take Our Word for It: Tsuyukusa's "scary face" is so frightening it can't be shown. We only see the horrified looks of neighborhood children and pets recoiling from its power.
  • Tareme Eyes: Tsutsuji has tarame eyes that highlight her youthfulness and naivety.
  • Team Mom: Despite dressing like a skater girl and having an impish sense of humor, Himawari is also the most domestic and goal-oriented of the girls, and also a surprisingly good chef. She also chides Tsutsuji not to spoil Tsuyu while Tsutsuji is in the middle of spoon-feeding the girl breakfast.
  • Theme Naming: The onikko are named after flowers: Tsutsuji means "azalea", Himawari means "sunflower", and Tsuyukusa means "dayflower".
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tsuyukusa wears light, summery dresses and an ojou-style sunhat, while Himawari wears tanks tops, denim shorts, and a backwards baseball cap. Tsutsuji strikes a balance between them with a light pink hoodie and a plain brimmed hat, but she's also interested in the "cute clothes" of the human world compared to Onigashima's overabundance of tiger-striped garb.
  • Transformation Sequence: The titular onipan give the girls a magical glow-up that allows them to transform.
  • Transformation Trinket: The onipan allows the girls to transform into a variety of costumes — albeit without any actual superpowers.
    • In episode one, they transform into policewomen to return a stuffed animal to a little girl.
    • In episode two, they transform into their gym clothes, and also arm themselves with giant oni clubs so they duel with Momotaro.
    • In episode three, they transform into chefs in order to win a cooking competition with ingredients from the shopping center.
    • In episode four, they transform into hi-tech cyborgs to pilot the Mecha Club's drones in a race.
    • In episode five, they briefly transform into cheerleaders to cheer in the tournament to decide who gets to be this year's Momotaro.
  • Triangle Shades: Eion-sama, the oni leader's deputy who sends the girls on their mission to the human world, sports a pair of sharp black sunglasses.
  • The Triple: From the first episode's opening monologue:
    Narrator: "To improve the image of the oni among humanity, these three girls left Onigashima in a tale of love, friendship, and underwear."
    Tsutsuji, Himawari, & Tsuyukusa: (Beat, Blink) "Underwear"?
  • Tsurime Eyes: Himawari and Tsuyukusa both have tsurime eyes. In Himawari's case, they emphasize her shrewd, level-headed nature and her impish sense of humor. On the other hand, Tsuyukusa's tsurime eyes just make her look like she's falling asleep.
  • Underwear of Power: It's right there in the title. The onikko can transform into different costumes if they pull the traditional costume of their people — a pair of tiger-striped boxer shorts — on over their everyday street clothes.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Kuma accompanies the oni girls to their new home. It has no lines, doesn't do anything, and the show doesn't call attention to it until over halfway into the first episode, when the onikko suddenly remember it exists.
  • Visual Pun: At the beginning of episode 2, we're told the girls were "handpicked" for their mission. In this case, "handpicked" means the king's hand picked up a dart and threw it at a list of names.