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Anime / Popee the Performer

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This is just scratching the surface of the insanity to come.
Popee the Performer is a 2001 children's anime and directorial debut of Ryuji Masuda, who would later go on to create Mr. Stain on Junk Alley and Funny Pets. Set in a circus in the middle of the desert, the show's 39 episodes (and a special) chronicle the antics of a small cast of characters consisting of:

  • Popee, a psychotic clown... boy... thingamabob who desperately wants to be the star of the circus, and is always eager to show Kedamono up, or abuse him for showing him up.
  • Kedamono, Popee's coworker, a purple wolf who wears a seemingly infinite amount of Noh masks to look like a person and often tends to get the short end of the stick, especially at the hands of his "friend" Popee.
  • Papi, a veteran "clown" who is intent on improving Popee's performances, regardless of the consequences, and tends to be the straight man of the main trio.
  • Paola, a living elephant head attached to a car, and Papi's preferred mode of transport.
  • Frog, an unnamed frog.
  • Alien, an extraterrestrial who has the misfortune of being drawn into several of Popee and Papi's "adventures".

This series performs examples of:

  • Absurd Cutting Power: In episode 29, Dark Side, Papi shows his sword skills by cutting a watermelon in half. However, the sun was visible during the cutting, so it somehow gets cut in half as well.
  • Accidental Murder: In episode 23, Ghost, the gang is playing a game where Popee is in a barrel and you have to lodge swords into the barrel trying not to stab Popee. Papi does very good, but Kedamono unfortunately isn't as skilled.
  • Accidental Suicide: The ending of episode 11, Swallower, is Popee swallowing a massive sword to kill the recently-swallowed Kedamono, not realizing he'll get impaled and die. Sure enough, he ends up skewering himself and is last seen blowing lifelessly in the wind.
  • Alien Abductees Fight Back: The first and only time Alien abducts someone, he's beaten up, his UFO explodes, and he's presumably eaten. He doesn't abduct anyone after that, but he gets beaten up anyways.
  • Alien Abduction: Happens in episode 12, Escape Show, to Popee and Kedamono. The Alien gets attacked and eaten by Kedamono.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: An early 2001 example with all the imperfections of the new technology being done on a shoestring budget.
  • Asshole Victim: Almost everyone in this show. The universe shows as much mercy to the characters as they do to each other (which is little to no mercy at all). The only characters who aren't consistently one of these are Kedamono and Frog and that's only because they're on the nicer side.
  • Becoming the Mask:
    • Kedamono's mask has this effect on anyone other than him wearing them.
    • In episode 21, Super Strength, Papi is seen inside the sun, suiting his attire. He then commands the moon to destroy the Earth.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: On Kedamono's birthday, his cake is eaten by Frog, who then takes over Popee's body and tries to kill him. And when he does manage to get his cake back, it's ruined by a cockroach.
  • Bones Do Not Belong There: When most of the cast are turned into skeletons at the end of episode 20, Hypnotism, Kedamono is shown to have bones in his ears.
  • Berserk Button: God help you if you touch Papi's elephant car Paola.
    • While Popee has an extremely short temper at the best of times, damaging his beloved bunny ears is just asking for a world of hurt.
    • Kedamono, for the most part, is a really nice guy. However, as Alien learned the hard way in Episode 12, Escape Show, destroying his chicken and then mocking him about it is a horrible idea.
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: Not only is Kedamono tortured in almost every episode, but Frog gets used as part of a knife game in Episode 27, Knife Game and run over and killed by a unicycle in episode 26, Monocycle.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Popee, when Frog takes over his body in episode 7, Karate Show.
  • Butt-Monkey: Kedamono. Whether he's suffering the torment from Popee, or finds himself wound up in a misadventure, the poor wolf-man just can't seem to catch a break.
  • Crapsack World: Downplayed. The show takes place out in the desert where no one is aware of the torment that the characters regularly go through, and thus, no one to intervene.
  • Circling Birdies: Parodied. In the episode "In The Mind," Kedamono trips on a rock and drops the pins he's juggling, resulting in these. Papi then takes one of the birds above his head and eats it.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Popee's sheer batshit-insanity mixed with his Ax-Crazy tendencies is matched only by the less violent-tempered Papi.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The whole show! Such antics include Popee impaling both himself and Kedamono at the same time, Kedamono dragging Popee with a truck, and Popee and Papi getting into a fight and throwing the sun and moon at each other.
  • Cool Car: Paola, the elephant with a car for a body.
  • Cool Mask: Kedamono has a near endless supply of masks that fall off to reveal different faces depending on his expression.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Kedamono has a mask for pretty much every possible occasion.
  • Creepy Family: Papi and his children are all bizarre, to say the least. Sociopathic might be a better way to describe it.
  • Cruel Elephant: Paola is capable of beating someone up bad. The defining moment is in episode 29, Dark Side, where she knocks Popee out with a mace, all the while running him over.
  • Death as Comedy: Nearly all of the deaths are played as humorous.
  • Deranged Animation: Most parts of the show contains very disturbing, wild, and unsettling animation.
  • Didn't Think This Through: A couple times.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Abuse Paola, get abused by Paola.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Papi often corrects Popee's attempts to maim others, because he's not doing it correctly. This rarely ends well for Kedamono.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Popee dreams of Kedamono doing this in episode 39, Face.
  • Epic Fail: Kedamono's attempt to jump through a flaming ring burns down the entire circus.
  • Eyeless Face: Popee accidentally loses their eyes in episode 13, Dance.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The show's version of Amusing Injuries tends to involve bloody noses or faces, plus two episodes end with Popee receiving a gaping gunshot wound to the forehead.
  • Fatal Fireworks: At the end of episode 2, Limbo, Kedamono's tail catches on fire. After chasing Popee for a bit, they both fall into a box of fireworks, which ignites and explodes.
  • Five-Finger Fillet: Played for laughs. And using a frog.
  • Friend to Psychos: Papi and Kedamono to Popee, though sometimes they're psychos themselves.
  • Gentle Giant: God is one, at least as long as you don't anger or disrespect him.
  • The Greys: The Alien is a small, grey humanoid with big black eyes and a reflective suit.
  • Happy Circus Music: The theme song and most of the background music.
  • Hollywood Magnetism: In episode 3, Acrobatics, Popee gains magnetic powers after being struck by lightning, and the things his magnetism attracts get bigger and bigger until he gets hit by a truck.
  • Hurt Foot Hop: Popee has a tendency to do this after accidentally hurting himself.
  • Hypno Pendulum: In episode 20, Hypnotism, Popee and Papi use these.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Popee and Papi practice this in episode 20, Hypnotism.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: In episode 29, Dark Side, Papi and Kedamono enjoy a delicious snack prepared by Popee just to realize they're eating Paola's trunk.
  • Imagination-Based Superpower: Kedamono has superpowers so powerful that he can swim in solid sand just by thinking of water.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: The show's title song, "Popee the Clown", is made up entirely of gibberish with the exceptions of the phrases "Popee the clown" and "Kedamono". A "translated" version was made to accompany it, though it still includes some gibberish.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: Popee and Kedamono are both very skilled at knife throwing in very different ways. Kedamono never hits the person being thrown at, but Popee always does.
  • Masochist's Meal: In episode 11, Swallower, Popee swallows a sword. Later he eats Kedamono and then eats the sword again to try and kill him.
  • Mirror Universe: Popee accidentally enters one through a mirror, where he and Kedamono have switched roles.
  • Negative Continuity: Each episode is self-contained. Multiple episodes end with part or all of the cast dead, only to be perfectly fine next time.
  • Only Sane Man: Kedamono is surprisingly kind and is often times the only one horrified by the situations Popee and Papi get them all into.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different: No time machines exist, only time bombs.
  • Recycled Animation: Episode 32, In The Mind, is essentially just Popee knocking Papi out, Papi's head getting large, Papi cutting Papi's head open and finding another Papi inside of his head. Eventually Popee himself goes insane from how much the animation is reused.
    • Episode 30, Vs God, and episode 38, Time, re-use the exact same intro; featuring Popee and Kedamono practicing juggling with bowling pins, before Popee gets mad at Kedamono for being better at it than him.
    • Episode 1, Magic, and episode 14, Great Magic, re-use the same intro as well; this is referenced in the similar titles
    • Any time the explosion effect is used with Kedamono and Popee
  • Resurrection/Death Loop: Basically episode 4, Knife Thrower.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Kedamono’s real face. The final episodes fake reveal actually adds more mystery: why does looking like his mother upset Kedamono so much?.
  • Running Gag: An enormous, sky-high explosion, usually caused by Papi or Popee.
  • Sadist Show: No one is safe from the callously brutal antics of Popee, Kedamono, or Papi.
  • Saw a Woman in Half: Starts with Kedamono and switches to Popee, both with horrible results With a chainsaw, of course.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: When the catchy circus theme song comes up during an episode, which happens frequently, it's usually when something tense or horrifying is going on. Particularly noticeable in episode 37, Loneliness, where the theme begins to play as Popee falls to his knees, sobbing intensely as his loneliness and solitude consumes him after being seemingly abandoned by his only friends.
    • In episode 11, Swallower, despite its reputation for being the most gruesome episode in the series, a cheery, lullaby-esque rendition of the main theme plays in the background for the entire episode.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: There's at least one explosion per episode, usually as a result of one of Popee's bomb-throwing tantrums, or Papi using bundles of dynamite as "encouragement".
  • Suck Out the Poison: In episode 17, Poison, Papi sucks the poison out of Kedamono after he's stung by a scorpion. He (forcefully) does the same to Popee, before becoming overwhelmed with the poison himself and dying.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Frog suddenly finds his voice in the final episode, just to tell everyone when he saw Kedamono's usually hidden face.
  • Surreal Humor: The entire show runs on this.
  • Surreal Horror: The show is just as bizarre as it is horrifying.
  • Swallowed Whole: In episode 31, Sleep, Popee tears off his eyelids for a trick. Many hours later he can't sleep, so after many failed attempts and shenanigans, Papi resorts to swallowing him whole and it surprisingly works and Popee is able to sleep. Yes, you just read that right.
    • In episode 11, Swallower, Popee swallows Kedamono whole following the aftermath of a sword swallowing trick gone wrong.
  • Temporal Duplication: In episode 16, Stop The Gun, Kedamono accidentally kills Popee, so he goes back in time to stop himself, but he fails, so Kedamono time travels with the past Kedamono to stop Kedamono, but they time-traveled to when Kedamono was going to stop Kedamono, so they keep time-traveling. Eventually, they time travel so much there's infinite Kedamonos.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Basically every episode, one or more of the main characters die, but appear again perfectly fine next episode.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: This happens to Kedamono in Episode 25, Samurai, where instead of being tortured like he usually is, he's just observing Popee and Papi's duel (or at least it would be a duel if one of them actually made a move). The worst thing that happens to him is that his hand gets stuck in a candy jar and he is shown happily licking a lollipop at the end of the episode.
  • Time Travel: Using a time bomb.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Kedamono and his chicken legs.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Most episodes involve the characters injuring themselves grievously through various means only to suddenly get better moments later merely to repeat the cycle over again.
  • Villainous Harlequin: Both Popee and Papi have their moments. Lots and lots of moments.
  • The Voiceless: Everyone except for the frog in the last episode, although a Japanese fan dub does exist.
  • William Telling: Inverted in episode 4, Knife Thrower, when Popee tries to hit an apple he placed on Kedamono's head, he hits Kedamono instead. He doesn't give up; he summons Kedamono from Heaven over and over to do it again, and it doesn't stop until Popee ends up killing himself.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: Played repetitively in episode 4, Knife Thrower. Kedamono's soul flies off as he repeatedly dies, and Popee has to coax it back.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Happens to Kedamono frequently. In episode 7, Karate Show, for example, he manages to save Popee from being possessed by Frog and get his birthday cake back, only for a cockroach to fall on the cake and ruin it.
  • You Have Failed Me: In episode 28, Alien, Papi summons Alien to do a circus trick, but Alien doesn't want to. That starts a trend of Alien disappointing someone and the disappointed person punching him so hard he goes flying.
  • Your Mom: The frog says that Kedamono's face looks just like his mother.


Video Example(s):


Popee The Performer - Poison

When Popee and Kedamono are stung by a scorpion, Papi takes it upon himself to suck out the poison for them. Much to Popee's horror.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / SuckOutThePoison

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