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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 chronicle the antics of a small cast of characters consisting of:

  • Popee, a clown... person... thingamabob dressed in striped pajamas with bunny ears and a cat's tail. Popee is unhinged, self-absorbed, and desperately wants to be the star of the circus. He's always eager to show Kedamono up, or abuse him for showing him up.
  • Kedamono, Popee's coworker, a purple wolf who wears orange boxer shorts and a virtually infinite amount of Noh masks to look like a person, who often tends to get the short end of the stick.
  • 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.
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  • 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 provides examples of:

  • All-CGI Cartoon: an early 2001 example with all the imperfections of the new technology being done on a shoestring budget.
  • Becoming the Mask:
  • 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.
  • Berserk Button: God help you if you touch Papi's elephant car Paola.
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  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Popee, when Frog takes over his body in episode 7.
  • 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.
  • Cartoon Bomb: With faces.
  • Circling Birdies: Repeatedly happens in episode 32.
  • 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!
  • Cool Mask: All of Kedamono's masks.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Kedamono has a mask for pretty much every possible occasion.
  • Creepy Circus Music: The theme song and most of the background music.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Popee dreams of Kedamono doing this in episode 39.
  • Deranged Animation: Most parts of the show contains very disturbing, wild, and unsettling animation.
  • Eyeless Face: Popee accidentally loses their eyes in episode 13.
  • 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.
  • Five-Finger Fillet: Played for laughs. And using a frog.
  • Friend to Psychos: Papi and Kedamono to Popee, though sometimes they're psychos themselves.
  • Hypno Pendulum: In episode 20, Popee and Papi use these.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Popee and Papi practice this in episode 20.
  • 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 one episode, 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.
  • 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 Gunman where Popee gets pissed off and does a spray and pray against Kedamono, ending with Popee and him playing bullet tennis in glee. Till Popee gets it between the eyes.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: There's at least one explosion per episode.
  • Suck Out the Poison: In episode 17, 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 one episode, 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.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Basically every episode, one or more of the main characters die, but appear again perfectly fine next episode.
  • Time Travel: Using a time bomb.
  • 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.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Happens to Kedamono frequently. In episode 7 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.
  • Your Mom: The frog says that Kedamono's face looks just like his mother.


Video Example(s):


Popee the Performer OP

This 2001 CGI anime is quite the product of it's time.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / DerangedAnimation

Media sources:

Main / DerangedAnimation