Follow TV Tropes


Manga / Pop Team Epic

Go To
Popuko and Pipimi, setting the mood.

"There is no darkness but ignorance"
William Shakespeare, in Twelfth Night, the official website's substitute for a premise

Pop Team Epic (ポプテピピックnote ) is a comedy yonkoma web comic created by Bkub Okawa (otherwise known for his Touhou Project doujins) and published by Takeshobo on their free Manga Life Win service (Second Season, Season 3, Season 5). A Scanlation has been gathered on Tumblr, while Vertical Comics had licensed it for an official English translation in October 2018.

It's best described as a Widget Series with negligible continuity and humor that often relies on Non Sequiturs or Japanese pop culture references, heavily mocking and parodying other manga, anime, and video games, as well as a heaping helping of Self-Deprecation. The only recurring characters are a pair of schoolgirls named Popuko, the blond-haired shorter one with a visibly drawn nose and who is quicker to anger, and Pipimi, the dark-haired taller one who is generally calmer. Other details tend to vary between comic strips. There's really nothing like it out there.


In April 2017, an anime adaptation was finally announced for release later that year in October 2017, only to be delayed to January 2018 due to production difficulties. The series takes on a Sketch Comedy format, with different segments' animation handled by different animation studios. The bulk of the series is done by Kamikaze Douga, who handles segments with 3D computer animation, and Space Neko Company, who handles the 2D animated segments as well as most of the "POP TEAM STORY" segments that feature original stories with gags inspired by the manga. Other recurring animation directors include:

  • Makoto Yamashita, in charge of the "POP TEAM 8bit" video game parody segments made with original pixel art animation; which he's using as his final term project in a college art program
  • Kamikaze Douga's Thibault Tresca, creator of the Gratuitous French "JAPON MiGNON" segments that only exist because he knows absolutely no Japanese and his superiors thought it'd be funny to let him do what he wants just based on the art
  • Advertisement:
  • AC-bu (AC部), creators and voice actors of the "Bob Epic Team" segments which are known for their...distinct and intentionally inconsistent off-model art style
  • UchuPeople, a married couple who create the "POP TEAM DANCE" music videos starring Stop Motion felted puppets
  • Kazuki Sekiguchi, director of the "Pop Team Cooking" Cooking Show parodies that make use of Line Boil
  • Miyo Sato, who uses sand art and painting on glass as she did for Mob Psycho 100 to create the "Pop Team Epic Tales of Long Ago" segments
  • Yuanyuan Hunote  and Asami Ikenote  both produced segments featuring their unique art styles, and Gorilla Film made two different segments with drastically different styles note 
  • Episode 13 brings us "POP CLAY EPIC", Claymation shorts made by BUSTED ROSE. In addition, a unique intro was produced by Sunrise, directed by Masami Obari.
  • Episode 14 features Toshiyuki Aoyama's 3D "Popxar" shorts, "Pop Team Collage" by Yoko Ko, and "Pop Team Pastel" by Satomi Yonetani. With composite studio Asura Film and AC-bu each doing their own takes on a theoretical Hoshiiro Girldrop intro.

Each episode is a Quarter Hour Short... sort of. Once the episode ends, an encore presentation is immediately broadcast afterwards but with a completely different voice cast for Popuko and Pipimi, with one pair generally being two women and the other pair two men.note  In each pair, the two have some relationship between them, generally as a pairing in a previous show or simply a well-publicized friendship. Sometimes the dialog and jokes are different between the two versions of the episode, either due to ad libbing on the actors' parts or jokes have been rewritten to fit in with a particular actor's prior roles, as well as other minor roles being recast for humorous effect. By the time the series ended in late March 2018, after 12 episodes, Popuko and Pipimi had been voiced by 24 different people each, not counting the "Bob Epic Team" and "JAPON MiGNON" segments which each have different recurring voice actors and the two different sets of vocalists for the series' Insert Songs and ending theme songs.note  And that's just the original Japanese broadcast version. Funimation and Sentai Filmworks both picked up the series for English audiences, producing two different translated scripts distributed to their own simulcast services as well as Crunchyroll and others. Toonami announced that they would begin airing the anime on June 30, 2018.

It is currently up in the air as to whether or not the anime will get a second season. A TV special featuring two new episodesnote  was broadcast on April 1, 2019. But at least we know Hoshiiro Girldrop is coming back for us to fall in love with again.

Let's Trope Together:

    open/close all folders 

  • The Abridged Series: Surprisingly, the series received a few in English and one in (Chilean) Spanish as Pop Team Epic en Chileno.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adaptation Distillation: The nature of the manga as yonkoma non sequiturs means there is little continuity to be had. That has not stopped the anime from combining some strips with common themes into a longer segment. One example from episode 4 combines the strip about a conveniently placed save point, where around the next corner is the Boss, with the strip featuring the evil demon lord and the beanbag chair, with a Dragon Quest inspired loading screen between the two scenes.
    • Other times, two thematically-linked strips are each adapted back to back with eye catches in between, such as the "part time job" strip and the "list" strip, or the "I have to go to school, Mr. Futon" and "oversleeping" strips.
    • The Pop Team 8bit segments often take jokes from multiple strips and combine them together for a single video game themed Shout-Out segment. As an example, the second racing game segment from episode 7 starts out as a Super Mario Kart parody...before going directly into a Pokémon parody, where Popuko's Moveset references four strips in a sort of Freeze-Frame Bonus: "Shrinking", "All Pull Mandragora", "Next Door", and "Eisai Haramasukoi". She goes with "Shrinking", which segues into an adaptation of a strip with a reference to Trials of Mana, which then goes out of the 8bit segment into an adaptation of a strip where Popuko gets angry at losing a video game.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The manga is only a 4-panel gag series, so it's expected that the anime would expand on those to fill longer periods of time in the episodes. Some interesting examples include episode 8's "The Dragon of Iidabashi" Pop Team Story segment expanding on a small gag where Popuko writes "Designated Crime Syndicate" on the Takeshobo headquarters staffed by bamboo-headed people into a full yakuza family of bamboo-headed people and episode 11's "Eisai Haramasukoi" dance sketch segueing into the opening sequence featuring her in a club dancing to EDM music while Pipimi acts as a DJ.
    • AC-bu's Bob Epic Team segments go even further in expanding on the strips in their own unique ways, such as the extended fight scene and takuan factory during the "Are you mad?" sketch, the "Already seen it at the zoo" sketch adding more animals and revealing the girls have somehow made their way to Australia, the "I am not staring at you" sketch going into a mini music video, a full drum solo out of the "Mistimed Rimshot" sketch, and the complaint letter sketch resulting in animation with far more frames than AC-bu had ever used in any of their prior sketches. The most blatant example of their adding to the source material was being given the reins to make a Pop Team Story segment all about Pipimi daydreaming a documentary about Hellshake Yano...presented by the animators turned voice actors narrating their script over pencil sketches in multiple sketchbooks treated as puppets.
  • Affectionate Parody: UchuuPeople's videos for "Let's Pop Together" and the song featured in episode 14 are this to videos for Earth, Wind & Fire's "Let's Grove" and Armi ja Danny's "Tahdon olla sulle hellä" respectively.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Some strips have nothing to do with Popuko and Pipimi, focusing instead on some other characters and whatever weird things they're up to.
  • Animated Adaptation: Before the official anime was released, YouTuber CptNameless made an unofficial motion comic-styled version; it's still running today, albeit at a much slower pace than before, possibly to avoid having to compete with the anime.
  • Animation Bump: The show's segments that weren't done entirely in its signature art style could delve into this. Pop Team Cooking, for example, is the closest the anime looks to a kids cartoon, utilizing squiggly lines, darker pastel colors and generally more in-betweens than usual; while JAPON MiGNON takes the show's CG animation and plucks the choppiness out of it. Then there is Bob Epic Team which over- and under-animates things on its own accord while making sure no one stays on model for too long.
    • Likewise played with in Episode 13's opening sequence. The animation plays out like a normal skit, before revealing a fluidly-animated Pipimi-Robo in the final shot. This bump caries over to the intro.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification:
    • One strip personifies their publisher as Lord Takeshobo no Hikomaro, an emperor pursuing Pop Team Epic to presumably capture it and lock it away (or kill it). Popuko plays the role of her own manga.
    • In announcement strips, Takeshobo is often portrayed as a man with bamboo for a head.
    • Episode 8's Pop Team Story "The Rising Dragon of Iidabashi - Pipi the Avenger" has the entire yakuza Bamboozle Gang (Chikushokai); lower ranked members are bamboo shoots, the next tier up are bamboo shafts, and the Boss is a kadomatsu (the three angle-cut bamboo stalks used for Japanese New Year celebrations).
  • April Fools' Day:
    • The official anime website was put up on March 31 as the site for an adaptation of Bkub's romcom manga Hoshiiro GirlDrop. On April 2nd, it was updated to show Popuko tearing it apart, revealing that Pop Team Epic itself was getting an anime adaptation.
    • For April Fools 2019, an hour-long TV special with two new episodes' worth of content were aired on four different channels. Each channel had different voice actors for both the A-side and B-side version of each episode.
  • Art Evolution: While the comic itself is already a noticeable upgrade from Bkub's early doujins, that doesn't mean the guy hasn't changed his style since starting Pop Team Epic. For comparison's sake, these are two of the earliest strips in the manga's run, while these two are more recent contributions. Aside from the lineart being a lot cleaner, Popuko and Pipimi have become noticeably rounder and stouter; this is particularly noticeable with Pipimi, who appears comparatively chubby as a result.
  • Art Shift:
    • Happens a lot in the manga:
    • The anime follows suit. All skits presented are rendered with various mediums, from crappy scribbles, CG animation, stop-motion, to by-the-book shout-outs:
      • Episodes 2, 4, 12 and 14 have musical segments animated entirely with felt dolls.
      • Episode 2 also featured a segment where the animation studio—Space Neko Company, straight out aired their rough key-animations, only to be intervened by "the finished-looking" Popuko and Pipimi, and ends with a live-action segment of the guest voice actors complaining to the recording staff within their recording room.
      • The anime's DVD and Blu-Ray editions have different cover art as a call back to the "Blu-Ray Version" joke from the manga. And they're all Die Hard parodies.
    • And of course, the iconic "overly-detailed middle fingers" pose seen above.
    • After Takeshobo "rebooted" the comic for an arc, BL mangaka Harada took over art duties.
    • Done for 2019 April Fools Special's intros. While episode 13 features an intro sequence guest animated by Sunrise and Masami Obari, influenced by the Humongous Mecha genre that they're both known for. A Hoshiiro Girldrop intro opens episode 14... only for the second half's version of the same intro to be taken over by AC-bu instead.
    • Episode 13's "Pop Clay Epic" segments are of course, made of clay.
    • Pop-tan, the Lighter and Softer Season 4 opener, was in the style of how Bkub usually draws his happier comics like his Cinderella Girls and later Touhou doujins. The girls are even shown opening their mouths for once.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: It's a comedy 4koma manga about two Super-Deformed schoolgirls with perpetual Cat Smiles, who often use rude language and do surreal and sometimes violent things.
  • Ascended Meme: Hellshake Yano was a headline performer at Animelo Summer Live 2018. And it was exactly the same as the sketch but in front of a live concert arena audience.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • How Season 2 of the manga opens up. After the conclusion of the original strip, Bkub started to draw for a comic called Hoshiiro Girldrop, about a boy encountering and housing a girl who supposedly was his childhood friend. While trying to convince the boy, the heroine rips off her face to reveal she's actually Popuko, kickstarting the real comic.
      • This gets two Call Backs in the anime: it was originally announced as a Hoshiiro Girldrop adaptation as an April Fools' Day joke, until an update the next day revealed the truth. The first episode proper also opens with a Cold Open and OP teasing the viewer into thinking it's a Girldrop anime, only ending when Popuko tears through the title card.
      • This is even lampshaded in a Freeze-Frame Bonus on episode 2, where one of the fortunes says "Terrible luck: You get to work on an incredibly cute idol anime but it ends up as the opening act to a shitty anime".
    • In the months leading up to the premiere of anime, the two voice actresses attached to the cast were announced as Mikako Komatsu as Popuko and Sumire Uesaka as Pipimi (she also sings the opening theme), as revealed during an advance screening of the anime in December 2017. However, this advance screening wasn't from the first episode. It was from episode 3. This led to weeks of awkward interviews with Komatsu and Uesaka who just so happened to be free during the pre-show press, despite the fact they both knew that they were only ever going to be used in one half of episode 3; Uesaka even berated the show's producer Kotaro Sudo for putting her in this predicament. After all, no one would know the truth until early January 2018, when viewers were treated to the vocal talents of Masashi Ebara and Hochu Otsuka instead, based on a strip where Popuko and Pipimi ask that these two men be their voice actors if Pop Team Epic ever becomes an anime. And thus began the show's descent into madness.
    • In the Vanver segment in episode 2, while the guest voice actors have an argument with the director, a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl fades in next to them. The narrator asks if we now understand what's going on as the camera zooms into... the corner of the room, where Popuko's and Pipimi's faces are hiding. In the reprise of the episode, with a completely different set of guest voice actors and completely different dialogue, when the camera zooms in to that corner there's instead a second ghost in the corner with her mouth wide-open... with Popuko and Pipimi hiding inside.
  • Big Applesauce: The setting of "Dancing with a Miracle". From the fact that the Twin Towers were still standing and the synth soundtrack in the beginning, the majority of it took place in the 80s as well.
  • Big Bad: In the first and last episodes of the anime, we got a new council of evil stalking the main duo. They're revealed to be King Records in the latter.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Pipimi here, in response to Popuko claiming that she'll die if she sees a jagged word bubble. (This, predictably, kills her. Twice.)
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor:
    • Many, many jabs are taken at Takeshobo (the comic's publisher). Getting shafted at parties is the kindest treatment they get. Even one dessert café promotion got in on it, featuring a waffle (standing up, so it resembles an office building) with the Takeshobo sign on it. As with the playable Taiko no Tatsujin track of Pop Team Epic's opening theme, which lets the player destroy an icon of Takeshobo's building upon tapping the drum controller to it.
    • Subverted in one comic where a budding manga artist was about to turn in his submission to Takeshobo, but Popuko and Pipimi show up with their own publishing company and offered up what seems to be a better guaranteed deal than Takeshobo's. The last panel indicates that the manga artist was never seen again after that point.
    • After the anime's premiere delay, the anime takes shots at King Records when it can.
    • The entirety of Episode 12's Pop Team Story is the girls fighting against King Records, along with the classic destruction of Takeshobo.
  • Bland-Name Product: Esahi Super Dry is this to Asahi Super Dry, just a letter off.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Here, Popuko manages to leave the Earth searching for her glasses. Since the series runs on Negative Continuity, this is the first and last time Popuko is even mentioned as needing glasses...unless she's been wearing contacts the whole time.
  • Blood Knight: Both of the girls love violence and destruction.
  • Book-Ends: Threefer;
    • The first and last Pop Team Stories center around the Nebulous Evil Organization King Records and their attempts to make Pop Team Epic into a more conventional anime series. Both attempts end with the girls emerging victorious.
    • The first sketch in episode 1 was Popuko punching Pipimi with the "Are you mad?" "I'm not mad" exchange. The last canonical joke has the girls' fused finishing move be a strong punch, and the exchange is used again, this time with the fusion asking and the five Kings responding.
    • Both the first and last episodes have "Pop Team Stories" parodying popular plotlines for their specific episode number: "Encounter" features the first episode of a romcom, while "THE AGE OF POP TEAM EPIC" is the last episode of a hot-blooded action series.
  • Bowdlerise: To a degree. Crunchyroll's English subs for the anime seems to avoid translating "kuso" as "shitty", replacing it with "weird", "silly", or other similar words; "shitty" only appears a few times, whereas "crappy" tends to be the strongest flavor in the absence of it. Averted with Sentai Filmworks'/HIDIVE's subs, which translates "kuso" appropriately as "shit"...and occasionally as "fuck", for good measure.
  • Brick Joke: At the start of Episode 5, the "Steamboat Willie" parody is censored with footage of a boat. Later on in the episode, we have a skit with Popuko doing her impression of Mi**ey, and we only get to see it via her shadow.
    • The boat censorship, which was placed there to indicate "violence and adult issues" which were deemed harmful to minors, also doubles as one in and of itself if you know the reference: the following skit, "IMO☆YOBA", which was not censored, sees Iyo Sakuragi snap and attempt to stab Pipimi with a knife, only for Hojo-senpai to take the hit. Complete with Gorn.
    • The "Blu-ray version" gag mentioned in Art Shift eventually returned when the anime started getting physical releases, with the DVD covers rendered in the standard style and the Blu-Ray covers done in a more realistic style.
    • In one strip, Popuko and Pipimi stick their tongues out at each other, a Beat panel happens, and then they turn to the reader with Popuko explaining that they couldn't think of a punchline, and will rewrite the strip once the tankobon comes out. And then the second tankobon came out, with the only change being a note underneath the strip: "Apologies. They still couldn't think of one."
  • Butt-Monkey: Hoshiiro Girldrop despite being fictional. All of the series' announcements are torn through by Popuko, their anime announcement was an April Fool's joke, and what little we do see from the anime from its previews shows that it's little more than moving clip-art.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Deconstructed outside of battle. Popuko tricks a robot into performing a rocket punch, so the robot has to chase after its flying fist. Popuko finds it hilarious.
  • The Cameo:
    • An early strip has Histral from Bkub's Mission Impossible comic suddenly show up out of nowhere. Lampshaded when Popuko mentions she hates it when Production Throwbacks happen.
    • The Hoshiiro Girldrop opening shows the God of Eurobeat near the left when the whole cast is rounded up. As he is a one-off character in the regular Pop Team Epic comics, this is one of many clues that Girldrop isn't the real focus.
  • Canon Immigrant: Averted for laughs by this strip. Pepayo claims to be a character that made her debut in the anime, only for Popuko and Pipimi to point out she never appeared in it.
    • The God of Eurobeat, or Kouji Shakano as he's now labelled, seems to be a permanent cast member of Hoshiiro Girldrop as Drop Stars' producer.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Textbook example in "Cursed Mansion" in episode 11, with an axe and two guns actually mounted on a wall. Well, unless you factor in the one unused gun at the end...
  • Chest Monster: A bizarre example - the two girls find an insect that disguises itself as a Village Vanguard storenote  to lure in and kill "subculture bitches".
  • Cliffhanger: Parodied; every chapter ends with "To Be Continued" despite the comic having Negative Continuity.
  • Clone Army: In the idol band Mockumentary sketch from episode 3 of the anime, Pipi-P (Pipimi), struggling to find replacements for Pop-chin (Popuko)'s backup singers in her idol band, eventually resorts to cloning Pop-chin herself. The Pop-chin clones eventually overrun humanity and lay cities to waste. This leads to Pipi-P ultimately becoming a ruling dictator, dressed like M.Bison/Vega no less.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Popuko tends towards this, though Pipimi is hardly a saint herself.
  • Completely Different Title: In-Universe example: Dancing with a Miracle was originally known as Dream in New York, but was changed when came time for translation.
  • Continuity Nod: In one of the rare moments of the manga having continuity, Popuko calls Pipimi out on daydreaming again, claiming the latter girl was imagining Hellshake Yano again after the first time she did it. Only this time, it's Magmamixer Murata.
  • Credits Gag: Starting with episode 3 of the anime, Bkub Okawa's "role" in the production changes per episode. They have been: Executive Kusomanga Advisor (3), Middle-of-the-Islandnote  Writer (4), College Dropout (5), Virtual YouTuber (6), Warrior of Light (7), Miyakkonote  (8), Let's Player (9), Manga Lover (10), Choreography (11), kuso manga boy (12), "jumped the shark" (13), Bkubku Okawa (14).
    • The opening sequence for the second half of Episode 10 suddenly has sound effects incorporated into the opening sequence, much like Kamikaze Douga's work on JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
    • In episode 12, both airings had different opening videos about Pop Team Epicrimson (a parody of the Sega Saturn game Death Crimson: opening cutscene in the first part, gameplay in the second.
  • Crossover: Sanrio collaborated with this series in 2018, for the Summer Comiket season.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: While the majority of the "Pop" in Pop Team Epic comes from anime and Japanese video games, quite a few references come from American pop culture as well: Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, Undertale, Cuphead, various Disney movies... the list goes on and on. There are also a lot of Die Hard references in the anime, due to the entire series being Author Appeal to its producer, Kotaro Sudo.
  • Cultural Translation:
    • Fanslations tend to do this occasionally. For example, one comic originally written entirely in the Banshu-bei dialect was changed to an exaggerated American Southern accent.
    • On the official side of things, episode 2 of the anime had Popuko sing a song, with another tagging along, upsetting Popuko. In Japanese, Popuko was singing "Shizukana kohan no mori no kage kara" (静かな湖畔の森の影から, literally "from the shadow of the woods by a quiet lakeside"), a Japanese children's folk song considered to be a variant of the Itsy Bitsy Spider melody. Funimation's English dub changes this to Popuko singing "Little Bunny Foo Foo" (a Western children's folk song also similar to Itsy Bitsy Spider) instead.
    • Episode 9's Pop Team Story "Dancing with a Miracle" is English in the first half (translated by guest cast member Ikuro Kamijo, a.k.a. YouTuber The Anime Man) and Okinawan in the second (translated by veteran actor Masahiro Arakaki). When Funimation dealt with translating this second translation into English, they picked Hawaiian Pidgin for the subs and an informal Southern American English accent for the dub. The Italian subs went instead with a Naples dialect.
  • Cut-and-Paste Comic: Lampshaded here, with a letter complaining about it.
  • Dada: The anime is as close to dada as an anime can get. The first episode consists of a fake intro for a fake show, then becomes a succession of short and completely random clips with multiple Art Shifts that make no sense whatsoever. Then the ending credits start to play halfway through... and then the second half replays exactly the same clips in exactly the same order, only with different voice actors.
    • Only this series could sell pieces of concrete (helpfully labeled "Pieces of Takeshobo") as good luck charms at a Comiket booth.
  • The Day the Music Lied: One strip / segment sees Popuko wake up to the strains of Peter Gynt's "Morning Mood" (as established by a caption)... only to discover, after getting dressed and opening her curtains, that it's still night outside. Cue caption abuse.
  • Darker and Edgier: The version of the anime streamed on HIDIVE is noticably swearier and more tasteless.
  • Deader Than Dead: The "jagged speech bubble" gag.
  • Denser and Wackier: The "Part-B" version of the unfinished anime segment during Episode 2 features a different live-action segment than the "Part-A" version; while "Part-A" simply has the voice actors be upset with the producer over the excess amount of improv they were being asked to do and leave, "Part-B" had one of the voice actors in the fetal position (due to being forced to improv), followed by the other voice actor outright attacking the producer and playing Keep Away with his glasses before leaving.
  • Deranged Animation: Pretty much omnipresent throughout the anime, but especially in the deliberately Off-Model "Bob Epic Team" segments. Even in their "normal" forms, Popuko and Pipimi's extreme chibi character designs can be disturbing to look at, especially given the way their vaguely vulgar-looking mouths move.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Popuko's reaction to a bear smoking where he shouldn't be is to chop off his cigarette with an axe. When he gets out another one, she instead lodges it in his head.
    • A city advisor asks Popuko to build something for children. She builds a rocket swing. When the advisor tells her it might be too dangerous for kids, she accuses him of being an Ungrateful Bastard and asks to collect his head.
    • In one strip, the waiter at a restaurant splashes Popuko when he sets her glass of water down too hard. So when he leavs, she lays out a bear-trap for the guy and rings the service bell to bait him into the trap.
    • Another strip has Popuko sliding down a handrail, only to be knocked off by a man sliding behind her. Her response is to shoot him.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: One of the fortunes in Episode 2, combined with Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    You are too busy watching the boobs to notice Popuko on the right.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • In some early comics, the girls' mouths actually opened whenever they spoke, as opposed to always being shut, like they do now.
    • Several early strips had Popuko encounter various non-traditional "gods", such as the God of Laziness and the God of Eurobeat.
    • Other early comics don't feature Popuko or Pipimi at all, such as "Bacon Musha-Musha-kun", "Bara-bara Tai-chan", and the "Ponta the Hamster" strips. Ironically, these were made into segments for the later anime episodes.
    • Some early chapters also render the Latinized title of ポプテピピック as "Pop Teen Epic", before finally sticking to the current "Pop Team Epic". The first strips called the title Poptepipic Hardcore.
    • The first episode of the anime had the men voice actors come on first before the women. From the second episode onwards, the women voice actors come on before the men. Also, in the first episode Popuko's voice actor is a man in both versions.
      • Also from the anime, the Pop Team Story segments started out lacking a sense of story structure in the first few episodes. It's not until the third episode's Pop Team Story where they began having something resembling plots.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Three times. Once in the opening sequence, once (albeit on a slightly smaller scale) during the hiccups segment, and once in the "Tree of the Heart" segment (where it's more of an Earth Shattering Karate Chop).
  • Enhanced on DVD: Spoofed here with an Art Shift to a significantly more detailed "Blu-ray version" of the preceding panel.
    • Spoofed in a different way here, where Popuko admits that there's no punchline, but it'll be redrawn for the print collection.
    • Even the DVD and Blu-Ray covers for the anime get in on the joke.
  • Enfant Terrible: They have no qualms about killing people who annoy them or for the sake of a reference.
  • Exact Words: In the Mockumentary portion of episode 3 of the anime, Pipi-P (Pipimi) told a smoking Pop-chin (Popuko) to "lose the cigarettes". Pop-chin then proceeds to replace her cigarette with a cigar, which Pipi-P actually commended her for.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The cold opening, title sequence and next episode preview for the first episode of Pop Team Epic are from Hoshiiro Girldrop, which only actually exists in a very short run series the creator apparently made between hiatus periods on the manga. Only the end credits are NOT from Girldrop.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Popuko's nonstop hiccuping. After Pipimi tells her of a rumor that hiccuping 100 times could kill someone, she stops at 99... and promptly self-destructs.
  • Fan Animation: Pop Team Epic has various fan animations on YouTube, since motion comics and fan adaptations of Four Koma to MS Paint versions of the opening, as others. There're a lot to choose here...
  • Fan Flattering: Combined with Take That, Critics! and Biting-the-Hand Humor here; Popuko prepares a party and offers a fancy table with luscious food and drink for the comic's fans (while haters and Takeshobo guests are forced to sit on the floor).
  • Fear of Thunder: Popuko, so much that she cusses out thunderstorms.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Here, Popuko makes a YouTube video so bad that she gets arrested for it.
  • Flipping the Bird: As seen in the page image, Popuko and Pipimi tend to do this often (usually with realistically-detailed hands) as a way to contrast with their cute designs.
  • Flirty Stepsiblings: The premise of episode 5's "IMO☆YOBA"note  skit is that Iyo Sakuragi and Hojo-senpai fall in love with each other but end up becoming stepsiblings when Iyo's deadbeat dad remarries Hojo's equally deadbeat mother. And Hojo's mom and Iyo's "dad" turn out to be (who else?) Popuko and Pipimi, respectively.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The anime adaptation of the "please subscribe to our channel" comic. The first time, the scene cuts to black and you hear the ringing of a phone. The second time, it cuts to black and you hear a knock on the door...
  • Foreign Queasine: One of the anime's JAPON MiGNON segments has Popuko and Pipimi try to be adventurous and order some French food; Pipimi orders andouillette corsée, a traditional offal sausage, and Popuko chooses salade de Maroilles chaud, a salad made from the strong smelling Maroilles cheese. Once they receive their food, they're visibly put off by how strong the dishes smell, and a fly drops dead as it hovers above the table. In the next scene, they've gone to a ramen restaurant instead.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The twirling scene in the opening theme has the girls match their outfits to the country they’re in. There are also numerous blink-and-you'll-miss-it gags in the background.
      • Earlier in the opening sequence, when the pencil case is unzipped to show Popuko's eyes, Egyptian hieroglpyhics are on the nearby piece of paper. They read out "KUSOANIME POPUTEPIPItuKU YOROSHKU (O)N(E)GYSHMSU", or "Please enjoy shitty anime Pop Team Epic" in English.
    • Even though it's censored, people can tell the wiki check on episode 1 was the Japanese Wikipedia page for ''Pop Team Epic''.
    • Episode 2 of the anime had a bunch of fortunes being displayed rapidly in succession, the viewer apparently is supposed to take photos of them with their cell phone camera. This handy link screenshots and translates them all.
    • In Episode 6 of the anime, when Popuko and PP1000 are playing a very faced-pace version of shogi, you can briefly see Popuko Flipping the Bird. The same scene has the PP1000 playing Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, go stones, and throwing a star-marked sutra.
    • Episode 10. The murder victim was able to write the murderer's name in his own blood, but everyone misses it.
    • Episode 11 has a picture in the background of the scenes in the party room that looks exactly like Bkub's Twitter avatar.
    • Episode 12: The final explosion that demolished the building of Takeshobo had the flames make out Popuko's face. In the encore performance it's Pipimi instead.
    • While Shouta Aoi sings the ending theme in the second half, in one close-up he's wearing a mask of his own face...which you can now buy on a T-shirt.
    • In the Crossover promo for Batman Ninja, a highly detailed picture of Popuko (as Batman) punching Pipimi (as Joker) can be seen before transitioning to a fight scene from the film itself. And there's also exclusive Batman Ninja Popuko and Pipimi Nendoroids (apparently not for sale).
  • French Accordion: Invoked and played for laughs in the JAPON MiGNON segment, in which Popuko and Pipimi go to France and test all the French cliches, including the accordion as the background music in all the gags.
  • French Jerk: The JAPON MiGNON segment of episode 1 has Popuko and Pipimi travelling to Paris and wondering how they will communicate. Pipimi tries to imitate a French mime to speak to a local. He responds by Flipping the Bird. Oh, and these segments are animated by a French guy.
  • Funny Background Event: When Thibault Tresca is on camera presenting the JAPON MiGNON sketches, a Pipimi plush can be seen in the background. With each successive episode the plushie gets closer until the final sketch when it's right in Tresca's cubicle.
  • Fusion Dance: Popuko and Pipimi perform one in Episode 12 in order to take down King Records once and for all. The resulting fusion looks like a combination of Popuko's short build and Pipimi's hairstyle, and is also completely gold.
    • Speaking of which, the King Records executive seems to do the same with their own building, resulting in a giant, possibly mecha thing named Akashic Records that wouldn't be out of place in Super Robot Wars.
  • Gag Dub: Oddly averted. Funimation's dub cast sticks to the script without any ad libbing, unlike the more loose nature of the Japanese acting, aside from one Eye Catch in episode 11 where Michael Sinterniklaas goes, "Nice one, Sean," after Sean Schemmel flubs saying the title.
  • Gag Series: But of course, something which the anime version somehow manages to exaggerate this further. One example: the scene featuring an ominous council remarking on how a Yonkoma could never become an anime features a character with a fidget spinner for no reason at all.
  • Golden Super Mode: In Episode 12, as Popuko and Pipimi fuse together and turn into "a new warrior" that's completely gold. Their golden color is a reference to God Gundam's Hyper Mode, confirmed since the eyecatches just before this segment are a direct reference to Mobile Fighter G Gundam's eyecatches.
  • Good Morning, Crono: In the first episode of the anime, Popuko wakes up and runs to school but something bad happens and resets her back to bed repeatedly. This skit even includes a reference to Crono crashing into Marle in the Trope Namer, Chrono Trigger.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The Battle of Takeshobo is only viewed from outside the building. Justified as the building then collapses.
  • Gratuitous English: Happens in one strip; Popuko tries to ask for a hamburger, but the cashier rather condescendingly corrects her with the proper English pronunciation. Popuko responds thusly.
    • In another comic:
      Popuko: "GO GO GO GO"
      Pipimi: "HEY HEY HEY HEY"
      Pipimi: "DANGER ZONE"
      Popuko: "I LOVE DANGER ZONE..."
  • Gratuitous French: The JAPON MiGNON sketches from the anime are written and directed by French animator Thibault Tresca who works at Kamikaze Douga and features Popuko and Pipimi's travels in France, with both voiced by native French speakers Fanny Bloc and Christine Bellier. His colleagues at Kamikaze Douga decided to just give him strips of the comic to read, and Tresca, who cannot understand Japanese, just makes self-deprecating jokes about life in France rather than making "canon" stories.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Episode 9's Pop Team Story "Dancing with a Miracle" has a completely fluent English narration and acting from American-born Ayumu Murase as the young Joseph and the half-Aussie Ikuru Kamijou (a.k.a. YouTuber The Anime Man) as the older Joseph, who was also responsible for translating the script from Japanese into English. The encore performance decides to go in a completely different linguistic direction, by having the same segment narrated and acted in Okinawan. Masahiro Arakaki (Grandpa in Haitai Nanafa) translated the script into Okinawan (Shuri dialect, specifically), and Okinawa-born voice actors Shino Shimojinote  and Tarusuke Shingaki take over the roles of Joseph. Funimation only provides subtitles for this second half...but they're in Hawaiian Pidgin English. Their dub takes a similar turn, with a "Standard" American accent in the first half, and a Southern drawl in the second.
  • Hand-Hiding Sleeves: Pipimi uses them to hide her Devil Hand.
  • Hero of Another Story: The cast of Hoshiiro Girldrop are basically interrupted by Popuko and Pipimi's antics. All we ever get to see from their show are the On the Next segments.
  • Heroic BSoD: Pipimi out of the blue asks Popuko to imagine her becoming an adult before she does. It does not go well.
    • It's arguably worse in the anime version (episode 2), because Pipimi asked this while both of them were on the floor, violently laughing.
      Pipimi: (sits up) Say, think about what you'll do if I become an adult tomorrow before you.
      Popuko: (still laughing; abruptly stops; Empty Eyes)
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: "IMO☆YOBA" has Popuko and Pipimi be Iyo and Hojo's step-parents. Among their acts includes blowing all their money on pachinko machines, constantly distracting them from studying by doing puppet shows outside their window, and keeping them up at night by Char's Gelgoog Dancing near their beds.
  • Horrifying the Horror: At one point, Popuko is called by the subject of the "Phonecall from Mary" urban legend. Instead of freaking out she gets pissed off and picks up her nail covered bat to fight back. When she doesn't find Mary in front of her house she actually calls the possessed doll to ask where she is. The anime adaptation of the skit even has Mary's response sound absolutely terrified!
    Mary: I-I am Mary.
    Popuko: WHERE ARE YOU?
    Popuko: DON'T YOU RUN AWAY!
  • How We Got Here: The Hiccups skit begins with the main duo in the afterlife as Popuko apologizes for what she did. It then flashes back ten minutes earlier.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Here, Popuko takes two panels to declare that there won't be any more copy-pasting... in a pose that is identical between both panels.
    • This strip has Popuko resort to asking "Protest-About-Things-On-Twitter Man" to protest about a woman ignoring her child while on the phone... presumably while on the phone himself, and similarly not doing a thing to resolve the "woman ignoring child" problem.
    • Popuko can't believe when girls call their beau sickeningly sweet slang nicknames. When Pipimi shows some interest in it, the former girl switches to calling her one of those nicknames immediately.
  • Identical Grandson: Parodied in the "IMO☆YOBA" skit, where both Iyo and Hojo's parents as well as their future children are portrayed by Popuko and Pipimi.
  • Improv: A few scenes in the anime are written like this, giving a blank where the voice actors can go completely off script. Parodied in the Fantasy World opening skit in Episode 2, where Popuko and Pipimi demand a couple of the characters there do impressions, prompting their voice actors to complain to the director that they can't do (, not supposed to do, or never informed they had to do) improv due to their “supposed” work not intended to have one in the first place.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Episode 12A of the Funimation dub has Popuko recite this when the two demolish the Takeshobo building. She interrogates an employee at gunpoint.
    Popuko: The anime is wrapping up, friend. IN THE NAME OF THE MOON, I WILL MAKE YOU PAY!
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: Funimation saw the opportunity to exploit the Japanese language in the Skeleton skit in episode 4.
    GT-R: Remember this: The R in "GT-R" stands for LEGEND!
  • Kansai Regional Accent: One comic is inexplicably written entirely in this. This fan translation, in a bit of Cultural Translation, instead uses an exaggerated American Southern accent.
  • Kick the Dog: During the Mockumentary segment, we are shown a montage of Pipi-P repeatedly (and literally) kicking out members of "Pop-chin with the Tame Monkeys" (and retooling the band with each new replacement) that didn't counterbalance Pop-chin herself. One iteration of the band did, in fact, have a dog as a member.
  • Kill It with Fire: This is Pipimi's reaction to Popuko's "music video" in one Bob Epic Team short.
    Pipimi: Turn it off! Stop right now and burn that tape in a fire!
    Popuko: Okay sure!
  • Late for School:
    • Parodied when Popuko tries getting to class via cape gliding.
    • Popuko fully embraces the cliche in the first episode, complete with a narration of how ordinary she is and a Toast of Tardiness.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Episode 12 is the only one featuring a new sketch in the second half of the episode. (More precisely, the Bob Epic Team sketch is different).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The interrogation strip focuses on Pipimi questioning Popuko about what she's done (being featured drinking beer in a commercial), while Popuko ignores her and continues to drink. This scene focuses on her doing the sort of Troubling Unchildlike Behavior that minors aren't allowed to do in Japanese media, making it seem like Pipimi is trying to make sure Popuko doesn't get the series into legal trouble.
    • During the idol mockumentary, Pipi-P motions Pop-chin to the cameraman, who just caught her smoking on tape. Her wondering about what Pop-chin is going to say about being caught mirrors the audience wondering about how a minor in middle school was able to be shown smoking on TV without being censored.
      • The male vocalists in the second part of the episode start to laugh at the end of the idol song they're singing.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • The JAPON MiGNON segments feature Popuko and Pipimi as earnest (and normal) Japanese tourists enjoying French culture whilst vacationing in Paris, showing no traces of their usual violent and vulgar selves. This is because the segments are animated by a French animator who couldn't understand Japanese and thus knew nothing about the series except the character designs.
    • The rocket swing strip took quite a turn in the anime. Rather than kill the mayor for not appreciating her work as in the manga, the Bob Epic Team version has Popuko shoot birdseed at him instead. The mayor turns into a pair of birds to eat it while Popuko watches with an uncharacteristically serene face.
    Popuko: Live well.
  • Limited Animation: The "IMO☆YOBA" sketch in episode 5 of the anime is animated in such a matter where Iyo and Hojo have barely any animation to them at all. Only Popuko and Pipimi are slightly more animated than everyone else there.
    • The show as a whole thrives on this, often for comedic effect like in the "Bob Epic Team" skits or episode 2's "Vanver" sketch.
  • Line Boil: A staple of Pop Team Cooking's artstyle.
  • Literal Metaphor: A charming thief claims his greatest desire is to steal a woman's heart, then takes it right from inside her while she's swooning. Doubly literal since her heart leaps right out of her chest when he pulls it off.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • The "beef or chicken" strip was, in its native language, about Popuko confusing the flight attendant's food inquiry for Japan's local flavor of the classic "man or mouse" question (Beef = strength, Chicken = cowardice). Without knowing that, it comes across as Popuko being a very picky eater, having an instance of Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!, or even, as one Tumblr user hypothesized, about to attack the flight attendant over being asked to decide.
    • In episode 2 of the anime, the ad-libs said by the voice actors are different in each replay even though both are subtitled similarly in English. The second half even features an attempt at impersonating Takeshi Kitano. In addition, it ends with the phrase "Did you get it?" "Owari itadake darou ka?," which is a phrase commonly found at the end of ghost hunting programs on Japanese television. This is but one example of how self-referential the anime is.
    • The "three times three" skit has another joke besides Popuko getting a very basic question wrong. In Japanese, the usual way of saying 3×3=9 is "sazan ga kyuu". Popuko, however, said it as "mimin ga mi" (3×3=3). This prompted Pipimi to ask "mimin ga?" ("what is 'mimin'?"). Popuko misunderstood the question as "what is 3×3?" and thus answered "3". The Funimation dub manages to translate this skit somewhat well, with the dialogue in question reading "three threes're three; threethrees?; three."
    • Episode 9's B-Part has the Pop Team Story segment in Okinawan subtitled in Japanese (the two languages are related but not mutually intelligible). Sentai Filmworks decided to subtitle it normally. Funimation decided to use something resembling Hawaiian Pidgin, which is at least intelligible to English speakers; anything else and having to subtitle the subtitles of the subtitles would be a bit much.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Episode 1 of the anime has Popuko trapped in a simulation referred to as "Macbeth's Miniature Garden."
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Parodied here. A girl can't handle the pressure of being confessed to by school hunk Kiyoshi-kun, as she's already dating the other most popular guy in school: his puppet.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Tree of the Heart" from episode 12, which starts out like an uplifting song that Japanese students typically sing at graduation but quickly veers into something else entirely. Added to by the fact that it's a stop motion skit filmed with felted Popuko and Pipimi puppets.
    It won't lose to the rain and wind or the cold
    That tree will grow tall and strong
    That's what growing up means (no complaining)
    No one is complaining (except you)
    It just shows you're not doing your best
    It just shows you're not doing your best
    I... will... kill... you...! (I will kill you, baby!)
  • Meta Twist: If there's a "letters" strip or skit, whatever is complained about in the letter will inevitably not be fixed (the manga's copy-pasting, the anime's glut of shout-outs). Then comes the Bob Epic Team version, where the complaint is about the segment's Limited Animation... to which Popuko actually commits and moves with way more frames than she did before accomplished via one of the animators filming himself dancing and then rotoscoping Popuko over himself. Pipimi, and the rest of the scene before this, has absolutely no animation at all.
  • Minimalist Cast: Just check the Characters page of this work. The only reoccurring characters are our two main characters, and everyone else is either inconsequential or only used for a gag.
    • This is of course subverted when it comes to the vocal cast, considering every episode has two different pairs of people voicing Popuko and Pipimi, without counting the musical interludes and the recurring French and Stylistic Suck sketches.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Played with. Pipimi gets a scratch on her knee and she reacts appropriately. Popuko, on the other hand, completely overreacts and struggles to put a band-aid on the bruise, making her freak out even more.
  • Mockumentary: Episode 3 of the anime has a sketch that plays out like this called "The Documentary: On the Other Side of an Idol's Dream", a documentary about Pop-chin (Popuko), her idol band "Pop-chin with the Tame Monkeys", and her manager Pipi-P (Pipimi).
    • Emotional Documentary: Hellshake Yano
  • Mondegreen: The official lyrics of "Let's Pop Together" aren't written in Japanese. They're instead English words that approximate the sounds of the supposed Japanese lyrics:
    anti seen just good more
    (アンチ、信者すぐとも Anchi, shinja sugu tomo, "You haters will become fans anyway")
    let’s pop together! ho o
    midnight day ikki to goon
    (みんなで意気投合 Minna de ikitougou, "It will become a hit with everyone")
    let’s pop together all night!
    seen just sky diamond now
    (信者、好きだもんな Shinja, suki da mon na, "Fans, we love you")
    oh ball later me to gun the show
    (おぼれて貢ぐんでしょう Oborete mitsugun deshou, "Because you put food on our tables")
    anti what’s hot can know
    (アンチは、ほっとけんの Anchi wa, hottoken no, "Haters, we don't care about you")
    mu down team chic show yeah reason
    (無駄打ち失笑やり損 Muda uchi shisshō yari son, "You're ridiculous, pathetic, not worth it at all")
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • One of the manga's favorite jokes - most commonly presenting an innocent scenario that abruptly turns dark near the end (see here for a good example).
    • The first episode of the anime already has several examples. Most notable is the Your Name bit, in which the bright sun that shines above the Crash-Into Hello scene turns out to actually be the meteor from the film, which eventually crashes, burning everything and the two protagonists into ash.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Episode 2 has the most epic bird-feeding sequence you'll ever see.note 
    • Episode 5. After voicing the Eye Catch announcement enough times, Tomokazu Sugita gets creative.
    • Hellshake Yano. Two guys rocking the shit out of a couple of sketchbooks. Drawn in pencil. With cutout panels. Try as you might, you cannot just look away.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Popuko and Pipimi being voiced by Masashi Ebara and Hochu Otsuka, respectively, in the first version of episode 1 of the anime is a reference to a strip in the manga where they specifically say they want these two men to voice them if they ever get an anime adaptation.
    • In the "JAPON MiGNON" segments, while Tresca is speaking about his current short, Pipimi and Popuko are shown nodding and crossing their arms. Similarly in "Ginza Hostess Detective", Popuko is told the solution to this week's murder mystery. Their poses and Popuko's quote in the latter short ("mmhmm, mhmmm, yeah, I've totally got it!") mimic her (faux) understanding of a subject in the manga; only this time, in the second one, she actually did understand the situation.
  • Negative Continuity: While this is the norm, one comic manages to do it in a single panel:
    [Panel 1]
    Both: [Inexplicably holding logs] "Yeah!"
    [Panel 2]
    Popuko: "Aah... It's fall so let's eat some delicious harvest food! I'm starving!"
    Pipimi: "Huh?"
    [Panel 3]
    Pipimi: "Wait a sec, what the heck's going on in panel 1?"
    [Panel 4]
    Popuko: "Oh, that's just for a Line Stickerinvoked, so let's just ignore it."
    • The anime follows the same formula, with everything treated as a sketch comedy, but episode 12 suddenly subverts it by having the ominous council from the first episode's Pop Team Story segment sending hitmen after Popuko and Pipimi because they have attained cultural hegemony despite being a shitty yonkoma series, as it ruined their plans for becoming that season's bestseller and if they had their way Pop Team Epic would have been a mundane slice of life anime with normally proportioned moe girls and enough Les Yay to rival that of Manga Time Kirara instead of cat-faced, copy-pasted gremlins overly reliant on pop culture references.

  • No-Dialogue Episode: Common (this is only one example).
  • No Fourth Wall: The average reader can glean this from the strips: the girls love each other, hate their publisher, hate you (unless you read the manga), and regularly rattle off jokes about whether a given strip worked or not. Heck, an ice cream flavor made for a collaborative cafe is labeled as "the taste of your face hitting the floor when you heard Pop Team Epic is getting their premiere delayed".
    • Popuko wants long legs in one strip, so Pipimi uses Clip Studio Paint to stretch her out.
    • Popuko and Pipimi are transported to a fantasy-adventure anime in the second episode. An unfinished fantasy-adventure anime, complete with timecode, which they even point out. After the two make the other characters do impressions, we then cut to the live-action voice actors complaining about the amount of ad-libbing they have to do.
      Pipimi: Shut up, bit part actor. Your face isn't even drawn in.
      Catordog: I agree you suck, meow-bark!
    • Also from episode 2:
      Popuko: "Let's go to the beach!"
      Pipimi: "Yay!"
      Popuko: "Let's go to Japan's Machu Picchu!"
      Pipimi: "We can't. The background isn't done for that, so we can't."note 
    • Popuko wakes up, with "Peer Gynt 'Morning Mood'" appearing as a subtitle on the screen denoting the music playing, only for her to discover she woke up in the middle of the night. She then grabs the subtitle and begins to beat the shit out of it. This is made even funnier when the same scene is voiced by Baikinman/Frieza.
    • During the "I grow when given attention" sketch, Tomokazu Sugita and Yuichi Nakamura break character and talk about how the animators have been really stretching the joke out, before realizing it reminds them of the opening credits of a television drama from the 90s, and how the animators could place the producer's name on screen in the style of the other show's opening sequence. Guess what the animators did for the final cut?
    • When THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls stars Hiromi Igarashi and Rei Matsuzaki start performing the ending theme song, both of them complain about it before the lyrics kick in. Their complaints mostly hinge upon the fact that they aren't even the main voice actors for the episode, and just sing the ending theme for no reason other than the fact that they know Bkub is a fan of their characters in Cinderella Girls. They also end the song by both remarking "That was short!". Episode 11 has them begging Bkub to let them appear in the finale as the main cast.
    • The reason for the arc-long Bishounen Art Shift in Season 3 is because interest was dwindling after the anime ended. Takeshobo decided to combat this by outsourcing the strip to their BL department.
  • Not Me This Time: Takeshobo is always on the girls' tails, and both parties are openly antagonistic towards each other. However, when the girls are ambushed in "THE AGE OF POP TEAM EPIC", Takeshobo had nothing to do with it. King was responsible for the attack, which they learn after destroying Takeshobo's building and killing all the employees.
  • Obligatory Swearing: The series uses this resource frequently, most in the original 4koma than in the anime adaptation, but isn't safe of this, mostly seen in Popuko's Mickey Mouse imitation where the half of the imitation makes bleep. Taken Up to Eleven with the Chilean Abridged Series Pop Team Epic en Chileno, where the swears in Chilean Spanish are very common in this Gag Dub.
  • On the Next: The anime has next-episode previews... for Hoshiiro Girldrop.
  • Off-Model: The anime's Bob Epic Team skits do this deliberately; the characters are always crudely drawn, and they never look quite the same in any given shot.
  • Origin Story:
    • Emotional Documentary: Hellshake Yano shows the story of how the "Hellshake" part was added to his name.
    • Episode 9's segment, "Dancing with a Miracle", telling the story of a boy who ran away from home to New York City and crossed paths with Popuko and Pipimi, is very heavily implied to be the origin story of (at the very least an expy of) Mayor Mike Haggar.
  • The Other Darrin: invoked Made a regular gag in the anime. By the series' end, Popuko and Pipimi may just be tied with Asagi Asagiri for most consecutive recastings of a single character.
  • The Other Marty: Invoked in the strips leading up to the anime's premiere. A "second generation" Pipimi and Popuko were scouted out by Takeshobo to reshoot the strips using more attractive characters, but the original pair weren't having any of it.
  • Overly Long Gag: Implied when Popuko makes a video review of potato chips that goes on for nearly two hours.
    • The anime sometimes goes down this route, such as the adaptation "I grow when given attention" strip. In one version, Tomoko Kaneda moans and keeps repeating "Marilyn Monroe" while Yuu Kobayashi makes nonsense noises. In the other, there's complete silence while Yuuichi Nakamura and Tomokazu Sugita broke character and talk about how long the rough animation is stretching out this joke; and remarked on how it reminds them of the opening sequence of another television show, prompting the animators to add production credits over that scene in order to reference that other show.
  • Packaged as Other Medium: The Blu-ray release by FUN Imation features the second disc designed to resemble a homemade BD-R copy, complete with faux-Sharpie writing on the label. The first disc, meanwhile, looks like a perfectly professional disc.
  • Plant Person: The yakuza gang that Popu and Pipi join in episode 8's long segment are all anthropomorphized pieces of bamboo. (See Anthropomorphic Personification above for explanations)
  • Please Subscribe to Our Channel: Parodied here, where Popuko goes so far as to "visit" people's houses to force them to subscribe.
  • Poe's Law: Manages to subject itself to it during the Niconico premiere of the anime's first episode. In a move that may have been influenced by the source material and advertisements calling itself shit, the after-episode poll on the site showed that very high amounts of people chose the "kuso" option. Knowing how popular the series is in Japan, and especially after the first episode's premiere, it's unclear how many of the votes were ironic.
  • Portmanteau Series Nickname: invoked Parodied in the episode 5 Pop Team Story romcom spoof "IMO☆YOBA" (Imouto Nante Yobanai de!), translated by Funimation as "Donca * Sis" ("Don't Call Me Little Sister").
  • Previously On…: Parodied. The first strip of chapter 35 is the exact same as the last strip of chapter 34, only with a "Previously On" label sticked on.
  • Production Throwback: The initial poster announcing Pop Team Epic's anime was a reference to Cocolors, an animated movie Kamikaze Douga worked on. Episode 12 basically provides the Origin Story of why they posed like they did in the poster.
  • Product Placement: Episode 11 clearly shows the labels of Bud Light, Pringles, Heineken, and Strong Zero among the snacks on the table in the horror skit.
  • The Real Spoofbusters: Episode 9 features a brief scene of Pipimi and Popuko wearing familiar suits and backpacks to suck away a gang of rowdy teens.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Popuko and Pipimi, respectively. Best summarized here, where they notice someone staring at them:
    Pipimi: Whatchu looking at?
  • Reference Overdosed: While the main draw of the series is its weirdness, shout outs make up the other component of the series. It's so prevalent that some comics were devoted to the girls trying and failing to tell a joke without referencing something.
  • Relax-o-Vision: The anime's 5th episode opens up with live action footage of a boat and a note saying that the footage has been switched up due to some circumstances, with Steamboat Willie-esque music playing in the background, in a direct parody of the memetic "Nice Boat" incident. (Judging by the sounds being played during this segment, especially the waterfall noises at the end, it's heavily implied that what's being censored behind the footage is an adaptation of this comic, thus also possibly making this a Take That! of Disney's ultra-litigious nature).
    • It was later revealed that they had indeed animated that strip but it was Nice Boated right before broadcast.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Invoked with Pepayo, a girl who claims she debuted in the anime as a new friend for Pipimi and Popuko. When they reply that they had no idea who she was, she falls into an existential crisis.note 
  • Rewatch Bonus: Aside from playing the same episode twice per run (there are subversions though), there are also some easily missed details which will only be noticed by playing the episode again and, sometimes, by different methods. Take Episode 11 as example: Popuko and Pipimi during "Cursed Mansion" seemed to babbling nonsense, but once you play their conversation backwards...That of Part A actually added to the horror, while that of Part B are, well, talking about unrelated stuff.
  • Rimshot: Popuko mistimes one, with tragic results.
  • Robotic Reveal:
    • Episode 4's Pop Team Story "SWGP 2018" about a skeleton race reveals that Popuko had a robotic body, giving her an unfair advantage in the race. Considering the Wacky Racing nature of the sketch, this is probably the least ridiculous and surprising development of them all.
    • Episode 6's Pop Team Story "The 30th Cyber War" about a shogi tournament has Popuko competing with Keicho Okusenman (who is totally not Heihachi) but Popuko manages to defeat him and mostly destroy his interior mechanisms, revealing him for the true robot he is. This leads up to the final confrontation with the world's most skilled shogi player, Mother AI PP1000, who has been masquerading as Popuko's Heian period shogi master guardian spirit Pipimi the entire time.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The anime's final episode has Shouta Aoi making a guest appearance in live action, while everything else around him is animated. He makes a return in episode 14.
    • An animatronic Popuko doll parrots animated Popuko and later, Pipimi, in one of episode 14's segments.
  • Rule of Three: "Eisai Haramasukoi" was adapted three times in the anime.
  • Rules of the Road: The Mega Man 8 spoof has Pipimi passing signs telling her to jump and slide, as per the norm, then passing a sign of Popuko before the real thing shows up on the side of the road.
  • Running Gag:
    • Popuko having (or causing) trouble in restaurants.
    • Popuko's hatred for "subculture" and its "bitches", often extending into Disproportionate Retribution (even The Merch gets in on it). English translations in the anime substitute "subculture bitches" with "hipster girls".
    • After the Season 2 opener for the manga, anything related to Hoshiiro Girldrop actually turning out to be an announcement for something about Pop Team Epic. (Except for the Hoshiiro Girldrop anthology, which shocked fans by actually being real.)
    • Earlier strips involved Odd Job Gods somehow getting into contact with Popuko.
  • Sailor Fuku: Popuko and Pipimi both wear one as their usual outfits, though they aren't often seen actually going to school.
  • Saying Sound Effects Outloud: In episode 7, the two guys of AC-bu, who normally animate and voice the Bobnemimimmi segments, "animate" an entire scene with flipbooks while doing the voices, crowds, "music" and sound effects themselves. They appear on screen the whole time.
  • Serious Business: The anime's shogi sketch in episode 6 treats a shogi tournament this way, parodying similar tabletop board game tournament-themed manga such as Hikaru no Go (complete with Pipimi dressed as Sai), all culminating in a battle with a robotic version of Pipimi, PP1000, that ends in a huge explosion.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: It's never outright stated whether or not Popuko and Pipimi are this, but they undeniably have a very close bond (to the point where Popuko outright tells Pipimi she's smitten with her, albeit as part of a gag), and at one point Pipimi tells Popuko she loves her. And taking into account Popuko owns pinup posters of sexy girls...
    • Had everything gone King's way, their relationship would have resembled a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship instead, as we learn in "THE AGE OF POP TEAM EPIC".
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Also extremely common - Bkub has been known to outright call the comic shit. His self-proclaimed title is even "Kuso Manga Boy".
      • Episode 3 of the anime shows he's gotten a promotion to "Executive Kuso Manga Advisor".
    • A sad platypus is given a copy of the manga as some "Poptepi-therapy" to help him cheer up. He found it boring, prompting Popuko to snatch the book out of his hands.
    Popuko: "So you're a hater, are ya?!"
    • Episode 2:
      • The entire project of Vanver -A Game in Another Dimension- counts as a mass Creator Career Self-Deprecation; both in and out of the wall.note 
        Nobuyuki Hiyama: "The entire industry's been really shoddy nowadays!"
      • One skit has a fortune labelled "Extreme bad luck" that reads: "You get to work on an incredibly cute idol anime but it ends up as the opening act to a shitty anime".
    • Episode 3:
    • Episode 4:
      • In the Pop Team Dance segment "Let's Pop Together", which parodies music videos featured on Nico Nico Douga, the comments that scroll across the screen include "This sucks," "What are they even parodying?" and "Mods aren't doing their job".
    • The third manga season outright ends with Takeshobo kicking the series to the BL division as a popularity stunt, because even they acknowledged that PTE lost steam after the anime.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: A downplayed sense: after Popuko and Pipimi Fusion Dance to destroy Akashic Records in Episode 12, they unfuse... and Pipimi is turned to stone. Then Shouta Aoi shows up and time travels them back to the start of the episode. Events proceed like they did in the first half, except when Popuko and Pipimi unfuse, Pipimi doesn't turn to stone.
  • Shallow Parody: In-Universe. Popuko's "Mi**ey" impression is basically her doing something vaguely resembling "Mi**ey"'s voice (while constantly shouting vulgar things) while in shadow. (The original manga strip has her constantly spouting "wwwwww" (the Japanese equivalent of "lololololol"), which is pretty much unconveyable in a voice-acted anime adaptation)
  • Shout-Out: Every pair of voice actors has been cast together as a memorable pair in some other anime, and occasionally other roles they have performed get referenced for the sake of a joke, if not due to intentional ad libbing by the actors themselves.
  • Sketch Comedy: The format the anime is based around.
  • Something Completely Different: Episode 11. The OP is replaced with a techno dance remix of "Eisai Haramuskoi", and the On the Next bit reveals that Hoshiiro Girldrop has a twist at the level of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
  • Special Guest: Shouta Aoi makes brief appearances as himself (in live action, no less) at the end of both halves of Episode 12. In the first half, he shows up after Popuko and Pipimi's battle with King Records and travels back in time with them while the credits roll; in the second half, he performs the ending theme himself while dancing.
  • Spice Up the Subtitles:
  • Standard Snippet: Parodied in one skit on the anime. Popuko wakes up while "Morning Mood" from Peer Gynt plays, as indicated by a subtitle. When she opens the window she sees it's actually late at night, and she proceeds to get mad and beat up the subtitle for lying to her.
  • Stealth Pun: In the Bob Epic Team version of Alice in Wonderland skit, the tea party doesn't have Mad Hatter, but it has the angry old guy who picked a fight with Popuko and Pipimi in Episode 4. In other words, a mad hater.
  • Stop Motion:
    • The "POP TEAM MUSIC" shorts/songs are made in this technique with felted dolls of Popuko and Pipimi.
    • Episode 13 gives us "POP CLAY EPIC", this time with the girls made in Claymation.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: The usual setup for a sketch, with Pipimi acting as the straight man and Popuko as the wise guy.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: In the end of the "IMO☆YOBA" segment of the anime's 5th episode, Iyo and Hojo get married and have two children. Children who look exactly like Iyo and Hojo's parents Popuko and Pipimi.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • The anime's "Bob Epic Team" shorts done by AC-bu are drawn and animated in a deliberately crude and inconsistent manner.
      • Episode 7 brings us a live-action "Bob Epic Team" of the two AC-bu animators flipping pages of sketch books in which they made of a "Hellshake Yano" skit, including having Hellshake Yano slap his manager and dropping the sketch book, and several pages cut up to layer on the other page. For the second play of the episode, the two animators badly dub over each other's lines.
      • Episode 11 has a "viewer complaint letter" that the "Bob Epic Team" segments have limited animation, all while focusing on a single static image of an Off-Model Popuko and Pipimi. The complaint prompts Pipimi to take the complaint to heart...and Eisai Haramasukoi dance with far more frames than even the segments by other animation houses on the show.
    • The first episode is also full of visual glitches that suggest that the digital signal is poor, switching between apparent other channels.
    • After the initial gag, Hoshiiro Girldrop's On the Next previews stop having decent animation and make the characters move like paper cutouts.
  • Subverted Kids Show:
    • A Deleted Scene from the anime has puppets of Popuko and Pipimi sing a cute song about a fox which is meant to encourage kids to go to sleep. Then the sky darkens, heavy metal music starts playing, and then Popuko screams that "They're gonna be sleeping for good!" and trashes the set.
    • A segment using the same puppets that appeared on the actual show, "The Heart Tree", starts off as a cute song about how you can't give up on your life as soon as you grow up. As soon as the melody becomes upbeat and Pipimi starts to clap her hands, Popuko sings "!" and the song turns into one glamorizing destruction rather than the motivational song it was meant to be.
  • Surreal Humor: The bread and butter of this series. Just one example.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: Parodied here, where Popuko encounters a save point and peeks around a corner to see if the boss is nearby. (It is.)
  • Take That!:
    • Justin Bieber's arrival here leads to a spoof version of Pikotaro sending him away almost immediately.
    • To Takeshobo, repeatedly, after Pop Team Epic got cancelled and ended its original run. Popuko swears revenge on the company in the last comic, and afterwards it's usually referred to negatively and sometimes used as a Sitcom Arch-Nemesis of sorts. Even one of the anime's promotional posters plays this up.
    • In a Season 3 comic, Pipimi and Popuko aim to destroy the Takeshobo building (as per the Running Gag), but accidentally destroy the Kadokawa building instead - alluding to the uproar following Kemono Friends director Tasuki's firing from the company.
  • Take That, Critics!:
    • Popuko is less than kind to critics of the comic. (The side note indicates that it's not serious, though.)
    • The lyrics of "Let's Pop Together" in episode 4 is basically a big "screw you" to haters. Some translated lines from the song:
      "You haters will become fans anyway."
      "We don't care about haters. They're ridiculous, pathetic, and not worth it at all."
      "How you long are you going to fight this hater battle?"
    • The ending of episode 8's main segment, "The Dragon Of Iidabashi: Pipi's Revenge," has Popu shot dead by her former gang the Bamboozle Gang. At her funeral, what makes her come Back from the Dead and get revenge is a guy Pipi picked up flipping through a copy of the manga (albeit covered in pixels to obscure the finger) and griping about her hypocrisy:
      Guy: She said she hated subculture girls, but she sure sucked up to them.
  • Taking You with Me: When Popuko has the hiccups.
    Pipimi: I hear if you hiccup 100 times in a row, you'll die.
    Popuko: That was 99.
    Pipimi: Oh, it stopped.
    Popuko: I'll self destruct just to be safe! (blows up a quarter of the planet.)
  • Techno Babble: The ominous King Records council discusses Poison Mortel, Nihility Face (or Farce), Mythologia, Macbeth's Miniature Garden, Apeiron Spao (or Spawn), Surhomme, Arche, Shrinker Sedation (or Serration), Lear King, Macbeth Records, Decoherence Xanadu, and Theatre/Hamlet's Death Gods. Some of these seem to be actual words in French or Greek, while all of it is blatantly nonsense.
  • Time Travel: Shouta Aoi apparently has the ability to travel through time, and at the end of the first half of Episode 12 he travels back in time with Popuko in order to save Pipimi (who's been turned to stone as a result of a Fusion Dance). It seems to have worked, judging from how the second half of Episode 12 ends.
  • Toast of Tardiness: Popuko sports one in the first segment of episode 1.
  • Toothy Bird: The owl that shows up during the Bob Epic Team skit in episode 5 has visible teeth and gums.
  • Tournament Arc: Episode 6 has a whole sketch that parodies tabletop game tournament arcs, with Popuko and Pipimi (the latter whom is represented as a spirit dressed like Sai) playing Shōgi against other players and playing up the Serious Business factors typical with such arcs.
  • Tranquil Fury: Implied with the "Mi**ey" skit: Pipimi tells Popuko that she's asking for Death for doing the impression period, and then critiques it by saying that "Mi**ey doesn't even laugh like that".
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Drink, smoke, curse like sailors, they do all that while being 14.
  • Unreliable Expositor: The narrator of "Dancing with a Miracle" is telling his life story about his friendship with Popuko and Pipimi and how their strong bond inspired him to be the muscular New York major he is today, but what we're actually shown teaches us that he was a fanboying stalker to Popuko and Pipimi, who barely even acknowledged his existence outside of their one rescue.
  • Vehicular Kidnapping: Played for Laughs in this live-action trailer, in which a foreign guy is interviewed about anime and his tastes on it, with giant corporeals of Popuko and Pipimi watches him inside a white van behind him, and later outside the van and behind him. In the end, when he's asked for the anime of the season he would like to watch, the guy answers "Basilisk". After that, both Popuko and Pipimi kidnap the guy (while he asks for help) and put him into the van.
  • Visual Pun: One that only works in Japanese; a horde of Americans charge towards Popuko and Pipimi and put rabbit ears on their heads. The Japanese word for "rabbit" is "usagi".
  • Wacky Racing: Episode 4 of the anime has a sketch that is a take on this trope with the skeleton racing sport. Miscolored and pixel-blurred versions of Dick Dastardly and Muttley even take part in the race.
  • Wall Pin of Love: Spoofed here, where it breaks the wall and sends them rolling along a track. The anime takes this one step further by transforming it into a Tokimeki Memorial style cutscene before shifting into a spoof of the Donkey Kong Country mine cart levels before finally crashing into and destroying the Takeshobo building.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Justin Bieber is sent "to the left".
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Despite being voiced by fluent English speaker Ayumu Murase, the younger Joseph in the first version of "Dancing With a Miracle" in Episode 9 has an accent that is incredibly jarring in the context of 1980s New York City, with his tendency toward AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle making his speech sound vaguely synthetic. The older Joseph is only better in that the Japanese-Australian "Joey" Ikuru Kamijou can do an American accent, but it doesn't sound a lot like a New York accent.
    The Anime Man: Basically, this is the first time I've ever voice acted in an anime, and I had to voice act an American, from New York, who is buff as hell, and he's the mayor of New York. Four things which I am not.
    • This is (kinda?) fixed in Funimation's English dub, where Joseph's lines were retranslated from Japanese scripts, and re-recorded with American voice actors.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Episode 2 of the anime has a real-life cut to the voice actors complaining that most of the script is just "ad-lib" after the "sketchy anime" sequence.
  • Widget Series: Consistency is often sacrificed for the sake of a joke, not to mention how several jokes are either obscure cultural references or just outright incomprehensible. Taken particularly Up to Eleven in the anime; just when you think the surreal humor can't top itself, it does.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: In the 6th episode's shogi skit, Popuko makes a competing shogi player break down under pressure before either one of them could make a move.
  • Word Purée Title: The surreal skits in the anime version done by AC-bu, which get their name from a gibberish rearrangement of the Japanese title: Bobunemimimmi (translated in by Funimation as the slightly more coherent "Bob Epic Team").
  • Word Salad Title:
    • The name of the manga itself.note 
    • Pipimi's musical number, "Goddamn Bitch in Cat Tights".

Popuko: So I instead said I wanted to be a Troper. Hey! Are you listening?!
Pipimi: Sorry, I was thinking about Hellshake Yano.

Video Example(s):


Pop Team Epic

Welcome to the Pop Team Epic Ridiculous Fortunes! Please screenshot this video or pause it to get your fortune. Translations are in the link below:

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / FreezeFrameBonus

Media sources:

Main / FreezeFrameBonus