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Series / Inai Inai Baa!

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The current cast of the show. From left to right: Wan Wan, Poupo and Ou-chan.

Inai Inai Baa! is a Japanese children's show. It premiered on the NHK on April 1, 1996, and has been running since. In North America, the show airs on NHK's international feed, TV Japan. VTV7 in Vietnam airs a Foreign Remake, Ú Òa, while Canal 22 in Mexico airs a dubbed version called ¿Dónde estoy? ¡Aquí!. It's also available on Netflix.

Inai Inai Baa! is an educational series starring Wanwan the anthropomorphic dog and a female child host known as Onee-san, or "big sister". They are joined by a changing puppet character, currently an alien-esque critter named Poupo. The show is a children's sing-along show in the same vein as Barney & Friends.

The show's title basically means "peek-a-boo" in Japanese. The aforementioned Netflix release, as well as the TV Japan website and the official English dub, both rename the show Peek-a-Boo.

Inai Inai Baa! provides examples of:

  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The otherwise white-furred Wanwan has green fur on his ears, arms, feet, and tail. Not really that common of a color scheme for dogs.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Some of U-tan's friends are a toy box, a superhero toothbrush, a pink blanket, a blue pair of shoes, a tissue box girl, a potty seat and a toilet king.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The official 20th anniversary DVD seems to do this to the 1996-97 era of the program, as all of the clips of Kana-chan shown are from 1997 and later. In addition, the puppet character Penta is not mentioned on the disc unlike Kuu and Dada.
  • Clip Show:
    • The "Memories" feature of the final DVD releases for the Yuuna-chan and Yuki-chan eras are comprised of clips of their stint on the show set to whatever the theme song of that DVD is.
    • The last episode featuring Haru-chan and U-Tan ended with a montage set to "Matane".
  • Commercial Pop-Up: On Clic Clac's airings of the Spanish dub ("¿Dónde estoy? ¡Aquí!"), the channel logo is placed in a spot that slightly obscures the song titles.
  • "Double, Double" Title: The songs "Penguin Penguin" and "Hajimete Hajimete" have this.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • U-tan wasn't in the show prior to 2003. Instead, there was a mascot called Kuu that served a similar purpose to her.
    • Kana originally dressed in a poodle outfit for the first year of the program before changing to her rainbow alien-esque costume. Also, there was a yellow star puppet named Penta who would be replaced by Kuu around the same time Kana's costume changed.
    • The segments that taught kids an educational aspect like toilet-training or teethbrushing used to be done in anime style rather than live action.
    • When Yuki first appeared, she wore a blue version of Yuuna's outfit.
    • In the Vietamese version, Nana was a person dressed in a cat outfit before she became a full-bodied costume character like Wanwan.
  • Edutainment Show: This show teaches young children about various early childhood concepts, from toilet-training to toothbrushing to colors.
  • Every Episode Ending: At the end of each episode, the characters will say goodbye to the viewer by playing peek-a-boo and yelling "Inai inai bye bye!".
  • Fake Interactivity:
    • One of the recurring segments on the show featured an animated caterpillar named Mushimushi-kun who often "interacted" with the children watching. For example, in one segment, he offered the viewers a drink by holding his opened can of juice up to the screen for them to drink out of, and in another segment he played catch with the viewers using a balloon.
    • In the first episode of the eighth generation of the show, there is a scene where Poupo asks for the viewer's name, followed by a brief pause and him acting as if you responded correctly.
    • In a segment on the "Tomodachi Hahaha" VHS, after Kuu can't guess what animal Wan Wan drew, Wan Wan shows the viewers the drawing (of a hippo) and asks them what animal it is, followed by a brief pause. However, Wan Wan does not talk after this, with the tape cutting to the next segment.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: In the Vietnamese version, Wanwan the male dog is accompanied by a female cat named Nana.
  • Funny Animal: Wanwan is an anthropomorphic dog.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: This is the reason for the onee-san on this show changing every four years, and the song used for the exercise changing every eight years.
  • Friendship Song: "Tomodachi Hahaha", a song by Kuu, is about how to treat friends properly.
  • Gratuitous English: In one Yuuna-chan episode, she shows off a newspaper that reads "Why U.S. abortion numbers are down".
  • Long Runner: It premiered in 1996 and is still going.
  • Once an Episode: In every episode, babies will come out to do whatever exercise is the current one with the oneesan and Wanwan.
  • One, Two, Three, Four, Go!:
    • The song "Asobou! Asobou!" has Rina sing the line "One, two, three, four, go-go!".
    • The song "Kanpa~i!" contains a line that goes "One, two, Wanwan!" before the second chorus. "Wan" is also the Japanese pronnounciation of "one".
  • One-Steve Limit: Inverted. In one 1999 episode, there was a ball Kuu met named Pakupaku-san. This later became the name of a character played by Wan Wan's hands.
  • Potty Emergency:
    • The Kuu segment "Gattan Omaru No Densha" begins with Kuu panicking because he's having one of these.
    • In the home video release "Super Wan No Uta", Wan Wan has one of these, but keeps bumping into babies. This leads into the song "Toire ni ittoire".
    • The live show Wan Wan Matsuri: Party Hen has Wan Wan see a sign that says "Toilet Time", which reminds him of how much he needs to pee. He leaves the stage as a snippet of "Toire de su~" plays before shortly coming back.
  • Pokémon Speak: The short-lived puppet character Daa-Daa spoke like this, occasionally making other sounds as well.
  • Polar Penguins: The song "Penguin Penguin" always takes place in a wintery setting when it's performed on the show. The cast usually don winter outfits while singing it.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: "Inai inai baa!" is the Japanese phrase used in what is known to the English-speaking world as "Peek-a-boo". But since this show premiered, it's impossible for some people in Japan to hear the phrase and not think of this show. It doesn't help that the characters sometimes yell "Baa!" to introduce themselves, and that every episode ends with the characters playing peek-a-boo to say goodbye to the viewer.
  • Quarter Hour Short: With the exception of episodes broadcast from 1997 to 1999 which were 10 minutes and the Wan Wan Wonderland specials being 30 minutes long, the show has always run for 15 minutes.
  • Rewritten Pop Version: Two songs from the Yuki-chan era (2014-2019) were given J-Pop covers, with Yuzu covering "Kanpai!" and GReeeeN covering "Popopopopose", the latter of which became more popular than the original song and inspired a dance challenge on YouTube.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • U-tan is a cute little humanoid... something with a big head, big eyes, and little rattles on her head.
    • Before U-tan, there was Kuu, a cute, pink cloud monster with green hair.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Following the "Dekirukana?" segments in the Rina-chan era, there would be a live-action segment showing a kid doing an activity inspired by the song that just played, with an animated Kuu talking to them.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: An interesting case of this trope happens with this show. Rather than having the actual celebrities appear on the show, they will write songs for this show:
    • Yuzu wrote the songs "Kanpa~i!" (which they also performed a cover of) and "Yurayura".
    • GReeeeN wrote four songs for the show, "Popopopose" (which they also covered), "Banbanzai!", "Dakarando" and "Tetotetotetotetote".
    • Pikotaro wrote "Pyon Pyon Animal Party".
    • A more traditional example of this trope occurs in the WanWan The World special. Fuku Suzuki, who made his acting debut on Inai Inai Baa! in 2006, is the host of the special.
  • Shave And A Haircut: In one Haru-chan era segment where she guesses what instrument Wan-Wan is playing, he plays this tune on one of the instruments.
  • Shifted to CGI: The segments with Mushimushi-kun the caterpillar used to be animated with 2D animation, but shifted to CGI in 2016.
  • Softer and Slower Cover: This happened to "Genki Genki!" beginning with the Yuki-chan era. Originally a fast-paced song, the newer version is much slower.
  • Three-Month-Old Newborn: According to a fanbook for the show, U-Tan is a one-year-old, but knows how to say many different words, often talks in full sentences, and knows different skills that real-life babies that age wouldn't know how to do, such as putting on clothes, brushing her teeth, using the toilet and cleaning up a room. In addition, her favorite food is norimaki, but doctors recommend that children under 5 years of age should not eat sushi.
  • Title, Please!: Like most NHK shows, the episodes of this show aren't given names. On their website, they're named after the day of the week they air on. Only the specials of the show are given titles.
  • Toilet Training Plot: The show has four songs about this, which are sung by U-Tan and her toilet and potty seat friends Benki and Omarun:
    • The first, "Toire ni Ittoire", was used in the Fuuka-chan era and was about how refreshing it is to poop in the toilet.
    • The second, "Toire de su~", is about peeing in the toilet. It began being used in the Koto-chan era and was the longest-running of these songs, lasting into the Haru-chan era.
    • The third, "Soreyuke unchichi!", was about pooping, and was only used in the Koto-chan era.
    • The fourth is "Toire yoitoko yottoire", involves Benki and Omarun singing about the job they have, with U-Tan coming in soon afterward to use the bathroom. It only appeared during the Yuuna-chan and Yuki-chan eras.
    • Before U-Tan came around, the puppet character Kuu also had two animated segments about potty training: "Gattan Omaru no Densha", where Kuu imagines a potty as a train, and "Chii Shichao", a song about peeing.
  • To the Tune of...: "Pyon Pyon Animal Party" is set to the tune of Hungarian Dance #5 by Johannes Brahms.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Wan Wan likes natto, and U-Tan likes norimaki and tea.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Wanwan’s voice. You’d think he’d have a low, gruff voice that’s fit for a dog his size, or a childlike voice that’s in line with the show's demographic. Instead, he sounds a lot like Suneo...