Mappy: [sighs] Yeah... I mean, yeah, but... aren't we all disgraced cops in one way or another?
Sky Kid: ...No.
Mappy: Well, agree to disagree.
Mappy was a 2013 animated web series launched as part of Bandai Namco Entertainment's ShiftyLook project. Originally announced as Mappy: The Beat and based on the arcade game of the same name, it was written by Scott Kurtz and Kris Straub—the same team behind Blamimation—and animated by Alex and Lindsay Small-Butera.
Three decades after a particularly heinous art theft by Goro and the Meowkies in The '80s, which led the police-mouse Mappy to disgracefully retire from the Micro Police, Mappy decides to pursue a new job as a security guard at the Nyamco office building. As he discovers, Nyamco is actually a front for Goro, who has become a "respectable businessman" following the Meowkies' string of successful thefts. Goro explains that he's concocting a new evil scheme, and wants to hire Mappy specifically to figure it out (because, he quietly reveals, he misses him). Mappy begrudgingly takes the job and, along with his coworkers Dig Dug and Sky Kid, works to reveal the corporate conspiracy behind the Nyamco building.
For the most part, the Mappy web series is an irreverent Work Com where each episode features the antics of various other Namco guest stars, to whom Mappy acts as the Straight Man. Simultaneously, a Myth Arc builds up to the reveal the true nature of Goro's plan, culminating in a four-part finale, "Merry Heistmas". It's been favorably compared to Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, just with Namco characters instead of Hanna-Barbera ones.
The series ran for 13 episodes on ShiftyLook's YouTube channel from July 2013 to January 2014, with the site's March 2014 closure preventing any chance of a follow-up. Following the site and its YouTube channel being taken down, the series is officially no longer accessible. However, a fan mirror of the series can be found on the channel "ShiftyLook Forever". The series' iteration of Mappy, voiced by Kurtz, also made a brief cameo appearance in the Bravoman web animation.
The ShiftyLook web series has examples of:
- The '80s: The first episode features a flashback to the '80s, back when Mappy was still a member of the Micro Police. Most of it involves making deliberately shoehorned references to popular media of that era: "the new Candid Camera (not The '60s one)", an extended conversation about Magnum, P.I., "a New Coke raid at the Haircut 100 concert uptown", and Perfect Strangers. Goro pulls out a final reference to taunt Mappy: "Where's the Beef?"
- Adaptational Jerkass:
- Though jerkass may be stretching it a bit, some characters have a few more rougher edges in this series, such as the Prince or even Mappy himself at times.
- Richard Miller and Keith Martin are the most blatant, taking turns mocking Mappy for his short stature (though technically they're not much taller in comparison...).
- Indy Borgnine in Episode 8 has shades of this, being a bit too confident in his work and flaunting his permits at Dig Dug, in comparison to his home game where he's said to be rather virtuous. This comes back to bite him in the ass at the end of the episode.
- Adaptational Personality Change:
- Tarosuke is typically depicted as a Dirty Kid (both within his own game and in other Namco-created games). In the web series, he's a Creepy Child who freaks out everyone around him, including ghosts.
- Valkyrie is an Occidental Otaku Genki Girl in her own comic — which was already an adaptational personality change, since she's depicted as a straight Lady of War in her own games. Here, she's a court judge who is gravelly-voiced and surprisingly serious-minded.
- Animal Jingoism: Goro the cat likes to toy around with Mappy the mouse and annoy him, while Mappy hates Goro.
- Animated Outtakes: A brief one occurs in Episode 12, where Mappy's voice actor cannot keep a straight face as he tries to say "Diglas D. Douglas". The takes were subsequently animated and left in.
- Back for the Finale: Every character previously seen shows up to testify at Goro's trial.
- The Bad Guy Wins: The finale ends with Mappy and Dig Dug getting thrown into jail along with Goro, who is pleased that he caused Mappy's downfall.
- Blatant Lies: Used frequently and hilariously.Goro: I was just... nervously rubbing my chin whiskers! I always do that when I'm innocent!
- Boss's Unfavorite Employee: Goro treats his other workers with respect. This treatment doesn't extend to Mappy.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Albatross mentions corporate espionage among his "assistant work".Albatross: Taking notes, filling out calendars, getting coffee, stealing corporate documents, booking travel—
Mappy: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Go back. What was that one you just said?
Albatross: Filling out calendars?
Mappy: No, after tha— after that.
Albatross: Uh, booking travel.
Mappy: Before— before booking travel, after filling out calendars.
Albatross: (Beat) Oh, haha! Getting coffee.
- Breathless Non Sequitur: A major part of the series' humor, with Goro being the primary example out of all the characters. Basically every line out of his mouth is a run-on sentence.Goro: Is it just me, or is everyone getting real fat? You guys are really chubbing up, and I don't like it. I have my own body issues and I'm projecting them onto you and there's nothing you can do about it, mhahahaha!
- The Cameo: Various Namco characters guest star in various episodes.
- Episode 2: Several characters from Muscle March appear as personal trainers.
- Episode 3: Goro employs Albatross from Rolling Thunder to out the corporate spy.
- Episode 4: "The guy from Splatterhouse" has a history of double parking behind Goro's parking space, and Wonder Momo is a pop star.
- Episode 5: The Prince of All Cosmos is Nyamco's janitor.
- Episode 6: Goro claims he can't trust Mappy after an important safe is stolen, so he gets Richard Miller and Keith Martin to investigate.
- Episode 7: Ninjas from Ninja Assault scour Nyamco for a sacred weapon.
- Episode 8: Indy Borgnine from The Tower of Babel (though judging from his dialogue, it may be his son, but his claim of starting his work in 1986, the original release date of the game, lends evidence to the former) is hired to find and excavate a lost artifact.
- Episode 9: Demons from Shadowland infest the Nyamco Offices (due to the curse of the Ninja Assault clan in episode 7), and protagonist Tarosuke is summoned to get rid of them.
- Episode 10 and 11: Bravoman shows up to arrest Mappy and Dig Dug, thinking they're the ones who pulled off the big art heist instead of Goro. He has a different voice from his own web series, which is lampshaded.
- Episode 12: Valkyrie is the judge presiding over Goro's trial. Her voice is surprisingly gravelly, and instead of being a Genki Girl like in her comic on ShiftyLook, she is surprisingly serious. The Meowkies from Mappy make an appearance as well.
- Call-Back: During the trial, after Albatross testifies, Goro brings back the "Albatross? ...No." reaction.
- Captain Ersatz: Indy Borgnine from The Tower of Babel is depicted as an Indiana Jones knockoff, complete with the voice actor doing a bad Harrison Ford impersonation.
- Catapult Nightmare: The 11th episode begins with Mappy awakening from a nightmare of Goro about to eat him.
- Christmas Episode: Merry Heistmas, the 4-part finale, is one.
- Closet Geek: Goro is a huge fan of Wonder Momo and even cosplays as her during her live concerts. When Mappy and Dig Dug find out, he says he'll overlook them ditching work if they don't tell anyone about it.
- Conspicuously Light Patch: Conversed in Episode 10, when Mappy and Dig Dug look for the place where Goro's drill dug.Dig Dug: The specs said the drill had to exactly replace the ground above it so you couldn't tell that it tunneled anywhere. But we couldn't get it perfect. There's always a seam where the floor looks a little different.
Mappy: Hmm... Just like in animations when the simply drawn foreground doesn't quite match the painted background— [spots it] Oh my God! There! Look!
- Couch Gag: There's a small message (usually coming from Goro) at the beginning of each episode, during the Establishing Shot of the Nyamco offices.
- Creator Cameo: The Nyamco office is based on Bandai Namco's former headquarters in Shinagawa, Tokyo, which had a distinctive "M"-shaped design. The cartoon version is nearly identical, just with a different logo and added "cat ears".
- Crossover: In addition the cameos listed above, Dig Dug's Taizo Hori and Sky Kid's Blue Max (here referred to as simply as "Dig Dug" and "Sky Kid") are part of the show's main cast.
- Crossover Finale: Bravoman and Valkyrie appear in the 4-part finale, as well as all the other characters encountered in various episodes.
- Curse Cut Short:
- Used in Episode 11, when Mappy and company catch Goro standing around by the stolen artwork in his underwear.Goro: Oh! Shiiiiiiiii—
- Also with the Prince in Episode 13.Prince: Hoo boy! That's Dad. Ooh, he's gonna be pissed when he finds out I lost my job. Merry Christmas, you son of a— [Gets lifted up into the Royal Rainbow]
- Used in Episode 11, when Mappy and company catch Goro standing around by the stolen artwork in his underwear.
- Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: When trying to figure out a Katamari, Mappy and Dig Dug realize that it only works when being sung to. Mappy initially tries the theme songs for his own game and Pac-Man before eventually getting it to start with "Katamari on the Rocks".
- The Ditz: You could say Sky Kid's head is up in the clouds.
- Dissimile: When Dig Dug is describing the files on his stolen laptop, he describes them as "stuff I wouldn't know from a hole in the ground... which is to say, I know it very well".
- Dude, Not Funny!: When Dig Dug and Mappy find Dr. Borgnine impaled on spikes, still alive and in great pain, Dig Dug mocks him and jokes about just burying him only he's already buried. Mappy doesn't find any of it funny and shakes his head disapprovingly.
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending: The show ends with Mappy and Goro declaring each other enemies forever, and they both break out into laughter (with Mappy's laughter becoming slightly unhinged-sounding) as Dig Dug soundlessly and expressionlessly falls on the floor.
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: Katamari Damacy loves this trope so much, it apparently even applies to The Prince's vomit.
- Even the Subtitler Is Stumped:Top Hat: Ay ay ay! El es uh, muy... criminales importantes?
Subtitles: It is a very crimes important???
- Evil Laugh: Goro's Verbal Tic, appending evil laughter to the end of practically every other sentence. He lampshades it in episode 3.Goro: Get out there and find that spy before they steal the entire building out from under us! Ahahaha— I don't know why I laughed just then, I'm very upset!
- Eye-Obscuring Hat: Mappy's hat is tilted over his head in such a way that while one eye is visible, the other isn't.
- Falsely Reformed Villain: Goro claims to have retired from petty theft to become a respectable businessman, though it's obvious from his Evil Laugh and treatment of Mappy that he hasn't. When he's put on trial, nobody hesitates to call him guilty, not even Sky Kid.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: Goro replaces Mappy's gun with a party horn in Episode 7, saying he can't fire a gun in the workplace. This is subverted when Goro brings out an actual shotgun to deal with the ninja infestation.
- Fat Bastard: Goro. He even admits he's projecting his body image issues onto Mappy.
- Foe Romance Subtext: On multiple occasions with Goro, who tells Mappy he loves him as a part of a Freudian Slip and thinks they belong together. Seems to be mostly one-way.
- In Episode 1, Goro tells Mappy that he misses him, in a sincere, quiet tone.
- In Episode 7, there's this exchange...Mappy: Okay, Goro. Whatever you say.
Goro: That's right, Mappy. Whatever I say goes, because I'm the boss, now get back to work, I love you.
Mappy: ...Did you just say?—
- In the final episode, Goro outright tells Mappy that the two of them belong together. When Mappy replies they belong together as enemies, Goro's only response is "Details, details." In the end, Mappy (begrudgingly) wishes Goro a Happy Holidays and offers to be "Enemies Forever".
- Furry Reminder:
- Sky Kid is a bird, and eats worms. His desk "chair" is an egg inside of a nest. In Episode 11, he states he eats lice as a before-bedtime snack.
- In Episode 11, Mappy has a nightmare where Goro attempts to eat him.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Top Hat, not actually being Spanish, drops misplaced Spanish words all over his dialogue.
- Horrifying the Horror:
- The spirits admit that Tarosuke gives them the creeps.
- Conversely, Tarosuke (who at this point is floating in the air with creepy Prophet Eyes) is driven away by the sight of Sky Kid!Tarosuke: The true Dark One! AAAAH!
- Hypocritical Humor: Goro insinuates that Mappy is fat numerous times in Episode 2, when he's pretty hefty himself. Then again, Goro admits that he's projecting his body image issues onto Mappy to make him feel bad.
- Implausible Deniability: "Buff Bear" adamantly denies he stole "Top Hat's" protein powder...while he's eating it. He manages to pin it on Sky Kid.
- It Belongs in a Museum: Indy Borgnine describes the Buried Treasure beneath the Nyamco offices as such:Indy: It could be priceless, but it belongs in a moseum!
Mappy: You mean a museum?
Indy: Don't say that word! It's trademarked!
- Jerkass to One: Goro treats his other employees with a fair amount of respect, but he never passes up an opportunity to mock Mappy whenever he can.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: When Mappy and Dig Dug find Goro cosplaying as Wonder Momo.Goro: I didn't see you, and you didn't see me.
Mappy: (immediately) Uh, deal.
- Limited Animation: Characters don't have Mouth Flaps, and in general there aren't too many examples of fluid movement.
- Major Injury Underreaction: In Episode 8, Indy Borgnine gets impaled on several spikes in a pit. He's apparently alive, and tells Mappy and Dig Dug it is more painful than it looks while not even screaming.
- Mean Boss: Goro subverts this, as he really only picks on Mappy and seems to treat his other employees respectfully. Dig Dug specifically mentions the "great work environment" when asked about it. On the other hand, the Nyamco employee handbook specifically includes mocking Mappy's weight as one of the company's core tenets.
- Non-Standard Character Design: Bravoman and Valkyrie are drawn in the styles of their respective web series, with Bravoman in particular having distinctly thinner lines and more detailed shading than other characters.
- Noodle Incident:
- In Episode 9, Mappy says to Tarosuke they don't want another child labor lawsuit.
- In the same episode, Sky Kid implies that he's been identified as the "Lord of Ghosts" before.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Episode 9 has one to explain that Monmotaro coming out of Tarosuke's mouth does actually happen in Shadow Land, the game they come from.
- Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: Mappy isn't sure what Nyamco even does, and Sky Kid's role in the workplace is never expanded upon. That is, until the finale, where he discovers that Goro employed Sky Kid and Dig Dug to craft the safes that drill underground for his heist. Nyamco is also just a front for Goro's scheme.
- Oddly Small Organization: The only recurring employees of Nyamco seem to be Mappy, Sky Kid, Dig Dug, the Prince, and Goro. It's implied that the rest of the staff is entirely made up of Meowkies.
- Off-Model: Valkyrie's character model is noticeably missing her braid.
- Only Sane Man: Mappy, who frequently deals with his Card-Carrying Villain boss Goro and his kind-of-annoying and airheaded coworker Sky Kid. Even his good friend, the generally reasonable Dig Dug, can get on his nerves sometimes, mostly due to his obsession with drills.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Albatross' disguise is just a poorly applied wig. It manages to fool everyone (save Mappy).
- Power Trio: In Episode 11, Bravoman, Mappy and Dig Dug all band together to catch the art thief. The three end up having a conversation about what roles they'd fit into in a team. Bravoman decides he'd be the leader, Mappy would be the sidekick and Dig Dug would be the comic relief. Dig Dug decides their team name will be "Mappy Team Digger Bravo". Bravoman, however, shuts the idea down.Bravoman: You need four people.
Dig Dug: Heh heh, I'd— What?
Bravoman: You can't have a super team with three people. Has to be four, bud.
Mappy: What, are you serious? Says who?
Bravoman: International Union of Heroes. They oversee all hero-team nomenclature.
Mappy: Well, we're the only ones who're gonna use it, it doesn't matter, doesn't have to be official.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: In the games, Nyamco is Goro's Japanese name. In the web series, Nyamco is given as the name of the protagonist's workplace while Goro keeps his name.
- Precision F-Strike: Sky Kid of all people gives one. Perfectly coupled with Mood Whiplash to create one of the funniest moments of the series.Sky Kid: Now that I look back on everything, I guess there does seem to be a preponderance of evidence that Goro spent millions of dollars of his company's money crafting the world's biggest museum heist. Now, I'm not gonna sit here and tell you that Goro hasn't done things wrong. And I'm not gonna tell you that Goro shouldn't be punished if he is found guilty of these terrible crimes. But I just think it'd be a shame for us to forget the fact that he's a person. With feelings and desires and a mother and father who probably tried their best to raise him right! We all make mistakes in life. I have, you have, and Goro's no exception. But he still deserves to be treated with dignity.
Mappy: Sky Kid, do you think he did it?
Sky Kid: Oh, 'course! He's guilty as f**k!
- Rainbow Puke: In Episode 5, when the Prince gets sick, he ends up throwing up a rainbow at one point.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted. Characters often pause and stutter realistically.
- Running Gag:
- Across the entire series, there's a gag of Sky Kid saying something vaguely motivational, followed by what he just said appearing on-screen with the subtitle "Paid for by Nyamco Recruiting Dept."
- In episode 3, Goro responds to accusations of Codename Albatross being the corporate spy with the same reply: "Albatross? (Beat) ...Noooo."
- All throughout Episode 5, Dig Dug forgets that he keeps his drill on his back.
- In episode 8, Indiana Jones references followed by accusations of copyright infringement.
- The hypothetical album covers that come up in Mappy's Imagine Spot have Dig Dug dressed as Ziggy Stardust.
- In Episode 11, Mappy quotes Moby-Dick and states that he can't be sued because it's public domain.
- The Smurfette Principle: Valkyrie is the only female character with a speaking role (Wonder Momo is namechecked in episode 5 but never seen). It's also parodied by having Valkyrie speak with a low-pitched, masculine voice.
- Sound-Effect Bleep: On the occasion that a character swears, their swears will be censored out with a bleep.
- Spikes of Doom: Indy Borgnine meets his doom with these in Episode 8. Dig Dug mocks him for this.Dig Dug: Look at this idiot. Spikes have been in the public domain since the 1800s!
- Spoof Aesop: After the end of the finale, Sky Kid summarizes that the whole story was just a dramatization about the dangers of unregulated capitalism.Sky Kid: If you or a friend is the evil CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation, there are places where you can get help before it's too late!
- Sudden Video-Game Moment:
- In Episode 6, Keith Martin briefly runs out of insults to volley at Mappy. A "reload" icon comes on the screen, and Keith "reloads" his insults.
- In Episode 8, Dig Dug digs a hole underneath the Nyamco floors, and Mappy falls into it. To cushion Mappy's fall, Dig Dug inflates a Pooka, causing it to give him 600 points when Mappy pops it.
- Sue Donym: Rapid Thunder's codename as Goro's corporate spy is "Codename Albatross". That is, last name Albatross, first name Codename.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
- The Prince gets sick in Episode 5 because he spends all his time rolling up others' garbage.
- After Mappy successfully apprehends Goro for his crimes, Nyamco ends up without a boss, closing the company and leaving hundreds unemployed. In addition, after Mappy uses the safe robots to try and deliver Christmas presents, he and Dig Dug get arrested because they stole the artwork again.
- That's All, Folks!: Sky Kid shows up to end off the show. After going on a tirade relating to a Spoof Aesop, he and the other characters wave the viewers goodbye.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Dig Dug and Mappy manage to make the Prince's Katamari work by singing the game's Leitmotif.
- There Was a Door: Top Hat keeps breaking through walls to get to places. Likewise, Albatross always enters through the ceiling.
- Threat Backfire: When Mappy and Goro are discussing the corporate spy in episode 3:Goro: If you're head of security, then why is there a spy in our building? That doesn't sound like very effective security to me, hmm? Maybe I should fire you!
Mappy: Yeah, maybe you should.
Goro: Look, I didn't hire you to pry into my affairs.
Mappy: Actually, you did hire me to pry into your affairs.
Goro: That's a completely different set of affairs!
- Tsundere: Goro can be considered one towards Mappy; despite constantly antagonizing Mappy with his evil plans, he explicitly says "I miss you," as part of the reason he hires Mappy to work for Nyamco. Also lampshaded in episode 7:Mappy: Okay, Goro. Whatever you say.
Goro: That's right, Mappy. Whatever I say goes, because I'm the boss, now get back to work, I love you.
Mappy: Did you just say—
- Victory Is Boring: Goro could have just not hired Mappy to work at Nyamco if he wanted to get away with his crime, but he likes to play cat-and-mouse with the former cop. (That, and he misses Mappy.)
- Vocal Dissonance:
- The Prince of All Cosmos is depicted with a high-pitched Brooklyn accent, in contrast to his cutesy appearance.
- Bravoman's voice is deeper than it is in his own series and sounds like it was performed with a low-quality microphone. This is Lampshaded, saying that their show has a lower budget than Bravoman does and cannot afford professional voice actors.
- Valkyrie's voice is very masculine, with her voice actor not even bothering to use a falsetto.
- Tarosuke is a middle-schooler with a high and creepy filtered voice. (Although given how he's a Creepy Child, the voice is kind of fitting.)
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In Episode 5, the prince throws up onscreen. It's not very graphic because he is seen barfing up rainbows.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Mappy says this word-for-word once he encounters some (fake) snakes in Episode 8.
- You Wanna Get Sued?: Episode 8 makes references to Indiana Jones, but several characters remark how it can't be a Whole-Plot Reference because then they'd get sued. Examples include an Indy Escape being easily thwarted because the boulder is square-shaped instead of round, getting foam darts thrown at them, falling into a 6-inch pit, and encountering latex snake toys.Indy Borgnine: Ahh, great. That's the last thing I need, some short, round guy (Dig Dug) interfering with my dig site. Short and round, heh. I'm gonna call you... Round Short.
Mappy: Y'know, it'd make more sense if you just called him Short-
Indy Borgnine: [making gibberish noises over Mappy] Trademarked!