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Western Animation / Kappa Mikey

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"Hey! (Hey!) Look! (Look!) Out in the streets!
Don't you see the man is Kappa Mikey?!"

A 2006-to-2008 Fish out of Water Work Com Nicktoon animated in-house at Animation Collective, and Nicktoons Network's first original cartoon. The show blends tropes from both American cartoons and Japanese cartoons. Kappa Mikey is about American teenage actor Mikey Simon who wins a contest giving him a role in the flagging anime series Lily Mu, and ends up making it a hit. Lily Mu is a show that parodies, and includes, more Superhero and Shōnen tropes than would fit in this article, and are all the more appropriate to contrast with the ordinary "real world" in the main show.

After moving to Japan, Mikey constantly finds himself in conflict with both the culture of his new homeland, and with his cast-mates. Episodes usually revolve around Mikey and his friends learning An Aesop as they deal with off-screen problems that are impairing their acting performance. Said problems are often rather bizarre, like the time a rapping, self-aware sock puppet threatened to upstage Lily on a magazine's "Most Beautiful People" list. An in-joke for the 4Kids Entertainment fans exists where most of the voice actors also worked on their anime dubs back in the day.

The show was available on iTunes until it was quietly taken down around 2015. It is also succeeded by one Spinoff mini-series that is available on YouTube.

Now with a Characters page. Any tropes specific to an individual character should go there. Also a Recap page.

This series features examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Most of the vehicles and robots. Always used in the Lily Mu segments. Any background with a building in it is also CGI.
  • Absurdly Dedicated Worker: In the Christmas special when Lily Mu is cancelled mid-filming no one yelled cut so Gonard never stopped acting.
  • Aesop: Played with in the end of 'Splashomon''. After the conflict has been resolved, Ozu claims that one shouldn't jump to conclusions, and if anyone has a question, they should just ask, as he'll always be honest. Always.
    Mikey: Ozu, where do babies come from?
    Ozu: Er, internet.
    Gonard: Where does the Tooth Fairy live?
    Ozu: Inside a hurricane.
    Mikey: Can robots love?
    Ozu: I'm sorry, but sometimes robots only hate.
  • Always Identical Twins: Ozu and Brozu.
  • Always Someone Better: Mikey is this to Lily.
  • Animated Actors: With a twist.
  • Animation Bump: They are rare, but can usually be found in places where the animator got free reign to do what he/she wanted with a given shot, and particularly in the Karaoke Episodes, where the beat of the music ruled the animation.
  • Animesque: Virtually all of Japan is drawn in Anime-style with all of the classic elements. Only Mikey, an American, is kept as an American cartoon character.
  • Anime Theme Song: One of the few, if not only, instances of a J-pop band writing an original song for an American cartoon! "Hey! X2 Look! X2" was performed by the Beat Crusaders (best known for "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight", the fourth opening in Bleach), and was the only piece of music for Kappa Mikey that was not written in-house. This band tended to sing mainly in English and were influenced by the United States heavily. They also performed the original theme "Hit in the USA" for Beck.
  • Anti-Climactic Parent: The story of La Cage Aux Mikey. Taken one step further when it turns out Mikey's parents CAN'T make it to dinner, so he hires two other characters to play his parents.
  • Art Shift: It's amazing how smoothly Mikey and the Americans are animated... but they make up about 5% of the characters! The other 20% are okay-looking anime, and the remaining 75% are chibi.
  • Bankruptcy Barrel: In "The Karaoke Episode."
  • Big Damn Fan Movie: Well,... the trailer, at least. ...and a damned GOOD one!
  • Book Ends: The Lily Mu sequence bookends each episode- the first time, the take is ruined, and the second time, they get it right and it is changed to incorporate whatever lesson was learned. Though they did get it right on the first take a few times.
  • Bottle Episode: The Clip Show, along with being what it obviously is, features about eight minutes of original animation, the seven main characters, no new designs, and takes place indoors, mostly in the studio.
    • Especially in Season 2, the LilyMu sequences were recycled and altered in new episodes.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: One writer, or a pair of writers, depends on this a lot as jokes in a few episodes.
  • Brick Joke: In one episode, Mikey accidentally destroys Ozu's precious bonsai tree. In a later episode Mikey pulls out a katana, cutting everything in sight, including, you guessed it, a bonsai tree. Both even catch on fire after losing all of their branches.
  • Broken Treasure: Mikey at one point loses the photos containing Mitsuki's fond memories, and frantically takes replacements before she gets wise.
    • Pretty much anything Ozu values in his possession gets destroyed or lost by Mikey.
  • Casting Gag: The Goku Expy Gonard is voiced by Goku's English voice, Sean Schemmel.
  • Cats Are Mean: Kello the Kitten, who tries to sabotage the Lily Mu show and cause the cast to lose their jobs, however he ends up getting sent to a vicious pre-school show.
  • Clip Show: The second season includes one, framed by Guano being forced to make his OWN clip show of Lily Mu. Played straight AND spoofed on occasion..
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Gonard when he off the set.
  • Comically Oversized Butt: In the episode "Uh Oh Guano", there is a one-off character named Sergu with a giant posterior who immigrated from Buttstonia, a fictional country known for its equally big-butted citizens with currencies the shape of rear ends. Once Sergu became the richest man of Buttstonia, an ambassador from said country visited Japan via hot air balloon to pick him up.
  • Composite Character: A plot point in "The Wizard of Ozu" has Yes-man and Ozu being the same person with Yes-Man behind the Ozu projection.
  • Continuity: Pops up on occasion.
    • In "The Karaoke Episode Part II", a newscast reports that the yen has taken a bit of a dive and goes to tycoon Richie McMillions for comment, who was a scripted antagonist in "Tin Putt".
  • Crazy Cat Burglar: The Cat Burglar in "The Fugi-Kid", who planned to use thousands of cats to pull off the biggest heist in history. He even admits that he loves to eat cats.
  • Credit Card Plot: Hog Day Afternoon begins with this.
  • Credits Gag: Mikey At The Bat ends with various crew members creating baseball-related middle names for themselves.
  • Culture Clash: Mikey constantly fails at grasping the world he has entered. At one point, he even mistakes Japan as having a president instead of a prime minister, and after some persistent correction from his friends, winds up calling him "Prime Minister The President". His Japanese friends occasionally have the same problem with American facts.
  • Cutaway Gag: Of the Family Guy variety, though not used so much as to make the show memorable for it.
  • Deconstructed Trope: On surprising occasions. "Live LilyMu" showed what would happen if someone kept screaming her vocal cords out for an extended period of time, repeatedly. (Go on, guess who).
  • Deranged Animation: To an extent. It's enhanced even more during the songs of The Karaoke Episode.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Brozu's assistant to Ozu's. Ozu's assistant is one Yes Man and Brozu's is known for the Catchphrase "No Way".
  • Drunk on Milk: Guano, after he quits, in Script Assassin
    Guano: -Hic- Another Banana Bonanza, please.
    Beef: Ya haven't left that seat in a week, kid. Ah think you had enough.
    Guano: (throws dessert off the table) NO! I think YOU have enough! You're not the— BOSS of me! NO one is! Not Ozu, not no one! (falls off the stool)
  • Edutainment Show: Averted; it's clearly not, but being set in a country other than where it was made and is seen, basic facts pop up on occasion that the target audience (little boys) may not have known about beforehand. This leads to some Truth in Television examples, such as how Japan has to recycle all their garbage to conserve space on their small island nation (there really are tons of recycling cans in every building), or how kabuki actors are all men.
  • Epunymous Title: While most of the audience might not realize it, the name "Kappa Mikey" is based off of Kappamaki: A type of sushi.
  • Face Fault: Parodied in a few episodes where Mikey, as an American cartoon character, can't do it, no matter how hard he tries.
  • Fanboy: Several appear throughout the series. An episode focuses on Mikey getting kidnapped by a duo of teenage fanboys and becoming a member of their club held in their mom's basement!
  • Fashion Show: The episode Fashion Frenzy.
  • Feud Episode: Several.
    • Easy Come Easy Gonard: Gonard and Mikey have a falling out. Mitsuki has them make up later.
    • Script Assassin: Guano quits in tears after Ozu revises his script without telling him, and they make up on a talk show.
    • The side story of Mitsuki Vanishes involves Yes Man quitting.
  • Filling the Silence: Pauses are filled in by cartoon noises for the slightest bit of movement.
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: Gonard eats a radioactive sandwich and becomes super-intelligent in Go Nard Hunting.
  • Forgotten Birthday: The first third of Like Ozu Like Son.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The episode Manic Monday parodies both the trope AND the film on which it is based, where the two yin-yang heroines switch bodies in a standard story formula.
  • Funny Background Event: Live LilyMu - Gonard is on-stage doing a prop comedy sketch for the audience and says, "Now if you want milk with those eggs..." We cut to Ozu giving his team a pep talk backstage, where in the background we hear a cow's moo, a hard punt, Gonard's scream, and a crash.
  • Gag Series: And how!
  • Gass Hole: Gonard on most occasions, though after she accidentally ate ice cream with "fart powder" on it, Mitsuki became one during the series finale, "Live LilyMu".
  • George Jetson Job Security: Ozu threatens to fire the cast or cancel the show literally every other episode if not EVERY episode!
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In-Universe, Lily Mu was very popular in Buttswana.
  • Goo Goo Getup: In "Mikey's Place", in the subplot, Lily is caught red-handed showing hatred toward babies, so Ozu forces her to take care of a baby for one day to regain LilyMu's reputation. When the baby crawls away, Guano is forced to take his place. Guano comes to enjoy being treated as a baby, though.
  • Invisible Streaker: In the episode, "The Fugi-Kid" Mikey has a trench-coat that turns him invisible, he uses this to walk around naked at one point, and then the trench-coat gets caught on something.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: The Christmas episode.
  • Karaoke Box: The entire two-part episode The Karaoke Episode focuses on this activity. Each character even has their own Image Song during the course of the episode.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "We go through this every time, Mitsuki. You tell me not to do something, I do it anyway, things go wrong, I try to fix it, it gets worse, we talk about our feelings, and everything's cool! So chill'ax, already!"
  • Lemonade Stand Plot: "Easy Come Easy Gonard" has Mikey and Gonard setting up a lemonade stand in order to work off the large tab Mikey grew in the Tatami Megastore. While it initially works thanks to their fame on the Lily Mu show, their rising ego and a feud ruins any chance they have of getting the funds.
  • Love at First Sight: Mitsuki to Mikey in the pilot, Mikey to Lily in the pilot.
  • Macekre: In-Universe; when Lily Mu is imported to America, it's edited to make Guano the star of the show and Mikey's character is changed to a fairy and a background character.
  • The Magnificent Sevensamurai: There is an episode where the five crew members are called by a little boy to save their playground from a garbage man intent on turning it into a landfill. The boy is under the impression that they are heroes instead of actors, and the LilyMu crew is under the impression that it's all a publicity gig!
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Mitsuki and Gonard. Mitsuki is the tough-as-nails deuteragonist while Gonard is the main villain of Lily Mu. Off the set, Mitsuki is a sweetheart with a major crush on Mikey, while Gonard is a Big Fun Kindhearted Simpleton who is Mikey's best friend.
  • Medium Blending: While Mikey's animation (as well as the American citizens) are Flash-animated, the Japanese people are animated in an anime style.
  • Mouthflaps: Subverted; only the anime characters have mouths that just go up and down when they talk in a normal indoor voice and never accentuate what they're actually saying, while Mikey's mouth covers the full spectrum of movements.
  • Real-Place Background: Most of the show takes place in the Ginza area of downtown Tokyo. Yoyogi Park, Nagano, and the Yodo River are also real places.
  • The Rashomon: The episode Splashomon presents an utterly and hilariously absurd version of this.
  • Reaction Shot: All subtropes are covered, and used so frequently, it gets annoying.
  • "Risky Business" Dance: Briefly in "Mikey Impossible".
  • Shout-Out:
    • One minor character resembles Dr. Slump's Senbei Norimaki, particularly the later version of Senbei who cuts his hair.
    • Two walkons are based off of Puffy AmiYumi, but in particular the Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi version of the pair with slightly different color palettes.
  • Show Within a Show: LilyMu is the action, Japanese television show that Mikey stars on. Each episode starts with the group taping an episode of LilyMu and then Mikey screwing something up which serves as a catalyst to whatever antics the group gets into.
  • Spin-Off: Dancing Sushi
  • Split-Screen Phone Call: Featured in several episodes. Lampshaded by Lily, who, at one point, pushes a horizontal split-screen line into Mikey on the other end.
  • Status Quo Is God: A lesson is learned at the end of every episode, but by the next episode, no one changes.
    • Lampshaded when Mikey messes something up again, Ozu muses with Guano and Yes Man that they should probably start holding Mikey responsible for his actions. They think about it, then laugh.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: In one episode with Mikey's great grandfather Cincinnati Tex, (who looks like exactly like Mikey with brown hair, a baseball uniform and a twirly mustache.)
  • Super-Deformed: 70% of the time for everyone who is not Mikey.
  • Take That!: To how American dubs, particularly Creator/4KidsEntertainment, always edit anime shows to ridiculous levels.
    • The pilot has Ozu expressing a deep hatred for cards, and that all shows seem to have them.
    • Ozu, when explaining why he's changing the format of the show.
    Ozu: This is what audiences want to see! Attractive people! Doing ABSOLUTELY! NOTHING!
  • The Musical: Or rather, the Karaoke Episode.
  • Theatre Phantom: The Phantom is parodied as "The Phantom of the Studio", using a mask because someone wrote "fart" on his forehead.
  • Thick-Line Animation: How Mikey is animated. The rest of the cast are drawn in Anime style.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Lily and Mitsuki alternate between this:
    • On-camera: Lily's Girly Girl to Mitsuki's Tomboy.
    • Off-camera: Lily's Tomboy to Mitsuki's Girly Girl.
  • Toilet Humor: The punchline of many situations is usually just farts or thereabouts.
  • True Companions: All five crew members are only together because of their occupation- an anime show. This also makes it a Work Com. They usually despise or don't understand each other, yet you can bet that at the end of any episode, they will discover something about one another they admire. Same goes for Ozu and Yes Man.
  • Tsundere: The two heroines Lily and Mitsuki can arguably personify the two behaviors the trope describes toward their attitudes toward Mikey (Lily is tsun-tsun, Mitsuki is dere-dere). However, both have been known to switch behaviors on occasion.
  • Unknown Rival: Mikey is unaware of Lily's jealousy towards him, as he is infatuated with her as is his character on the show.

Engineer 1: How do you think the network is going to feel about all that farting?
Engineer 2: Are you kidding? They're going to love it!
—The very last lines in the show.


Video Example(s):


LiveLilymu Finale

Seeing Mitsuki suffer throughout the episode, Mikey finally steps up and take responsibility for his actions in his own special way...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / Gasshole

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