Pop Team Epic – Episode 4 – “SWGP 2018”

The next episode of Pop Team Epic is here, and as the last one had Idol Producers taking over the world with clones, this one went into sports. This one may have had the creepiest “Bob Epic Team” segment so far, which is saying something. It also had the same thing where the male and female voices are being done, but for the first time, I actually favored the female voices. I’ll get to that when I’m done recapping, but for now, Let’s Pop Together.

Starting with “Bob Epic Team,” the girls are at a restaurant, and Popuko asks if Pipimi ever fasted. She does, and as they laugh, the guy next to them is mad. He angrily asks how they’re alive. The girls tell the “old guy” that it is uncool to not keep up with young people. It’s just uncouth, unsophisticated, unchallenging, unpleasant. The guy gets more pissed off, and tells them they’re the uncool ones. The two just stare at him, and don’t make a word, making him ornery.

After the OP, it’s time for the SWGP. AKA, the Skeleton World Grand Prix. Popuko is the one in the race, as Pipimi has prepared the ride as well as she could, so she should enjoy it. The big commentators for the event, J. Covey and John K., talk of this being the “race of the century.”

As the girls say “Cool Runnings,” Popuko takes up down the course. As she does, Pipimi flashes back to when she found an abandoned puppy in the rain. Popuko watches as she talks to the doggo, and Pipimi asks the pup if it had heard of skeleton. Because whoever hasn’t done it is lame. This convinces Popuko to go do it. As it ends, Popuko is in the lead on this “death course,” but the announcers see one dude is leaving the pack. He’s censored, but you can easily tell it’s the dude and the dog from the popular American cartoon Wacky Races. The dog found some trash, which is, unfortunately, an explosive. The bomb explodes on the both of them.

Did you know Wacky Races is a popular show in Japan? Well, it is.

A group of racers get in front of Popuko, as they won’t let her through. However, a family of penguins get on the course. The race gang run head-first into the penguins, causing an explosion. The commentators hope the penguins are okay. Popuko gets back in the lead, but another racer speed right ahead, causing Popuko to spin out and have her sled be broken. This person is GTR (with the R standing for “Legend,” because they don’t have L’s in the Japanese language), and ummmm yeah, this is the guy.

I can’t tell what this is a reference to (Maybe Initial D? I’m not knowledgeable here, sorry.) But, the dude is literally a head on a car. It would seem illegal to use in a skeleton match. As Popuko gets back up, she does have back-up coming from Pipimi. But it’s not in the form of another sled. It’s Pipimi herself. For Pipimi has transformed into a jumbo jet.

Don’t ask how a plane fits on the course, but it does. The announcer talks of how her super turbo engine and sharp tip are beautiful, and the aerodynamics and form make her known as the “Mad Dog of the Circuit,” which Pipimi agrees thoroughly through the whole discussion. When the two girls merge, their speed doubles as they get a boost power. And Popuko also gets a RPG. GTR can’t believe this, as Popuko uses the RPG on him, winning the race. She gets the gold medal, as the other competitors are kinda, sorta dead. However, this victory is short as the SWGP judges take her away to investigate Popuko for drug use. But they don’t find drugs in her. They find that her body is mechanical. Since this is found out, Popuko and Pipimi combine to form a fighter jet, and take off from the race. That ends the SWGP 2018.

The next two segments are video game ones. The first has the old-school game feel, but this time has Popuko in what is a Love and/or Yuri simulator game, wanting Pipimi to corner her on the wall. As the hand gets closer, and gets on the wall, and it breaks, going into a Donkey Kong world on tracks. The little train they’re on crashes into a building, but they jump off and start dancing/making monkey noises to some music.

This is probably as close as we will see them to looking like regular anime characters. Well, if you don’t count fanart.

The next video game one has the girls in a cauldron. There, Popuko sees a crystal. It’s a Save Point. But Popuko checks around the corner. She tells Pipimi she sees the boss. The game loads to the next scene, giving us the factoid that Pipimi has a lager hitbox than Popuko. We then meet the boss, The Demon King. As he announces himself, one of his minions tells how the throne is broken so they replaced it with an ottoman. The boss sits on it, finding it so comfy, he can’t move. The minion takes off his mask, revealing it’s Popuko. They sealed the boss up.

And then it’s on to another segment with the dolls made by UchuPeople. The dolls do a song called “Let’s Pop Together.” And it’s a fantastic song. Why is it so fascinating? Because the song is a literal parody of the legendary group Earth, Wind, and Fires’s classic hit “Let’s Groove.”

The song is almost a whole shot-to-shot remake of the song with the dolls dancing and singing. Only difference, I believe, were the dolls selling something on this song. Sorry, I didn’t know since I was watching on Crunchyroll, and they didn’t subtitle the song like they did with the last one they did as dolls. It’s disappointing because they subtitled all the comments left behind by internet trolls that they presented on screen. Why not the song itself, I don’t know. But hey, enjoy both songs. As it’s Earth, Wind, and Fire. And because the doll segment is still damn adorable.

Then we get to the next “Bob Epic Team.” Popuko tells someone that they can’t sleep in the cat’s bed. Who is she talking to? An alien. She tells it to go home. But the alien insists that it’s a cat. And does every cat thing imaginable to convince her.

Quite frankly, I may never be able to unsee this BET segment ever again. As much as it tries, Popuko isn’t be fooled. She tells it to go home, and it goes back to its UFO. The alien looks back a couple more times, but Popuko still tells it to go home. Another video game segment has Popuko in another retro world. Where she is killed by stairs, killed falling off a ledge. Then shoots and kills the enemy. Which unfortunately, sets off a time paradox and ends the game. In the next segment, Pipimi has become evil. So Popuko tries to revive her with friendship power. Pipimi slaps and pushes Popuko away.

The last segment has Popuko’s phone ring in the dark. She answers it. On the other line is someone named Mary. She’s in front of Popuko’s house. This gets Popuko furious as she gets her bat and goes out front, but sees no one. She calls Mary, and asks where she is. Mary lied as she is at the station. Mary may not make it out of this alive.

We get the next Hoshiiro Girldrop Preview, where we’re introduced to another girl who’s in love with the Female MC. Oh yeah. Then it’s the male actors turn, and this one had only had one minor differences this time. It’s that Pipimi and Popuko did little quips and talked through some of the segments, especially during the SWGP segment. The male VAs did not do that during their time, as even the mouths of the girls didn’t move. It’s only a tiny one but many might not notice at all. This so far had the least edits and re-dos on it.

Speaking of the male voice actors, I have been loving the male VAs for all they have done. Be it this sub or the dub version that came out last week, or the Frieza/Cell combo from the last episode. But for the first time, I actually liked the female VAs more on this episode than the other ones. Now, don’t get me wrong. The other female voice actors have been great in their own ways in the first 3 episodes. However, I have a case where I actually recognized who Popuko and Pipimi were just from hearing their voices. The Female seiyuu this time around were Satomi Sato and Yoko Hikasa. Who are they? They are more widely known for voicing these two girls.

That’s right, Ritsu and Mio from K-On, like Fireza and Cell last week, are now canon in the PTE universe. I know I have been usually posting some K-On stuff in some of these articles, and that might make some people who read it get annoyed. And well, guess what? You’re gonna have to deal with it again in this one. Especially since they got screen time here. So think of it as a sorta reunion with these two, K-On people. We even got to hear them sing together as well, as it was usually Hisaka that has the well-known voice of doing the songs. It also led me to make this, since it’s an actual thing now.

Yes, you can criticize my crappy paint job. I’m not as good a photoshop guy as others. Seeing how we have gotten some good pairings, maybe we can get some more pairings down the future on Pop Team Epic with characters from the shows. Maybe a Yui/Azusa one? Or a Kumiko/Reina one? Or how about one where we have female actors who are best known for doing male characters, and have them do that for Popuko and Pipimi? Will you be down with a Masako Nozawa and Mayumi Tanaka pairing? I know I would.

But it’s not just them they voice. Hikasa is also known for voicing the busty redhead Rias Gremory on High School DxD. I would post a pic, but it may be too lewd for this website. She also voices Stephanie Dora on No Game, No Life, and Izuma Takanashi on the Working!! series. Satō also has another big role she’s known for. She voices Wendy Marvel from Fairy Tail.

She also voiced Naru on Sailor Moon Crystal, Yukiko Kanzaki on Assassination Classroom, and Chiya Ujimatsu on Is the Order a Rabbit? For the male VA’s, we got Tesshō Genda and Akira Kamiya. Genda is known for playing the role of Action Kamen (or on the dub, Action Bastard) on Shin-chan, and Suppaman on Dr. Slump. He is also the Japanese dub voices for Optimus Prime in the Michael Bay Transformer movies, Kratos in God of War, and Tigger on Winnie the Pooh. What a range. Kamiya was known as the voice of Kogoro Mori (Or Richard) from Case Closed, until he left the role in 2009. He has also voiced Kensiro on Fist of the North Star, Shutaro Mendo on Urusei Yatsura, and Professor Tomoe on Sailor Moon S and Stars.

As for this episode? This episode was another damn good episode. Maybe the best one since the first one. The only gripes I have were that damn, creepy-ass alien and Crunchy not having any subtitles in the song. But other than that, we got Wacky Races, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Keions, tons of video games, and a whole lot more. Fun episode all-around. I will end this recap with the only way that I can: With some more Earth, Wind, and Fire.

*Note. There was gonna be a clip of “Let’s Pop Together” on here that I found on Youtube. However, that got blocked due to copyright reasons. You will have to go on Crunchyroll or HiDive or wherever to watch the song in full.

Pop Team Epic is simulcasted on Crunchyroll and HiDive, and can be seen at 12:30 PM ET Saturdays.  The dubbed episodes of Pop Team Epic are on Funimation. The simuldub can be seen on Funimation Now at 5:00 PM ET Mondays.

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