Pop Team Epic – Episode 7 – “Hellshake Yano”

As the last episode was an okay episode for me, I had a thought at some point about how Pop Team Epic could top themselves. Of course, we all may have had this thought about this, as this show has mostly delivered at all points with how they got through this 4-panel web comic, to where it is now.  But could they do even better? Like, something you didn’t expect, even though this anime has done it already? Well, they may have done it in this episode. Along with one of the better jokes in the manga coming to life and more video game stuff, the main event may have been one of the most amazing feats I have seen done. Onward to episode 7.

The first segment has…a monkey, or a platypus? I don’t know, some type of weird-looking animal being all depressed, so Popuko tells him to read the “Pop Team Therapy” book to get better. He does, but it’s boring. She snatches the book back, and calls him a hater. After the opening, Popuko is cuddling a baby to sleep with a lullaby. Of course, this baby is the “hater” from the first segment. Some “fanboy” tells her not to be nice to haters. It’s afterwards that she takes the fanboy, now a baby, and does the same thing to him. Pipimi enters and asks what he is a hater or fanboy of, and Popuko thinks up a beaver eating, so I guess Nutria?

Then it’s on to the episode title. Last episode, the show started with Pipimi thinking of “Hellshake Yano,” but we didn’t get much about who he was, only that Pipimi thought of him instead of listening to Popuko’s problems. It starts off exactly as it did before, only this time in the animation styling of “Bob Epic Team.” As it goes on, it then focuses again on what Pipimi’s thinking. However, unlike that one, this one then goes into a completely different direction, using two live-action guys in lab coats to give us Hellshake Yano in all pictures. It’s the “Emotional Documentary” of Hellshake Yano.

Sorry Popuko, but your face is going to have to be taken over by this. As the guys show this through drawing boards and voice all that happens, it shows us that Hellshake Yano is the guitarist and leader of his band, which is to perform at the Big Budokan in Tokyo, as it’s their first appearance. He is amped for this, but their manager comes in and says the trains have stopped, so the band can’t make it on time. They will have to cancel the live performance. Using the different boards, the dudes make it out having Hellshake Yano smack the manager. Hellshake Yano will not give up. Getting out his guitar, he will hold the audience’s attention with his high-speed solo. Flipping to the next board, it shows the happy audience who are enjoying Hellshake Yano performing. This is his solitary battle. The dudes make all the sound effects, guitar sounds, and even the movement of the hands to go with his performance.

Yes, this really happened.

Even though the audience loves it, Hellshake Yano thinks this solo is boring. He has to go faster. As he does, his high-speed picking is too much, and he breaks one of the guitar strings. As he thinks it’s over with, he still remembers he has 5 strings left on his guitar. With literal fire in his eyes, it’s time to take tuning to the max! The dudes even have the tuning parts on the board, and make it like they are part of the guitar. Hellshake Yano gives it his all, as he wonders if the strings or his arms will break first. All the strings break, but Hellshake Yano is rocking the heart of Hell. For he is “The Man who shakes Hell!” As it shows the audience with their arms being thrown up in cheering, the dudes give one long “HEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!” (doing it twice) and finish it up with a “SHAKE!!!” Hellshake Yano has done it. With some explosions by him, the audience says his name, and he is happy. It ends, as Pipimi goes back to reality, and tells Popuko she wasn’t listening to her.

In the next segment, we get another video game one, in which it turns into old-school Mario Kart. Popuko is mad at the “subculture bitch” in front of her, so she tries to crash her. Pipimi comes in and helps her, as she smashes the car to bits. Popuko thanks her for saving her life. The next bit has Pokuko playing peek-a-boo, covering her eyes. It’s too dark as she can’t see a thing, going around in all her cuteness. Pipimi claps at this cuteness, as Popuko thanks her. So now it’s time to prepare for an execution, as Popuko makes a ♥ hand sign.

When you get to see your waifu one last time being being beheaded.

The next segment has Popuko making sounds as Pipimi has a rose. It shows that Popuko has turned into a baby. A baby baby baby, be-be-be baby! Since this happened, Popuko gets depressed because she now can’t attend high school in the future with Pipimi. But that’s okay, because Pipimi will wait for her to grow, as the rose blossoms, making Popuko happy.

It’s on to another “Pop Team Cooking” episode. Pipimi this time has 100% hamburger meat on her. It’s not beef/pork mixed cause she wants everything at 100%. So it’s time to make 100% burgers. 100% Manatee burgers. It’s technically a cow, right? She then has Popuko make another manatee dish, having her flip it to show a face. The Compressed Manatee dish is done. By the way, these both come with their own recipes.

We then move on to another Japanmignon segment, in which you know what’s up. The French animator tells what’s happening and, unless you do know French, are given no subtext as there are no subtitles at first. The girls this time go to France and take selfies of the scenery. Except they’re waiting at a bus station. The next segment is probably one of the better manga jokes. It’s time for Extreme Bicycle Perch, as a dude is trying to land right on to his bike. Unfortunately, Popuko removes the bike seat, and the thing holding the seat goes right into the dude’s anus. It’s very painful. Popuko gives a little cute “Oopsies.” Which then transitions her from normal version into the Blu-Ray version.

The next segment has the girls giving each other headpats (nothing lewd this time) and as Popuko tries to give Pipimi one, she stops her and starts to smash Popuko on the ground multiple times. After this, Pipimi is fishing, but nothing is biting. So Popuko leaves and gets in a mermaid suit to get caught by her. What a friend. This segment continues with Popuko being all wet from this, but Pipimi does get a bite. She catches a big fish, which Popuko notices has the same face as Pipimi. They all laugh, until Pipimi and the fish both can’t believe what she said about them.

The last segment is another video game segment that starts with the Mario Kart one, but after Popuko hits a turtle and flips to the side, it evolves into Pokémon. She begins a fight with a wild Pipimi (in the form of a Dugtrio), and selecting the moves, she uses “Shrink (Minimize)” which shrinks Popuko. Pipimi then uses her attack, which is “Hell’s Southern Cross” (Tri Attack, I’m guessing). It’s a One-hit KO, and all goes dark for Popuko.

Popuko has had enough of this shit. To which, in the tweet I made below, sums up any video game experience.

As she starts to play the game again, an 8-bit version “Poppy Pappy Days” plays on, making it a fitting end to this. Well, maybe it’s better with Popuko saying she’s again done with this shit. In the Hoshiiro Girldrop preview, the Super-Live Fest is coming soon. But the band is clashing with their rivals and themselves, and they might be disbanding.

Time to go on to the male voices and all the differences in them, which has become a fun routine for me to do. To start off, one of the male VAs screws up saying the show on the first line. Pipimi sings with Popuko on the fanboy/hater part. Then there’s the whole Hellshake Yano segment. In the first part, the dudes clearly had their own voices there. But in this one, they got dubbed by the male VAs for the whole thing. I have no idea why. In the baby one, the female VA for Popuko had an English “But” in there. But not here for the men. In Pop Team Cooking, there’s more talking throughout, and Pipimi adds a “DAAHHHHH!!” to the end of her lines. In the Blu-Ray, there’s a “Bonitos” in the back, and then in the fishing segment, Popuko says “Look at Me” going to the lure, while Pipimi adds a “Fish God!” when catching the fish. For Japanmingon, the French animator talks about the weather being opposite in the regions of France. In the North, it rains, and in the South, it’s sunny. He also says being born in the North, he tends to be a masochist. I know that feeling. Anyway, the girls check out the incredible scenery of France, which is all sunny. As they take a selfie, it shows they are at a bus stop somewhere in the Northern region, as it is raining.

To get to the voice of the week, the female voices for this week’s episode were Akiko Yajima and Satomi Kōrogi. Who are they? They are best known for voicing these two lovable characters.

Or maybe not as lovable to some. Either way, we got Shin-chan and her sister to voice the girls this week, as now the Ass Dance is now canon in Pop Team Epic. For the males? We got more Naruto stuff, as this week’s VAs were Shōwtarō Morikubo and Kōsuke Turiumi, who voice Shikamaru and Kiba on there, respectfully. I guess you can say this week’s male VAs were a drag. *BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!* I’m sorry.

This whole episode was pretty okay for the most part. The video game ones were good, as I’m a sucker for anything Pokémon. The bike one was great to finally see animated. But man, that Hellshake Yano segment may have been the best thing ever so far from here. Forget it maybe being sort of a “Bob Epic Team” sketch, the whole live-action segment was one of the most amazing things I have seen. I thought nothing could top the VAs in the 2nd episode with all that happened. And yet, they did it. The whole play with the picture boards, how the dudes carried everything with their voices. How they didn’t break out in laughing doing this who part. How they got this altogether to make this amazing sketch. The fact that this all took place inside Pipimi’s mind as it was going on. I’m gonna guess this took a few tries to get done, because there’s no way that was perfected in one try. If they did do it somehow, you have to congratulate and give praise for all that. Actually, do that right now. That segment was one of the most unique and original things I have ever seen in TV. Forget any animation or live-action. This was amazing to watch both times, as they got everything down for this. Pop Team Epic continues to be amazing in how creative it can be with their segments for a so-called shitty anime. I don’t know how anything is gonna top that from this episode. But then again, I didn’t think it could before, so I hope they prove me wrong once more. I also hope there’s a bloopers part that included when it comes out. I want to see all of what went into making this on the Blu-Ray. Which, by the way, the Blu-Ray version of this show should look a lot different than the TV version.

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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