Pop Team Epic – Episode 9 – “Dancing with a Miracle”

So, quick question to anyone who reads this. Are you a person who doesn’t like subtitles and prefers dubs because you are a dub elitist and/or are too lazy to read? Well first off, congrats! You’re as big an asshole as the sub elites! And 2nd, I got good news for you on this episode. I’ll get to that in a moment, but we got some American pop-culture references on here, some more weird BET stuff, and me making fun of an anime character I hate once more. On to the episode.

The first bit is called “Tai-chan Body Parts.” We meet two characters, both named Tai-chan. One is a hand, and the other a heart. They’re performing for an audience, and Hand tells Heart she went to a house. Heart asked if Hand bought it, but it was out of Hand’s reach. Guess she could use … a hand. The audience laughs.

The main story begins, and the narrator is … talking in English?!! NANI?!! For real, it’s all English, and by an actual American dude. I’ll get to that at the end, as best as I can. But for now, take this as it is. Also, weirdly enough, we got subs for the English. Why? I don’t know. The subs for the Japanese are on the side, which makes sense for them. But f we have people taking in English here, then why … know what, forget it. Moving on. Anyway, this is called “A Miracle and a Dream” (Which, the original title was “Dream in New York”. That tells ya where this story takes place.) There, we meet a boy. The narrator is his future self, so here we have his past. He is also talking in English, although this is kinda more Engrish than full-on English, but I digress. The boy talks of remembering the first time he met them, in his first time visiting NYC. With everyone else around him speaking English, we see a few people celebrating, drunk, on the street. Then, a taxi crashes. Out of it pop our duo, in gear that I bet even the most uninformed could recognize.

So yeah, they use their gear to get the people partying and then suck them up. The boy thinks it’s amazing. As they leave, the boy tries to stop them (Should I also point out that Popuko and Pipimi are the only ones speaking Japanese? Because they are.) The boy tells us how he ran away from home because he lost faith in the adults around him, but these two saved him.

As the trio go to a bar (Hey, there’s football on TV!), the boy tells the girls some stories, including that of a cat and cherry pies, as Pipimi gets to arm wrestling random people. And winning easily. Pretty sure they don’t care about him talking.

Is that a black Robocop?

Even though he is shy, he had no problem opening up and getting to know the girls, even as they do whatever without noticing him. They listen to his struggles, show him around New York City, even if it’s in a shady part of town with an AE86 and maybe the Final Fantasy XV crew. But all this was stimulating to him, the coolest thing ever for him, he says as they make random food on the Brooklyn Bridge. He feels free with them.  As they camp out in Central Park, Pipimi takes out a maguro, or a bluefin tuna. As she does, the boy finally realizes all that happened, flashing back on their adventures. The girls made him realize he was too scared to do things by himself, and blamed others as he ran from reality. Of course, as he says this, Pipimi chops up the maguro with a sword, as a crowd gathers around and likes it. The boy wakes up the next day and sees they have left. He decided to go home. He still didn’t have the proper resolution to live as free as they did. So he will think about his future going forward.

As for the girls? Well, they’re doing this.

It flashes forward to the future, where the boy is that narrator now. He is giving a speech to people about how the girls helped him, and the freedom he gained helped him get to where he is now. What is he now? He’s the mayor of NYC. He’s also gotten buff as hell.

Fitting attire for a mayor. He does express his gratitude to them, as they are his friends for eternity.

After an English Pop Team Epic reading, the next segment is another “Heaven or Hell” fight. Popuko attacks Pipimi, and Pipimi throws her to the ground. But Popuko counters with a combo attack and a laser knife. She wins and will now conquer the world. Then it’s on to Bob Epic Team. You remember the bunny at the end of episode 5 who Popuko chased? Well, he’s back in this form, and Popuko still wants him to wait. He tries to pass her to get to his tea party, but she won’t give in. He tries to even circle her by making many bunnies, but she is not letting Mr. Bunny go. Pipimi and co. will have to wait longer for him.

The next one shows some girls taking selfies of their latte art, and Popuko wants a latte art. After 10 minutes, she gets one. But when served, Popuko sucks up the whole latte before seeing it. What was the art, Pipimi asks? Popuko doesn’t know and doesn’t care. The next bit has Pipimi tell Popuko to press a button she has. She does. Pipimi then hugs her, and all the yuri comes up. Then Popuko wants to press it again. She does, multiple times. Pipimi calls her an idiot and “Five Fingers” her.

The next one has the two at a riverbank and Pipimi holding a 4-leaf clover. She asks Popuko what if 1000 out of 10 people didn’t like her? It makes Popuko sad, as she wants Pipimi to stay with her. Pipimi then asks what if she was the only one on Popuko’s side? Popuko has one response.

Oh yeah, the yuri is clearly strong in this. Also, this might have been the best animation the show has shown so far.

On to another Bob Epic Team. Pipimi has something funny to say. But all she says is “Ummm…,” and Popuko, on the drums, says that it’s funny. She starts to drum away crazily. Pipimi didn’t say what she wanted to and tries to stop her. After some time, she finally does, and Popuko breaks her drumsticks.

Then it’s time for another “Japonmignon” segment. You know the drill. The girls are at a cafe, ordering off a menu. They get their order, but it stinks. So much so, it kills a passing fly. They stop at a ramen shop instead. To end, Heart and Hand thank the audience. Heart is so happy, she’s palpitating. Then for “Poppy Pappy Day,” the singers, like last time, complain once more about their time not on the anime. For Hoshiiro Girldrop, Hoshifuri is stranded in her memories for Daichi. He then comes to get her, and maybe, we get a kiss from them. About time.

Time to flip it around to the male voices. During the Tai-chan segment, the audience doesn’t laugh at all. For the NYC story, even though the English-to-Japanese translator’s name is listed (It’s Masahiro Arakaki, good work), there is no English this time. It is all Japanese. However, when presented as the narrator and boy talk, it’s worded like it’s in an accent. I can’t really tell if it’s for a Brooklyn accent or a Jersey accent, but they just used an Osakian accent to go with it. Either way, the subtitles are weird to look at. Other stuff that happens on this story include Pop saying “Ready? FIGHT!!” during the arm wrestling, the girls on the Brooklyn Bridge, when making food, taking about something other than food. And then during the maguro scene, the girls rap.

This happens. As do the girls talking over the narrator at times.

In the other parts, the button one has Popuko saying “Love” to Pipimi, and Pipimi responding by saying “Just Friendship!” before smacking her. Talk about being friendzoned. In the next one, Popuko says “Yngwie Malmsteen” and adds after “Center of My Universe” with “… and the Earth.” Then to Japanmignon, the French dude gives us the stuff with subtitles again. The French dude tells of how he love French foods, but some of them have very strong odors that tourists can’t stand. This is where we see Popuko and Pipimi order their food as their first meals in France, wanting to be adventurous. Pipimi orders the andouillette sausage. Popuko gets the salade de maroilles chaud. You know the rest.

And so, as stated, it’s time to get to the part where we should talk about: The English portion. The English part was done by an AniYoutuber named “The Anime Man”. While I don’t know much about him (or even knew about him before this. Sorry, I’m not big into YouTubers like the rest of ya’ll), this guy is 1) Fluent in Japanese, 2) Helped translate some of the stuff in English for this episode, and 3) Did a fantastic job on here with the stuff, even if he’s not American, doesn’t have an American accent and whatever else the Japanese thought. If you want to know more, the dude did tell about his whole experience on this Pop Team Epic episode and all that happened here.

As for the Japanese side of things, the female voice actors this week were Eriko Nakamura and Asami Imai. Now I couldn’t find many big roles for the former (The one I found was voicing Belgium in Hetalia), but the latter has two big roles. Imai is mostly known for voicing Ikaruga in the Senran Kagura video games. But she also voiced the redheaded scientist Kurisu Makise on Steins;Gate. For the males, we got Sōma Saito and Kaito Ishikawa voicing the girls. While I didn’t find much on Saito, he had two roles that were noteworthy. He voiced Tatsumi in Akame ga Kill!, so it gives me an excuse to hash out this thing that Rob did a couple years ago for when it graced Toonami. Ahhh, good times with that terrible show. Other than that, he voiced Yuno on a 2016 Black Clover OVA, before they went with someone else. Ishikawa is more known because he has two more recent, bigger roles. He plays our favorite anime cyborg superhero Genos on One Punch Man, and voices Iida on My Hero Academia.

Overall, it was surreal hearing full-on English in a Japanese-subtitled one. Pop Team Epic certainly delivers always being ahead so far in expecting the unexpected. It’s certainly going to be interesting to see what Funimation does here with dubbing this part. However, this was also the weakest episode so far in the series. The English part the best surprise from it, but overall, the story was pretty tame, and the girls, other than making the Ghostbusters reference, didn’t do much. The BET stuff and the other ones were still good, but mostly, this one was the worst episode of the bunch. Does that mean I’m gonna give it a negative grade? Not really. If anything, I say it was around a 60 based on a grading scale. While it barely passes and goes just at average, that is enough to make it poor based on the other episodes I seen. But the show will always get an A+ for creativity for all their ideas.

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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