What other anime could possibly have provided my No. 1 moment this year?
Oh, Popee the Performer. So wonderful. So hilarious. So misunderstood. I could have populated this list twice over with moments from this twisted, delightful series, but that would send many of you running and crying from this blog for various reasons, so I forced myself to stick with one specific moment. What you see above is also my reaction to narrowing this down so much, but I persevered!
Popee the Performer is almost a different series before Papi enters the fray. It’s still full of brutal physical humor, yes, but the series truly takes giant leaps into the realm of the mad and weird when the assumed owner of this bizarre circus of freaks makes his debut. And, oh, what a debut it is!
Papi makes his mark by showing Popee and Kedamono, Popee’s wolf friend, what amateurish magicians they are. The box trick? Yawn! Do you know how a real man does magic? By sticking a chainsaw straight into his torso, of course! Even Popee is scared stupid as Papi grinds the blade through his flesh, bones and organs. As always, though, the true beauty of Popee reveals itself in the punch line: After a quick cut (pun not intended), Papi is whole and unharmed, and it’s Kedamono who has been cleaved in two.
That’s the true magic of Popee right there: It takes a horrifying visual gag and makes it utterly silly. I liked the series a lot before this, but this is the moment where I fell head over heels in love with it, never to return to the realm of mortals, for once you have experienced Popee, you have ascended to godhood.