Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $69.98 US
Running Time: 650 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
Teaching class has never been this crazy or funny.
I have to admit that I missed out on Paniponi Dash when it was first released in separate volumes but everyone in the office swears by how nutty and genuinely funny this comedy is so I had to check it out for myself. It turns out that the Complete Collection of Paniponi Dash is exactly my brand of surreal comedy with blink-and-you-miss-it style sight gags that make this a rare treat for those who enjoy this type of comedy.
Paniponi Dash introduces us to Becky Miyamoto, a 10-year old child prodigy who is the product of a Japanese mother and an American father. She’s not only the youngest student ever to have graduated MIT but she’s also the youngest person ever to teach High school in Japan. Oh, and she just so happens to be late for her first day as a teacher, which has the students of Class 1-C wondering who is this kid and what exactly qualifies her to be a teacher in the first place. When she finally does arrive, she’s so intimidated by her class that she hides behind the curtains and thus making her the object of affection for some students (particularly one named Himeko) and the perfect target for manipulating for others … specifically the bitchy Rei and the nerdy Miyako.
Thus begins 26-episodes of a comedy that plays by its own rules without following the path of similar comedies like this one. Sure, there are episodes that feel familiar (hot springs episodes, anyone?) but even then Paniponi Dash adds its own brand of demented fun. While many of the stories featured in the set aren’t often related to each another, the central of attention if Becky and how her more vocal students see her and eventually come to accept the “little kid teacher.” Then there’s character, something the series handles with little depth because the students all seem to live up to their personality. The boring girl is called the boring girl and the nerdy girl is the calls nerd.
The rest of the series is made up of a series of jokes both visual and otherwise that involve space aliens spying on Becky because they think she’s downright adorable. Then there’s Mesousa, Becky’s talking rabbit that is the ongoing source of abuse from everyone including the weird Class President to a talking cat hiding inside a vending machine that might or might not be God. We also meet the students and faculty of the other classrooms that often interact with Becky’s classroom. There are always constant clashes between the members of the movie club and the drama geek named Akane. By far my favorite character is Behoimi who thinks she’s a Magical Girl for a good portion of the series until she wakes up to the fact that there’s nothing magical about her.
As I mentioned earlier, the stories don’t follow a linear path. There are very few times that characters would recall particular events, although there are reoccurring characters (Roboco) that keep showing up and some jokes that are played up until they get a wee bit tiresome. The good news is that the majority of the jokes are rapid-fire and funny. Most of the jokes even tip their hat to pop cultural icons (Super Mario Bros. and even Who Wants to be a Millionaire?) and even movies such as Planet of the Apes, James Bond flicks and even The Exorcist.
When it comes down to the original Japanese voice acting and the English dub, it’s good to see the English voice acting able to keep up with the more frantic dialogue as they get caught up in a field trip that goes bad, two rival classmates attempting to disarm a bomb in school or defending their school from a giant, a kenoichi (female ninja) and a half-man-half bull bully. There’s some light fan service that never gets out of hand and there are even episodes that are actually cute such as the time the girls of 1-C try to discover the identity of one of their classmate’s crush or why Ichijo, the quiet girl, is acting a lot more weirder than before.
The series does lose a bit of its charm in the final few episodes but not enough that it doesn’t lose its style of comedic timing. This, if anything, is one of the many reason we come to love Paniponi Dash and why you will too if you’re able to follow its fast pace.
Paniponi Dash, Complete Collection, is by far the best way to experience this hilarious and crazy comedy that is a rare series that delivers. While the series’ comedy style isn’t for everyone, you won’t be able to help but laugh at the many of the jokes that do manage to stand out among the outrageous activities that take place in this school. Trust me when I say that comedies this good don’t come along very often.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Becky Miyamoto has come to teach Class 1-C at Momotsuki Academy. The weird part is that Becky is only 10-years old and a graduate of MIT. Hilarity ensues when Becky realizes that her students aren’t normal and neither is her life filled with aliens, a depressed talking rabbit and a God who lives in a vending machine.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
The animation is filled with more sight gags than your average comedy anime and you’ll even have a hard time catching them all. There are some really funny American pop cultural references tossed in as well.
AUDIO QUALITY: B
The English dub is actually just as in-your-face funny as the original Japanese voice work. Some of the jokes are actually funny enough to make you laugh out loud thanks to the great delivery. The music is just Ok and the opening theme songs – especially “Kiiroi Bakansu” – is super cute.
Just about the only extras can be found on the fourth disc and it is made up of trailers. I do love the cute box set covers, though.
Absolutely crazy and completely entertaining, The Complete Collection of Paniponi Dash is a comedy anime series you will not forget anytime soon. Whether it’s the outrageous characters or the insanity that ensues in all 26 episodes, this is a series that will certainly appeal to those that like their comedy a bit on the wacky side.