RightStuf has (or at least had, while the company existed) a history of running huge sales on Geneon DVDs, which usually don’t get discounted much. One of my friends and I have a history, during these sales, of picking up one or more completely random TV series that we’ve never heard of. My batting average has been pretty good—I’ve come up with The Daichis (very funny), Habane Renmei (fantastic), and Rumiko Takahashi Anthology/Mermaid Forest TV (not bad). He was doing even better—Dokkoida?! and Daphne in the Brilliant Blue.
Until he got Popotan.
Not that the box gives you much hope, but this series is completely horrifying. We’ve been watching an episode now and then (how could anybody stomach more than that?) out of a sort of masochistic duty, mostly urged on by me in an effort to see exactly how bad it’s going to get so I can write a sufficiently scathing review without leaving anything to chance (I hate to review TV series without watching all the way through if at all possible).
The plot follows a trio of three fanservice-embodiments and their maid as their Christmas-themed mansion appears somewhere, they spend some time talking to flowers, and then disappear only to reappear elsewhere (skipping a few years in the poof, we later learn), or occasionally the same place. Why? Who the hell knows, and finding out—so I can tell people that might be inclined to care—is the other half of what’s keeping me watching.
Between characters so annoying and plots so insipid I actually have a physically unpleasant reaction to them and the rampant borderline-pedophilia (seriously, as far as I can tell that’s the target market), it’s somewhere between worst-fanservice-ever and outright disgusting.
What’s really weird, and the reason I wanted to be sure to watch all the way through, is that there are a couple of interesting episodes centering on the middle sister (who’s the least stereotyped, which isn’t saying much) and her attempts to fit in with kids her apparent age. Once she gets stuck during one of the gaps (and she doesn’t age, though pretends otherwise), and once she comes back to a place she’d disappeared from years ago, and what’s weird is that these episodes that would actually border on dramatically effective… if they weren’t flanked by raging stupidity and laced with hammer-to-the-head fanservice.
I don’t know what to make of this, since the rest of the plots are apparently targeted at six-year-old girls (I don’t even want to think about what that implies), but it makes the series as a whole hurt all the more.
Anyway, in summary, for the love of all that is holy, do not watch Popotan. If you have masochistic tendencies, whatever might make you think you want to should be ignored completely. Please, don’t make me lose the last shred of faith in humanity that I have.