|Reviews & Columns|
TV on DVD
Reviews by Studio
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
The M.O.D. Squad
DVD Talk Forum
DVD Price Search|
Customer Service #'s
Popotan: Complete Collection
While it used to be under the Geneon brand, Popotan has been picked up by Sentai Filmworks for redistribution. It's been a couple of years since the show has seen the light of day, so anyone who missed it the first time around can grab this collection with all 12 episodes on two DVDs. Is it really worth checking out though? The short answer to that question is yes, but there is some slight reservations about that recommendation.
Popotan was originally an adult PC game with sex scenes and plenty of naughty bits prominently featured. We've seen shows with origins like this before and they almost always lead to gratuitous amounts of fan-service. This show is no different. In so many ways this anime embraces its hentai roots. Ok, yes, there is no hardcore sex. However, with plenty of nudity mixed in with irreverent plotlines, quirky horny characters, and outlandish situations it's safe to say that Popotan is indeed cut from a different cloth and something meant for a more adult audience. In other words, don't let the cutesy appearance fool you!
The entirety of the series revolves around a quaint house with a Christmas tree atop of its ornately decorated roof. This Christmas cottage is the home of three sisters and their maid, but there's more to it than that. This residence and its inhabitants have the ability to travel through time and to various locations. They do so at will, seeking a flower known as Popotan, which is a play on the Japanese word for dandelion. Along the way they assist people and discover who they are. The occasional boob pops out now and then in case you didn't already figure that out.
The four girls who star as the main cast are quite eclectic to say the least. From oldest to youngest they are Ai, Mai, and Mii, with their maid, Mea, bringing up the rear (again, I'm sure you can figure out there's plenty of bums too). Each of these characters brings something unique to the table and there's no doubt you'll find a favorite early on. There is a great amount of development throughout the show for each of the ladies. During its run Popotan sets some episodes away for each of its characters to grow in, and I must say that the focus is pleasantly balanced.
When the show begins we meet a young man named Daichi who is making his way to the Christmas manor to get some pictures of the ghosts living there. The popular rumor going around the school is that this place happens to be haunted. Almost immediately upon checking out the house Daichi stumbles upon a startled a recently bathed Ai who, in good fan-service nature, drops her towel. All manner of hell breaks loose after that incident but the girls help him with fabricating ghostly images to convince his friends. That's what the Popotan girls do; they help people.
The next episode drops the girls off in a new town where they go around looking for more Popotan flowers. The second episode focused on Mai's character and the revelation that she's sick of constantly traveling and making new friends.
The show goes on to develop Mii (the youngest) as the haphazard personality you'd expect her to be. Her youth and energy make her an annoying character at first, but fortunately Popotan skirts this and she actually becomes endearing before long. We learn of her desire to be a Magical Girl in the third episode as she helps a kid out in a hospital. In the fourth episode Mea takes the center stage and gets her own development time as the abandoned house leaves her alone with a mysterious girl.
If you can't tell by now Popotan is a very episodic show. In each episode the girls (and magical traveling house) go from one place and time to another. The story gets kind of annoying after a while and though development of its characters is nice throughout, you're not going to see many recurring secondary characters or continuity. The only theme that runs from start to finish is the determination each girl feels to seek out flowers and help people in the process.
We do learn why the Popotan flower is so important after a while, but the revelation was nothing short of average. I suppose the point of this show isn't necessarily about the destination, but the journey instead. In that regard there are many funny and touching moments found within these twelve episodes. Unfortunately the pacing suffers due to the episodic nature and things really drag at times.
If you're looking for a unique series with some interesting characters and a sense of style that is off the beaten path Popotan is worth checking out. It's not that strong of a recommendation though, and in all honesty most people could get by with a rental. This is really only a purchase for lovers of fan-service who want some episodic eye-candy.
Popotan aired during the 2003 season in Japan and Sentai Filmworks has seemingly taken the original Geneon transfer and reproduced it here. The show is presented with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio. The picture is vibrant and clean throughout with very little grain and compression to muck things up. The show does maintain a somewhat muted look, if that's possible. Edges appear to be on the softer side, but that seems to be a desired effect by the production company. There's also a bit of interlacing that is fairly noticeable as well. Overall Popotan is a nice looking show with just a few flaws.
Sentai Filmworks has retained the rights to the dub for this show. The back of the DVD case lists Japanese 2.0 as its only audio source, though an English 2.0 is available as well. This isn't the kind of show that needs 5.1 surround sound, so the 2.0 works out just fine and it's free of flaws. As far as the dubs are concerned, both do a decent job with the material and I didn't have a preference of one over the other.
Some clean animations and trailers are all you're going to find for bonus features here.
If fan-service is your thing, then you're absolutely going to love Popotan. To be fair the show has a lot of charm regardless of the exposure of female body parts. It's just a shame that the package as a whole isn't a hit out of the park. The brand of humor is entertaining, the show is lively, and the characters are a joy to get to know. Unfortunately there are pacing issues and the episodic content doesn't quite draw you in as one might expect. Still, this show is lightly recommended due to its uniqueness and fan-service laden Christmas theme.