Pani Poni (ぱにぽに?), also known as through its anime adaptation Pani Poni Dash! (ぱにぽにだっしゅ! Pani Poni Dasshu!?), is a Japanese manga series that uses parody, frequently referencing Japanese and American pop-culture in many ways. It features several first year students and their teachers in a school in Japan, though the main focus is on class 1-C.
Pani Poni first began as a manga series by Japanese mangaka Hekiru Hikawa which was first serialized in the Japanese manga magazine G Fantasy, published by Square Enix, in November 2000. Currently, there have been fourteen separate volumes released. Later, the series was adapted into a TV anime series which aired in Japan on TV Tokyo between July 3, 2005 and December 25, 2005 with its title renamed as Pani Poni Dash!. The anime is licensed by Funimation Entertainment in North America and has aired on the Funimation Channel. There have also been several drama CDs created based on the TV series and manga. A special OVA was released with a DVD box set containing the anime series on April 15, 2009 in Japan.
Each episode features numerous parodies and references to popular culture. Some examples include The Exorcist, Gundam, Super Mario Bros., Little Black Sambo and the Cthulhu Mythos. Japanese Internet culture, such as on the infamous Japanese message board 2ch, is another pillar of Pani Poni Dash!'s humor, with many references to Japanese emoticons. At some stages in the series a character's facial features will be replaced by these emoticons.
Each episode is almost entirely standalone and only loosely connected to the central plot. Most of the jokes in the series rely on satire, established character behavior, Japanese Internet and anime culture, or non sequitur comments and actions (especially by Ichijo). Another characteristic of Pani Poni Dash! is that the name of each episode is based on an adage or proverb that applies to the episode in some way. Much like other 26-episode anime, Pani Poni Dash! features different opening sequences, with both new art and new music, but unlike other shows, the endings are chosen at random, shuffling from episode to episode with different seiyū from the series singing the themes.
Pani Poni Dash!'s central storyline revolves around Rebecca Miyamoto, class 1-C's child prodigy homeroom teacher, and the antics of class 1-C. The characters attend a high school called the Peach Moon Academy (桃月学園 Momotsuki Gakuen?) where Rebecca has taken up a job as one of the teachers after being the youngest graduate at M.I.T. and is being watched by Aliens that are in space and screw up the story every now and then. Though the story never strays from the focus of the four first year classes labeled 1-A through 1-D, the mishaps that occur in them, the teacher's lounge, and on school trips also become sources of material for topical allusions regarding satire, anime, Internet, gaming, and popular culture.
Pani Poni was first serialized in the manga magazine G Fantasy published by Square Enix, in November 2000. Currently, thirteen volumes have been released in Japan. The translated versions of the manga are also released in Taiwan and South Korea, from Chingwin Publishing Group in Taipei and Haksan Culture Company in Seoul.
There are four spin-offs of original Pani Poni manga. Most of them features yonkoma style. TG Angel Gyaiko-chan (TG天使ジャイ子ちゃん TG Tenshi Jaiko-chan?) is currently serialized in Tech Gian (Enterbrain) from July 2001, and focuses on Hikaru Nikaido (class 1-A) as a heroine. Maro-Mayu (まろまゆ?) was serialized in Dengeki Moeoh between March 2002 and June 2008. It featured Kurumi Momose (1-C) as a heroine and illustrated her part-time job on a cafe. Rei Tachibana (1-C) also took part in some episodes as Rei from the Chinese Restaurant (中華屋のレイちゃん Chūkaya no Rei-chan?). Momo-Gumi!! (桃組っ!!?) was serialized in Ace Momogumi (Kadokawa Shoten) from June 2003 to December 2004, when the company discontinued the magazine. It described the fictional Japanese idol group named Momo-gumi!! that Yuna Kashiwagi (1-A) belongs to. The Alternative Cure Magical Girl Behoimi-chan (新感覚癒し系魔法少女ベホイミちゃん Shin Kankaku Iyashikei Mahō Shōjo Behoimi-chan?) is alternately serialized in G Fantasy with Pani Poni from August 2006. It shows how Behoimi (1-D) became a "real" magical girl, and fights against the invaders from other planets.
Pani Poni has also created ten drama CDs based on the series, the first of which was released in Japan on February 27, 2004. While the first seven preceded the anime, and thus were based on the manga version, the last three released have been based on the anime adaptation.
The Pani Poni Dash! anime aired in Japan between July 3, 2005 and December 25, 2005 and contained 26 episodes in total. The anime has since been licensed by United States based company Funimation Entertainment in North America (it was once licensed by ADV Films; however, through a fallout of ADV's license partner Sojitz/ARM Corporation, Pani Poni was transferred to Funimation), ADV Films in the United Kingdom, Banciao City based company Mighty Media in Taiwan, and Seoul based TVee.co.kr in South Korea. King Records subsidiary Starchild has the video and music rights for the anime. A special OVA was released with DVD box set containing the anime series, on April 15, 2009. Funimation released a complete DVD box set on March 10, 2009.
- Opening themes
- "Yellow Vacation" (黄色いバカンス Kiiroi bakansu?) by Peach Moon Academy Class 1-C (feat. Himeko in TV episodes 2-9, 14, DVD episodes 1-8, 25 and OVA; feat. Rei in TV episodes 11, 13, 16; feat. Kurumi in TV episode 17 and DVD episode 15; feat. Rokugō in TV episodes 19, 22)
- "Roulette☆Roulette " (ルーレット☆ルーレット Rūretto☆Rūretto?) by Peach Moon Academy Class 1-C (feat. Ichijo in TV episodes 10, 12, 15, 18 and DVD episodes 9-14, 16)
- "Shōjo Q" (少女Q Shōjo kyū?) by Peach Moon Academy Class 1-C (feat. Miyako in TV episodes 20-21, 23 and DVD episodes 17-23; feat. Rokugō in TV episode 24 and DVD episode 24)
- Ending themes
- "Girlppi" (ガールッピ Gāruppi?) by Peach Moon Academy Class 1-A&B (in TV and DVD episodes 1-7, 9-12)
- "Healing-type Magical Girl Behoimi" (癒し系魔法少女ベホイミ Iyashikei mahō shōjo behoimi?) by Behoimi (in TV and DVD episodes 8)
- "Faraway Dream" (遙かな夢 Haruka na yume?) by Rebecca Miyamoto (in TV and DVD episodes 13, 25)
- "Moonlight Love" (ムーンライト・ラブ Mūnraito rabu?) by Peach Moon Academy Class 1-D (in TV and DVD episodes 14-23 and OVA)
- "Snow, Moon, and Flower" (雪月花 Setsugekka?) by Rebecca Miyamoto (in TV and DVD episode 24)
- "Yellow Vacation" (黄色いバカンス Kiiroi bakansu?) by Peach Moon Academy Class 1-C (feat. Himeko in TV and DVD episode 26)
Internet radio shows
Pani Poni Dash has two internet radio shows titled The Alternative Curing Labo of Magical Girl Behoimi (魔法少女ベホイミの『新感覚☆癒し研究室』 Mahō Shōjo Behoimi no Shinkankaku Iyashi Kenkyūshitsu?) and Pani Radi Dash! (ぱにらじだっしゅ! Pani Raji Dasshu!?). The first one was aired from November 2005 to February 2006, while the latter one was aired from December 2005 to September 2006, both on Animate TV. The shows were hosted by Mai Kadowaki and Chiwa Saito who played Behoimi (1-D) and Rebecca "Becky" Miyamoto in the anime.
While the latter one was remixed as "DJCD"s, the first one has never released any CDs so that no one except those who recorded it when it was on-air can listen to it again any longer.
- Manga official website (Japanese)
- Anime official website (Japanese)
- Pani Poni Dash! anime at TV Tokyo (Japanese)
- Pani Poni Dash! anime at Funimation Entertainment
- Pani Poni (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopediait:Pani Poniru:Pani Poni Dash!