This is not the first sketch comedy I’ve seen to revel in the absurd and throw around pop culture references in basically every scene. That’s not actually super uncommon, and I feel like I’m pretty familiar with the essence of Pop Team Epic. I’ve read a bit of the manga, and it wasn’t a completely new experience to me. It’s also not as cryptic as something like Cat Soup. It’s an absurd sketch comedy, but it’s not super hard to follow for the most part.
HOWEVER, what Pop Team Epic does that sets it apart from other shows, and I mean the anime version in particular because it’s not as structurally restricted as a 4-koma manga, is that it commits fully to chaos. In the first episode, there is no OP for the show itself, just an OP for a show within a show (the next-episode previews are also for this show within a show) that is not relevant to anything else, the art style changes for certain scenes – as does the background art style, there’s live-action footage, and at the halfway point of the duration of the episode, it starts from the beginning, but with different voice actors. Nothing is sacred or constant. Except for the ED, which has a cutesy song and shows the characters being, well, normal. But I bet that won’t last either. The ED will either change, or be disrupted, or be reversed, or something like that, sooner rather than later. As I said, nothing is sacred.
Verdict: Nothing is sacred.
Ah, I’m so glad to get to watch more Sakura so soon after I finished the original series. A lot has changed in 20 years. The voices sound different, even though the voice actors are all the same (as far as I can tell at least), and shift to digital art means that the art looks very different too. But, most importantly to me, the character designs and their facial expressions were kept as close to the original series as possible, and so this really does feel like just a continuation of Cardcaptor Sakura.
Story-wise it’s also very close to the original series. Something happens to Sakura’s cards, and she has to collect/transform them again. Which fits so well with how the original worked that it’s really just another arc. And I like that. It’s not trying to do any or many new things, it’s just continuing to capitalise on the strengths of the original. The OP and ED are also really good, and they likewise fit the show and live up to the legacy of the original.
Verdict: It’s just more Cardcaptor Sakura, but that’s great news. Definitely continuing.