Punch Line (Anime) Review
Written by ononoki
I’ve come to expect a lot from studio MAPPA. A fairly young studio founded in 2011, MAPPA has already churned out a few very notable shows. This year, they’ve brought us the sci-fi comedy Punch Line, which could be one of the strangest shows you’ll see all year.
Yuuta Iridatsu is absentmindedly catching a bus, when it is taken over by hijackers. The day is saved by Strange Juice, a giant-straw-wielding superpowered girl, who almost takes out the hijackers with ease. Her daring rescue is foiled by the hijackers mysterious leader, who is then beaten by Yuuta when he spots a girls panties, awakening a power that seems to give him super strength. Yuuta then “dies”, his spirit leaves his body and comes back to his apartment building, where the spirit cat Chiranosuke guides him on the path to protecting his housemates, and eventually the world. But the path isn’t easy for Yuuta, who could bring about the worlds destruction if he sees too many panties.
Plot of Punch Line
Punch Line is full of corny, cheesy jokes and ecchi moments, panty shots and lewdness, and some of the most random plot points you’ll see this year. If you look for deep and meaningful aspects in a show, you will probably come out disappointed. However, this does not make Punch Line a bad show. Some shows strive for entertainment. They might be funny, nice to look at, and in some cases, sexual, and Punch Line combines all of these aspects into one solid, enjoyable package the whole way through. Straight away you know the show is all about the silly and sexy, so it doesn’t feel cheap to see stupid jokes and panty shots. Instead, it feels like the show hits its targets and stays true to its purpose.
Despite lacking in the “deep and meaningful”, Punch Line has a pretty imaginative plot, one that doesn’t really reveal its worth until at least halfway through the season. It’s hard to make sense of what’s happening in the first few episodes, since everything happening seems so random, but as the story progresses, it “deepens”. We see backstories interweaving in ways we couldn’t fathom at first, past and present tragedies, and the slow revealing of this shows very mysterious villain. The plots randomness begins to make sense towards the end of the show, with questions remaining unsolved until the very last moment, something that managed to keep my attention all the way through. The only problem with this is that the show may seem, quite simply, stupid to start off with, possibly losing watchers. This is unfortunate, as the quality of the plot really begins to manifest later in the season.
Plot Rating : 7.5/10
The Characters of Punch Line
The characters of Punch Line are where I think the show lacked a little. The stock standard characterisation is my main reason for thinking this. Rabura was one of the worst offenders, her “older single female who just can’t get a guy but loves a drink” archetype was present throughout the show, and she showed little development. Narugino was the typical beautiful airhead and Yuta was the typical well-meaning male. Ito and Meika seemed fairly original, although I’m sure someone out there will be able to prove me wrong
However, the characters interactions are still enjoyable despite their faults. I’d say this is due to the result of good writing, directing and voice acting coming together. And lets not forget the bright and bouncy character design and artwork, something that really catches the eye and fits the lighthearted feel of the show perfectly.
Characters Rating : 6/10
The Animation and Artwork of Punch Line
Animation and artwork is something that Punch Line consistently gets right. The first episode was spectacular, the bus fight scene in particular got me very interested. The next few episodes were good too, although there isn’t much chance for MAPPA to show off their animating ability until the next major fight scene, at the end of the season (which was done perfectly), but their prowess can be appreciated through constantly fluid character movements and lack of (or well hidden) CGI. The colour and character design was the art aspect that I appreciated the most, with lots of bright bouncy colours and well drawn pieces that suited the show perfectly. As well as this, MAPPA’s attention to detail and setting design was also superb
Animation and Artwork Rating : 8/10
Sounds and Music of Punch Line
Despite having one of my favourite OP’s this year, Punch Line’s music is a little hit and miss. From the first second, we are presented with a an energetic techno beat that grabs your attention and complements the beginning fight scene very well. But for the rest of the season, the music seems to take a backseat, while the artwork and dialogue makes up most of the entertainment. One song that will stay in your head though, is the Cheermancy song that Meika introduces us to in the second episode (pic related). I’m not sure who at MAPPA thought this song up, but its one of many “so bad its good” moments that make up the show
As ive said before, the voice acting in Punch Line was done quite well. As well as this, the sound effects were also very good, especially in the final battle. One thing I noticed though, and this wasnt the first time MAPPA has done this, was the terrible fake American voice acting later in the series. It dissapointed me in their show “Zankyou no Terror”, and it dissapointed me here too. Although I suppose you could say it made me laugh more than it made me dissapointed (come on MAPPA, can’t be that hard to fake some accents can it?)
Sound and Music Rating: 7/10
Punch Line is not for everyone, and its not without its flaws, but if you like imaginative plotlines, eye catching artwork and character design, cheesy jokes and ecchi moments (which should suit just about everyone) then Punch Line is for you. The show aims to be entertaining, and it goes above and beyond that almost every step of the way, and I hope MAPPA’s next work “Ushio to Tora” is just as entertaining.
Overall Rating : 7/10