Help an adult "get" the anime references in Kappa Mikey
December 3, 2007 11:26 AM   Subscribe

What are the various anime/animation styles being represented by the characters in the show Kappa Mikey?

I've started watching Kappa Mikey with my 11-year old niece recently. I like its over-the-top mocking of anime, but I don't know enough about anime styles to correctly tell my niece which programs are being mocked. Please look at the character pages here and help me? For instance, it's obvious that the little purple thing is a Pokemon-type character, and I think the blonde is a Sailor Moon-type character -- but those are the only two I can even guess at.

Also, what's the deal with the red cross thing, as seen in the "angry" picture of Ozu at the same link? I know from Wikipedia that it's a "face fault", but I can't tell what it's supposed to represent.
posted by parilous to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
I would guess that the red cross thing is the "Pulsating crossed forehead veins: Indicates anger, rage or irritation" from your wiki link.
posted by sluggo at 11:38 AM on December 3, 2007

Gonard seems to be a spoof of various versions of Goku from Dragon Ball. Here's a list of regular and minor characters - some mention who's being spoofed.
posted by iconomy at 11:44 AM on December 3, 2007

The Kappa Mikey character looks like an interpretation of the fat outline Cartoon Network style (think PowerPuff Girls, Two Stupid Dogs, Fairly Odd Parents) that became popular in the 90's with Hanna Barbara-influenced CalArts animators like Genndy Tartakovsky.
BTW, thanks for that facefault link, interesting stuff!
posted by maryh at 11:49 AM on December 3, 2007

The way the two businessmen are drawn is a pretty common style for comedic anime/manga, but in general when they're drawn all small-like, it's called "chibi/super deformed". The main male character kinda looks like a mix of Speed Racer and Astro Boy.
posted by lhall at 12:34 PM on December 3, 2007

Best answer: Oh Jesus, I spent way too much time on this.

Well there seems to be a whole mess of amalgamation going on so it's hard to pinpoint any one thing. The show just seems to be a satire/take on anime and Japanese cultural phenomenon. Like the show Kappa Mikey stars in is like a masked team of earth defenders/group of teens defending the earth genre. Like Flashman or Ultraman or giant robot transforming cartoons like Voltron or even Gatchaman.

Lily and Mitsuki seem like they're just drawn too look like generic anime girls. Not even any distinctive styles (and yes, there are difference between artists), but that general "How to Draw Anime" type of style.

However, Lily's got the stereotypical Japanese high schoolgirl outfit. She's wearing a sailor fuku schoolgirl looking outfit and I believe she's also wearing loose socks, and maybe, MAYBE, she's got blonde hair to evoke the trend of tanning and dying your hair blonde that is/was real popular with some schoolgirls (the extreme being ganguro girl/gyaru style).

Also could be an homage to Sailormoon type transforming high school girls genre (see also Wedding Peach). Her characterization as being super popular and a diva could maybe possibly be a shoutout to idoru singers. A real person phenomenon, but there's also a tradition of girl characters who lead double lives as really popular singer/actress while also doing stuff like saving the world whenever possible. From Lin Minmay to even video game characters like Athena from King of Fighters/Psycho Soldier. But that one might be a stretch. She might also be a stand in for the tough spunky, mildly tomboy, sometimes mean/rude-but-she'll-show-her-soft-moments-because-many-times she's- hiding-a-crush-for-the-lead-guy, "sporty" girl character thing (I don't know, there's too many, but like Lina Inverse or Amelia from Slayers or Asuka from Evangelion).

Mitsuki's sportin' the stereotypical anime crazy hair color. She also seems to be that mature anime girl who is quiet and calm. Usually because they generally are super nice and are kind of a mothering type character. Like say the super nice homey type who makes people bento lunches or is raising her younger siblings on her own and is sort of the nice foil to the spunky crazy girl vying for the boy's affection but she's too shy to do or say anything in the usual "harem of girls for one guy" anime like say, Tenchi Muyo. In fact, just look at all the girls in Tenchi Muyo and it's like the encyclopedia of "stereotypical anime girl characters."

Gonard does seem to be a Dragonball satire type character, even to the way he's drawn he looks a lot like an Akira Toriyama character. Though maybe the two girls also seem a bit Toriyama-esque when I look at them a bit longer.

Guano's not only the creature/monster type from Pokemon or Digimon or what have you, but he also seems to be a play on "magical animal familiar/companions." Like Mokona (watch video here) from Rayearth or Luna from Sailormoon, or the Slimes from Dragonquest (cartoon and games).

...I need to stop here and ignore anything else already mentioned because I already spent too much time on this and I'm going to quit while I'm ahead.
posted by kkokkodalk at 1:17 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Dammit!! This is what I get for crafting a too involved answer at work. I just realized I accidentally linked to a video of Mokona not from Rayearth, but the Mokona from a different cartoon/comic in the Clamp universe (They look the same, just in a different series. I'm not going to go into explaining what Clamp is, I'm just going to direct you here. Now here's the video I meant to link to. The song in the video just goes "pu pu pu pu" because that's how the Mokona in Rayearth talks.

Also I meant to point out, but ended up leaving out that while Slimes are monsters in the Dragon Quest game, in the anime series Dragon Quest: Abel Yuusha(incidentally, with character design by Akira Toriyama), the main character Abel carries around a pet blue slime.

I'm walking away for serious now.
posted by kkokkodalk at 5:15 PM on December 3, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, all, for your answers -- they were very helpful. kkokkodalk, here's hoping you find an outlet for all that anime knowledge! ;-)
posted by parilous at 7:54 AM on December 4, 2007

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