Judge Brendan Babish took an animated adventure all over the world with Puffy AmiYumi. Now, he really wants to go home.
Hop on the tour bus and jam with Puffy AmiYumi, Japan's biggest pop group, as they take animated adventures all over the world.
Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Let's Go! is a collection of 12 five-minute "adventures" compiled from four episodes of the Cartoon Network show. Those included on this set include:
Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi is a cartoon documenting the wacky adventures of Ami and Yumi, two plucky Japanese girls who just can't seem to stay out of trouble. Together they are Puffy AmiYumi, a pop duo that, in the cartoon, is wildly popular in America. In reality Ami and Yumi really are Puffy AmiYumi, yet they don't seem to have made much traction in America yet.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am something of a Puffy fan. While I am extremely hesitant to admit this in print, I have actually seen them in concert. In the fall of 2005, Puffy AmiYumi toured the east coast and I went to their show in Philadelphia. Half the audience was 20-something hipsters who, while sipping beer and smirking, worked hard to affect a cool detachment, as if they were only enjoying the show ironically. The other half was 12-year-old girls, accompanied by their parental minders. These girls screamed like Puffy was the Beatles and that small club was the Ed Sullivan Show. I have to admit, those girls do put on quite a show. Their hair was big, their clothes were loud, and they danced like they had no sense of self and were high on Jolt Cola (which is a compliment). Also, the tunes were surprisingly catchy.
You can imagine my disappointment then when I put on Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and didn't recognize who these two girls in the cartoon were. Their names were Ami and Yumi, but they had almost nothing in common with the real life Puffy. These girls don't have the cute Japanese accent, don't have eccentric wardrobes, and they don't even look Asian. It really is almost as if this cartoon was meant to depict the misadventures of two teenage American pop stars, and at the last minute they decided to slap on the name Puffy AmiYumi. There is almost no correlation between reality and the cartoon (with the exception of Kaz, Puffy's cartoon manager, who does like strikingly similar to Puffy's real life manager). And, just to be clear, these cartoon Ami and Yumi are nowhere near as fun or wacky as their flesh and blood doppelgangers (hmm, isn't that usually the other way around?).
Watching Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi brought back memories of my childhood, when the cartoon version of Ghostbusters began to air weekday mornings. This cartoon came out a few years after the wildly successful Ghostbusters movie, yet didn't feature Drs. Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, or Egon Spengler. Instead, this cartoon featured two dudes (neither of whom had Ph.Ds) and an ape. The show was just a weak facsimile of the real Ghostbusters (who would later get their own show entitled, natch, The Real Ghostbusters). Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi may feature characters named Ami and Yumi, but these aren't the real Ami and Yumi. Let's hope in the not too distant future the Cartoon Network wises up and starts producing a new show called The Real Puffy AmiYumi. Now that I would watch. In the meantime, I'll stick to my Space Ghost, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and all that great Adult Swim programming.
The only good thing I can say about this cartoon is that there is nothing remotely objectionable or untoward in the show's content. Parents, you can put on the Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi DVD and walk away secure that there won't be any inappropriate sexual innuendos or remotely lifelike violence. This is important to know, because—trust me on this—you are going to want to walk away.
One other small saving grace on the DVD is the Totally Trivial Trivia Track on the "Dance A Go-Go" Episode. This is an option where you can watch the episode with a Pop-Up Video-like commentary. In most cases the tidbits are, indeed, truly trivial, but there are the occasionally mildly interesting ("The biggest recorded line dance in the world was in Hong Kong with 12,168 dancers") or humorous ("In general rock stars do not like waiting in line") tidbits as well. Unfortunately this option is only available on the "Dance A Go-Go" Episode. If it were available on all episodes, I might have upgraded my verdict from "Ugh, God" to just "Ugh."
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