Pom Poko: Review(ish) of a Fucked Up Animovie

The Geek Squad

I’ve recently been welcomed into the geek fold at work. They don’t know it (yet), but I refer to them as the Geek Squad (shut up, BestBuy, this isn’t about you). I’ve always known they were geeks – I mean, come on. Boys are usually pretty obvious about such things. But they (well, most of them) didn’t know it about me.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had to work closely with a couple of them on a new project. The geekiness seeped out, and I found my people. Half a dozen or so dudes who say “fuck” a lot, trade anime and books and play video games together. Some of them are married, while others still live at home. I’m totally picturing a basement full of gadgets, anime and porn, maybe a D&D table, with mom or grandma scornfully delivering PB&J, laundry and classifieds every few hours.

Anatomy of a (Stephanie) Geek

For the record, I’m only about half-geek. Something like: Half anime/comics/gamer geek. Three-quarters introverted, dark corner dwelling book nerd. Four-fifths anti-establishment, pot-smoking smartass. (Just trust my math on this, okay? I’m smart.) Some of the guys are more overtly geeky, while some of them look like total heads but talk a very geeky game.

Herman the Hipster Slings Porn in the Parking Lot

A week or so ago, Herman the Hipster (seriously, no idea that one was a geek) received a boon. One of his recently married friends was ordered by his not-so-geeky wife to get rid of his anime collection. My argument, upon hearing this, was how in the fuck did she not know she was marrying a geek? Didn’t she know what she was getting? Didn’t he take her for a test drive in his replica batmobile? And how in the fuck did he not know he was marrying a controlling bitch? If he’s as geeky as his (formerly) outlandishly massive collection of anime indicates, then he was probably grateful to be getting any booty at all. (I somehow doubt he’ll remain grateful for long.)

So that was how Herman the Hipster happened upon three trunkfuls of anime. And I don’t mean a pocket-sized Prius trunk. I mean the back of a Toyota Forerunner. We’re talking individual films, box sets of entire anime seasons, leather-bound collector’s editions of super rare ones, and one super secret super pervy porny hentai box set at the bottom of a big bin.

Herman the Hipster decided to sell off his friend’s (former) collection at cut rates to any interested coworkers, then sell the rest on ebay at the going prices. So cigarillo-smoking, assumed-to-be-pothead Pookie informed me of the deals goin’ down in the parking lot. (Doesn’t everyone know a Pothead Pookie? This is at least the second one I’ve known.)

Apparently, like three of the lonelier geeks got into a serious bid-war for the hentai box set. I suppose they found the artwork enticing: picture a naked anime chick with a rack the size of the wheels on a monster truck. She’s floating in space – hovering, I imagine, directly over the bed of a sexually frustrated geekboy – covered in what I can only hope is icing. All of the icing in the world, after the cupcake factory exploded. On her tits.

Pookie Prophesies in the Parking Lot

But that all happened once I was out of the way…they couldn’t exactly let the chick see them locked in a bid-war for porntoons. While I was out there with Herman the Hipster, Pookie the Pothead and Manbun Merv, Herman shows us the ones he’s set aside for himself. One of which was Pom Poko.

Heisei.Tanuki.Gassen.Pom.Poko.full.69629
Looks like a harmless little anime, doesn’t it? Looks can be deceiving, my friends.
Pookie looked to be in the throes of traumatic flashbacks.

Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: Dude, what the fuck are you keeping that for? Burn it!
Herman the Hipster: What? It sounds cute. I’m gonna show it to my daughter.

Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: What the fuck is the matter with you?! You can’t show that to your kid!
Herman the Hipster: Haha what? Why not?

Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: Dude. You show that shit to your kid, and she’ll be traumatized for life. I’m telling you. It’s about these…these…these fucking fucked up fucking squirrels, man!

Manbun Merv: *chuckles* What’s wrong with squirrels?

Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: OH MY GOD. DO NOT SHOW THIS SHIT TO YOUR KIDS. It’s…it’s about these squirrels, man…

Stephanie the Smartass She-Geek: Those look like raccoons to me, Pookie.
Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: Oh my god, woman! That’s not the point! These fucked up little animals..they try to save their homeland, right? And they use their motherfucking nutsacks to do it!

Everyone dissolves into laughter. Pretty sure I snorted and doubled over.

Stephanie the She-Geek: That sounds like the best thing ever!
Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: That’s because you don’t understand! Herman, you can not show this shit to your kid. I’m telling you, they use their nutsacks to fight the humans.

At this point, we all take turns quizzing him about the nature of these nutsacks. We’re all under the impression that he means…like a sack of nuts. Peanuts or something that they’ve gathered. Cuz Pookie keeps referring to them as squirrels.

Stephanie the She-Geek: But it’s Studio Ghibli!
Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: It’s Studio FUCKED UP is what it is!
Stephanie the She-Geek: You’re just being a perv!
Manbun Merv: Pookie man, that’s kinda fucked up.

Herman the Hipster: Okay, okay, how about this. Stephanie, you take it home and watch it. Then bring it back to me and let me know if you think Pookie is just retarded. I really think my kids would like it.

Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: I see how y’all are, man. Fine! That’s fine! All I can say is good luck, Stephanie. You’re gonna regret watching that fucked up shit.

Stephanie Regrets Watching that Fucked Up Shit

Dudes, Pookie was totally right. I was absolutely convinced that he was reading into it with a dirty mind. I do it, too. I mean, hell, a bunch of animals using their sacks of nuts to fight? I’d have had dirty thoughts about it, too. So I was totally convinced that Pookie was just being a perv, and the movie would be completely innocent.

But Pookie was right. Those little raccoons. They weren’t using sacks of peanuts. They were using their fucking testicles!

The basic premise of the movie is that humans have encroached upon the raccoons’ territory, to the point where they’re running out of places to live. So the raccoons devise a scheme to push the humans back and make them stop development. A pretty common theme for kid flicks. But these raccoons’ scheme involved teaching the youth the ancient skill of shape-shifting.

That’s right. And do you know one of the things that the little male raccoons liked to shapeshift?

Their nutsacks.

Pom Poko Nads
Just look at their little nuts! All up in your face!
Umbrellas, parachutes, carpets. Or murdering humans by stretching their nuts out over big chasms then pulling back when a vehicle drives upon it. I shit you not, y’all. Take a look:

pompoko

pompoko2

pompoko 8

Pookie was right. I couldn’t even finish it. Not because of the nuts. That was super fucking bizarre and funny in a fucked up kinda way. But because it was boring. I just couldn’t get into the story at all.

I returned the DVD to Herman with a sticky that said, “2 out of 2 geeks agree: do NOT show this to your kids!” Unless he wants his daughter asking Santa for a pair of nuts so she can fight the man, too!

I did some digging afterward, wondering what was up with these testicularly gifted critters and found out that they’re modeled after the Tanuki: a Japanese raccoon-dog of lore, with pendulous nads and shape-shifting abilities.

tanuki

I love learning about different cultures, but this was quite a surprise. I believe I could have gone my whole life without knowing about the…gifted tanuki.

So uhm. Yeah. Note to self: Listen to Pookie.

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