Of Vampires, Ghosts, and Alien Vacuum Cleaners that Eat Devils
Children’s entertainment tends to be considerably more disturbing and frightening than the stuff aimed at adults and older kids. While we adults get stuff with violence, sex, drugs, and other real world “horrors,” the stuff that little kids get can’t depend on blunt, blatant tactics like that. Because of those limitations, when a kid’s show tries to be a little “out there,” it has to depend on different angles to freak out little kids.
Case in point is the recent CG anime short series Hipira-kun.
Hipira reminds me of the short cartoons that would air on Nickelodeon during the morning when I was a kid. Back in the 80’s, before Nick was a big name and had all sorts of original programming, they depended on licensing programming from other countries. They had Sesame Street like programming blocks that would mix together all sorts of little animated shorts and the like, and Hipira has the same sort of “foreign for a US kid” vibe.
Like Hipira-kun, all of these shorts were fairly cute and seemingly innocent. But at the same time they tended to have some degree of twistedness or nastiness lurking in the background. With Hipira we see a little kid vampire going around getting into trouble. It’s largely innocent and harmless at first glance. Hipira messes up a scientist’s experiments. Hipira skips class to sleep. Hipira gets lost in the forest while fishing. It’s the details that make things a little sinister. The experiment Hipira messes up is a machine that merges human souls together. To skip class, Hipira paints blood on the head of a ghost to make it look like he’s sitting in his chair. When he gets lost, he gets eaten by a frog who has gotten huge because he allowed massive amounts of water to go up his ass and fill up his belly.
No, I’m not exaggerating with that last one. You see the water spray out of his ass at the end of the episode, thus deflating him.
While the cartoons that I saw on Nickelodeon weren’t that fucked up, it’s the spirit of the matter that counts. It’s similar to Pee Wee’s Playhouse, another kid’s TV show that I grew up with. Pee Wee started off as an adult comedy act that satirized mischievous kids and their behavior. When it became a Saturday morning series they had to “tone down” a lot of the stuff. In doing so they made everything go far enough over kids’ heads that they wouldn’t know what’s up, but as an adult you know exactly what’s going on. A little kid isn’t going to think much of that frog or the absurd amounts of gore in Hipira-kun. He’ll just laugh because it’s silly bathroom humor. At the same time, when a kid looks at the wall from which Pee Wee’s bicycle shoots out, he’s just going to see a bunch of silly pictures. They won’t get that there’s a picture of J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, figurehead of the Church of SubGenius, plastered on that wall in plain view.
I think I owe it to cartoons like Hipira-kun for making me the screwed up person I am today.
Also: Soul-kun, Hipira’s sidekick that was formed from the above screwed-up soul machine project, is totally the sperm that’s in half of Urbangarde’s videos. I should totally do an actual post about them someday. Found their videos on YouTube last year and really dug them. And considering they have a Cupie doll in their videos, and Hipira has a curly hairdo like one, I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
It’s a conspiracy.
Also Also: Totally forgot to talk about the Devil-Eating Vacuum Cleaner. The latest subbed episode of Hipira-kun involves a meteorite that crashes into the vampire city. A tree grows out of the meteorite. On the tree are a bunch of bulbs that grow into baby devils. The devils go on a rampage and threaten to destroy vampire civilization. Then a giant sentient vacuum cleaner with teeth descends from the heavens and sucks up all of the baby vampires, thus devouring them to save the world.
That is the sort of thing kids need to see. A real formative experience.