Genre diversity is something that many fans have been clamoring about for quite some time. Toonami in its recent iteration has become shōnen heavy, and it has made the block seem repetitive. While I haven’t had much to complain about (due to shōnen being my favorite genre), I see what these fans are saying. I too can enjoy a break from the same adventure and wouldn’t mind if Toonami not only brought in action/drama series but non-action shows to help split things up and add some different content. I enjoyed how shows like Michiko and Hatchin get a chance to sprinkle their charm on the block. So why not look into other shows of a similar ilk to mix things up?

Toonami listened to the outcry with the addition of Pop Team Epic. It added the diversity fans have craved. It fits the bill of an anime that isn’t shōnen and isn’t centered around action. A comedy, which is something completely different, has joined the block, giving hope for other shows that aren’t action-centric to air in the future. I can’t say for sure if it has become the smash hit that many have hoped for, but I’m glad that Toonami was willing to experiment with something as crazy as Pop Team Epic. After watching the series (when it simulcasted), it leads me to think that maybe Toonami should have looked elsewhere.

I don’t dislike Pop Team Epic as a whole. I think the show just isn’t for me. I’m not a reference humor kind of person because too many references fly over my head. Unless they make it super obvious (a topic I know about), reference humor doesn’t give me the pure laughter reaction that I want from a comedy. It’s the same reason why shows like Family Guy, American Dad, and Robot Chicken aren’t my favorite type of comedy shows either. Since there isn’t any action to try and keep people as interested (if the jokes aren’t connecting), Pop Team Epic has to pray that their jokes are appreciated more often than not

That isn’t to say that this show doesn’t have its charms. I enjoy their original material much more than their reference jokes. I laugh when we see Popoku and Pipimi as their wacky selves, in the “are you upset” bit, the “Marilyn Monroe” segment, and the “Bob Epic Team” scenes. When Pop Team Epic allows itself to be creative and makes their own jokes, it’s funnier. When it comes to comedy, I’d rather shows do their own jokes instead of relying on funny real-life moments (that so many other people can just copy). You are banking on your audience knowing what you’re making fun of, and if they don’t, you begin to alienate the audience and potentially push others away.

I wonder if this was the right show to pick as the first non-action series to air on Adult Swim’s Toonami. While I appreciate the effort in considering it, I think there might have been better options. When it comes to non-shōnen, there are a plethora of series that fit on Toonami that I believe should be in their plans. I understand that Jason DeMarco, Gill Austin, and a host of others found the series really funny (which is a great checkmark to have). But I think it would be more of a hit on Adult Swim’s regular airwaves. While it might be unfair to say, Pop Team Epic doesn’t quite fit on the block. It has to do more with the flow of the lineup than the type of show it is.

With all the action in the lineup, adding Pop Team Epic into the mix feels like an abrupt halt to what fans were watching earlier. Fans are treated to Dragon Ball Super, My Hero Academia, and FLCL Progressive, and then in comes Pop Team Epic. It feels weird with what I’m used to seeing on Toonami. Now maybe that could be that because it’s the first non-action show to air on the block, and that I’m a little biased in my feelings. I think this show makes more sense sandwiched in between Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and The Eric Andre Show. Pop Team Epic likes to troll their audience, and it would have found a nice home surrounded by Adult Swim’s regular programming.

That is where I think the crux of the potential issue with Pop Team Epic becomes more apparent: forcing viewers to see the same episode TWICE. I thought it was clever, but I’m sure there are others who either don’t get the joke or just find it boring. Subtle differences and a change of cast might not be enough to keep people invested in the show. I find it wacky, fun, and creative and it’s best to just shut off your mind and go along for the ride. When I first saw this gag, I was completely surprised and wondered how other fans would feel about it. I’d put their reaction as mixed more than anything.

However, despite my misgivings about its placement, I do want Pop Team Epic to be a success on Toonami. Because if it isn’t, then Toonami might stop their search for non-action shows. I know DeMarco has stated that more are on the way, but that could be nixed if the overall reaction isn’t universally positive. Comedy can be a tricky thing to connect with the diverse audience that Toonami seems to grab. Not everything in a comedy will be seen as funny and if the jokes aren’t connecting, then the show will falter. I just look forward to the original jokes to keep my interest up.

What’s nice is that there are some Toonami fans who are now fans of Pop Team Epic, thanks in large part to its Toonami run. In fact, some fans I’ve talked to didn’t like the show at first, then decided to stick with it, and now enjoy the show. And I’m sure there are more fans who feel similarly. That makes me happy, knowing that there are some who are loving a show that is as crazy as Pop Team Epic. I might disagree on whether it fits, but I applaud the attempt to diversify the block. Maybe I’m not in on the joke, but I hope that I’m in the minority and that many fans are debating about chicken or beef for dinner.

C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for and no, he’s not upset. Feel free to follow C.J on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris