Panda! Go Panda!

Pioneer

75 minutes
English/Japanese
English Subtitles
07/25/2000

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You know, no matter what anyone else tells me I simply refuse to refer to Pioneer as "Geneon" now. I'm sure whatever bigwig CEO they've got over there in Japan thinks that a name change after 20+ years in the business is a great idea, as is throwing away all that fucking TWO DECADES WORTH OF NAME RECOGNITION you've got. Mister Hirobuno Mistuhama, I'm talking to you. Above and beyond all this is the fact that Geneon, a combination of "Generation" and "Eon" (Facts might be wrong, but the point is still one hundred percent correct) is a really stupid name anyway. It's hard to say, it's hard to read, it even pains me to -think- about it. So yes, I hate Geneon.

But I did so love Pioneer. Pioneer was the good company, you know, the one that released anime at only three episodes a DVD when everyone else was migrating to five, six or even NINE. Yes, we've had some good times together, sloppily dubbed Tenchi opening themes and what-have-you. These guys were like the friend you always wanted, the one who would gladly take you in on a cold stormy night, as long as you didn't mind paying above market value for it.

 

But who am I to tell them what kind of episode counts they should put on their DVDs? Invoking the Pioneer name was like invoking the great Japanese spirit of quality, and such is the case with the wonderful two episode show of Panda Go Panda! they've blessed us with, Hayao Miyazaki's greatest work in my most humble opinion.

Now, I know a lot of people aren't going to agree with me like that, citing titles like Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Porco Rosso, among others. I would submit that one should just look at what Panda Go Panda! has going for it. First off, it's from the 70s, which is like being from the 80s but better when anime is concerned. Also, for being such an old piece, the animation is really spectacular. Second, it's about a little girl and freaking PANDAS. For the longest time, I thought panda bears were carnivores, but I also thought they weighed fifteen pounds and swung around in trees. When I found out that they were more like six hundred pounds I was noticably worried for about a month and a half, and went about developing panda contingency plans just in case one were to attack me. Because listen, if a six hundred pound Chinese bear wants to eat me, I don't think I'd be able to stop it.

 

This is where Panda Go Panda! really comes through to the more mature viewer. It might be a show made by and for kids (not really BY kids, but I just like that phrase, it reminds me of Fruit Loops, which I don't think are made by kids either. Well, maybe Indonesian kids) but it's got a valuble lesson to teach even the most war hardened adult, pandas don't eat people, they eat bamboo. They also eat curried rice, but I think that's more of a circumstantial thing. If there was a plate of the stuff in front of me, I might be tempted to chow down and -I-, certainly, am not a panda.

A thousand blessings for Panda Go Panda! for showing me just how misguided I really was, but I think I might have to dock it a little anyway. See, it's totally unrealistic. I'm not talking about the talking pandas, or the talking tigers, or the "lions who might talk but didn't really get enough screen time to do it in". And it's not the fact that somehow the dad panda becomes the girl's father, and the girl becomes the baby panda's mother, which is the most screwed up family dynamic I've ever experienced. The problem is that the young girl, Mimiko, is left totally alone at the beginning of this show by her grandmother. Seems her grandmother has to go to the funeral of Mimiko's grandfather, or something along those lines.

 

This makes no sense to me. Wouldn't they be living in the same place? I don't know, maybe Japan of the 1970s was a bit more strict on marital relations. Tha'ts not the problem though, the problem is that Mimiko is five years old, five! And she's expected to fend for herself. But what's more, she does it! And well I might add! You know, when I was five the only thing I cared about was The Hobbit. I might've seen it a hundred times, the tape might've been worn to the bone, but you could bet money that on any given day and time I would have the desire in my bones to see what Bilbo Baggins was up to. I -certainly- did not know how to shop, cook and clean all by myself. Hell, I barely know how to do some of those things -now-. This girl Mimiko is a genius, and while watching I really started to get pissed at how self-reliant she is. Of course, I don't go around flashing my panties to everyone in sight either (which is just a -bit- too often for my tastes, especially in a children's show), so I guess the score is tied at Mimiko 1, Dave 1. In the end though, it's not about who won...but that it was Pioneer that released this show, not the ridiculously titled Geneon. That makes all the difference.

But next time, seriously, less panties.