Bee and PuppyCat Captures the Wonderful Weird Side of Anime

Cartoon Hangover show worth full series pickup

Growing up in South America, one inevitably gets exposed to a wide arrange of anime both new and old since it seems to be (or seemed to be at the time) the only sort of kid-friendly programming the public access channels really could afford to buy the rights to. Of course "sort of kid-friendly" is the operative phrase here as many anime storylines are actually extraordinarily complex—even if they are over the heads of many younger audiences.

When it aired during my childhood, Cardcaptor Sakura in its unedited form seemed, at least to me, to be a fun show about a girl with magical powers. When I re-watched it over the summer, a lot of the subtle complexities in the relationships between different characters came to light. Stuff I hadn't really noticed at age eight.

But the point is, any good anime has an element of oddness that can be very alienating or come across as illogical. That often makes it hard to maintain suspension of disbelief in the first one or two episodes of these types of shows. But anime's audiences eventually accepts and support these anime shows once they are able to contextualize their odder elements. The short and new, but increasingly popular YouTube video series pilot Bee and PuppyCat, from the Cartoon Hangover channel, captures this journey beautifully.

Admittedly, the first few minutes of Bee and PuppyCat feels more like an even more exaggerated and less sympathetic version of Lena Dunham's character Hannah Horvath on her show Girls. As a millennial myself, the recent over saturation of whiny Gen Y hipster characters in film / video / TV storylines is something I feel strongly about. Not because some of the overarching tropes embedded within the personality of these characters aren't real (because they can be) but because they mostly are used as excuses to create flat, two-dimensional characters rather than as foundations for fleshed out personalities.

However, Bee and PuppyCat makes a turn for the better with the appearance of PuppyCat, who quite honestly seems to be more Cat than Puppy as evidenced by his alienating and caring attitude towards Bee. PuppyCat's arrival (the odd element) announces the fact that something strange is afoot. And indeed strange, but wonderful things happen on this show.

Bee and PuppyCat, which is currently trying to raise funding via Kickstarter for a full series, is a well-drawn, well-animated little series that I wholeheartedly recommend checking out. Its subtle references to shows like Girls and Web comics such as Octopus Pie blended with animation whose styles and approaches to story lines reference anime creates an interesting smoothie that is worth drinking.