How Absurdist Manga ‘Pop Team Epic’ Became a Phenomenon

You’ve seen the memes and read fan-translated frames on Tumblr, but Pop Team Epic is largely underground outside of Japan.

Even then, the manga has a divisive reception due its absurd humor, copy-and-paste art style, nonsequiturs, and lack of a plot. But it still managed to become a phenomenon in Japan and is loved as a kuso (shit) series.

Here is why Pop Team Epic is so loved!


Doesn’t Take Itself Seriously

Pop Team Epic

Pop Team Epic, creator Bukubu Okawa, and the fans revel in a lack of seriousness – which can be viewed as counter-movement to modern “critical” culture.

Even without that lens, Okawa doesn’t mind admitting that his art skills are lacking or that jokes go absolutely nowhere. He’s shitposting in manga form and you’re welcome to join the ride.


Bukubu Okawa Loves Teasing Fans

Pop Team Epic

In fact, Bukubu might have as much appeal himself as his manga. He constantly has fun with fans (like handing out rubble as prizes at Comiket) or responding to fans comments in the manga.

One of Bukubu’s greatest jokes, however, was Hoshiro Girldrop. After creating a conclusion to Pop Team Epic, he created an idol rom-com, complete with an official website and a new art style. It was an elaborate ruse to prove that he actually has art skills and map out a story if he cared enough.


Filled With Pop Culture References

Pop Team Epic

Gintama is viewed as the king of references, but Pop Team Epic is a close second place. The 4-panel format allows Bukubu to place references without worrying about flow or making sense, just whatever seems funny at the time.



Pop Team Epic Manga

Where else does a small-time mangaka trash their own publisher?

The Memes

Pop Team Epic

Bukubu’s art style and humor have led to many social media memes – in fact, more people probably know Pop Team Epic through memes than the actual manga. The crazy thing is that the series’ humor isn’t forced, but happens organically.


Of course, not everyone is a fan of absurd humor or the manga’s art style. For those people, Bukubu has a simple message:

Pop Team Epic

I love all things that are cute, magic-based, and easy going! My biggest obsessions of all time are Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches and Fairy Tail. Let's go shipping!
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