Hidden Gems: Kappa Mikey
By: Justin Cummings
LilyMu is your standard run-of-the-mill shounen anime. The series stars: Mikey, the headstrong, plucky hero, Lily, the sweet, charming damsel-in-distress, Mitsuki, the tough, fearless woman, and Guano, the cute creature who can only say his name. Together they fight against the evil, purple Gonard. The whole show is cliche, campy, and completely fictional.
LilyMu is the show within a show of Kappa Mikey, which is about the day to day drama of the main cast, who all have the same names as their characters. In reality: Lily is a heartless drama queen who resents Mikey her taking her leading role, Mitsuki is as sweet as could be, Gonard is a lovable oaf, Guano is paranoid, finnicky, and the show’s director, and Mikey is an American idiot who won a contest. They’re joined by the show’s producer, the loud Ozu, and his assistant, Yes-Man. Every episode addresses some cliche, whether it be about anime, film in general, Japan, or either Japanese or American culture. It’s as self-aware as can be, with one of the running gags being that Mikey can’t do any stereotypical anime thing such as going Chibi or having flaming eyes. The reason of course is that Mikey is drawn in a stereotypical Western, flash animation style, while everyone from Japan is drawn in an anime style. The blend seems clunky at first, but is really quite brilliant, and especially shines through in episodes with other American characters.
Like many anime, the worst part of Kappa Mikey is its spin off. The mascot of the show, the dancing sushi, were later given their own show, but only after Kappa Mikey finished its 52 episode run. Apart from all its unique style aspects, what Kappa Mikey will go down in history for is being the first ever series originally created for Nicktoons Network. For one, brief, shining moment, it truly felt as though the channel could become a force in animation. That didn’t come to pass, but if not for Kappa Mikey starting it all, we never would have gotten some great shows such as Wolverine and the X-Men or Voltron Force. For its unique style and contributions to the animation landscape, Kappa Mikey is a hidden gem.
Also, that theme song!