DISCLAIMER: Anyone watching "Paniponi Dash, Vol. 1: Lethal Lesson" should first dispense with any logic, reason, or rational thought. This anime can only be watched if the viewer can immediately accept any kind of bizarre occurrence without their brain exploding in a big cartoony pink cloud. This is like the Japanese schoolgirl version of Monty Python.
Rebecca Miyamoto is a ten-year-old genius who just graduated from MIT, and has a job as a high school teacher in Japan. Unfortunately, Rebecca's first days in Class 1-C do not go smoothly, since the class is dazzled by her amazing cuteness and youth. And her depressed stuffed bunny Mesousa has his own problems involving a creepy cat in a vending machine who claims to be God.
Also, saucer-headed aliens have selected Rebecca to represent the entire human species. No, I'm not kidding.
The stories: a student becomes depressed and hides in the rabbit hutch when Rebecca calls her "boring," since she won't bother to learn her students' names. Then Rebecca rips out hyperactive Himeko's cowlick, and must synthesize a replacement after the aliens steal it. Class 1-C goes to stay at a hot spring to study for an upcoming test, but little studying is actually done. And finally, a class camping trip becomes even weirder when the class encounters hangovers, UFOs and a giant salamander (kero).
There is a lot of weird anime in the world -- think "Nerima Daikon Brothers," "FLCL," "Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi," just to mention a few. But honestly, "Paniponi Dash" is easily the weirdest. It's a relentless barrage of insane gags and bizarre plots involving aliens, cowlicks, fairies, clones, a depressed stuffed bunny, soda pop cans, salamanders and a robot.
Honestly, this whole series is like watching a typical school-based anime series, except tripping on acid -- you may randomly see a mole with a pickax in the background, or a scene devoted to an elderly teacher claiming to be stomachache medicine.
And eventually, cognitive dissonance sets in and you just go with it. There's lots of slapstick, yelling, mad science ("I'm the magical cowlick fairy!" "It's always SOMETHING..."), satire (depressed bunny Mesousa is apparently a spoof of "cute mascots"), alarming students and sudden explosions. It's a colorful, goofy experience, and honestly it's impossible to tell what direction any story will go.
Rebecca is a fun protagonist -- she's smarter than the rest of the cast put together, but she's still only ten years old (and prone to crying and hiding behind the curtains). The other characters are more typical, but with the quirk cranked up to 11 -- the shiny-foreheaded bookworm, the hyperactive annoyance, the "boring" girl, the crazy old man, the terrifyingly calm class rep, and the cute mascot who needs antidepressants. And that's only a few. The cast is vast and weird.
"Paniponi Dash, Vol. 1: Lethal Lesson" is a delightfully whacked-out, cracked-out experience that plays out like a hallucination... only more fun, and less damaging to your sanity. And this is only the beginning.