The outré sci-fi comedy Sgt. Frog
(2004) scored a big hit in Japan, running for almost 300 episodes and spawning five theatrical features. A force of alien frogs attempted to conquer Earth (or "Pekopon"), but withdrew, leaving a few of their less impressive warriors behind. Keroro a.k.a. Sgt. Frog takes refuge in the home of the offbeat Hinata family. Mom Aki is a manga editor who sees Keroro as a source of ideas; Fuyuki, the friendless president of his junior high paranormal club, welcomes the alien; Natsumi, Fuyuki's brilliant, athletic older sister, puts the amphibian to work cleaning house. Rounding out the cast are zillionaire-heiress Momoka, who nurtures a crush on Fuyuki; Angolmois, an alien who spoofs magical girls; upper classman Sabura, whom Natsumi adores, and four nutty frogs from the Sergeant's old platoon. The stories careen from parodies of other series (Sgt. Frog adores Gundam
models), to self-reflexive gags to attempts to restart the failed conquest of Earth. Sgt. Frog
often plays like sillier, less cynical version of Invader Zim
. But bringing Sgt. Frog
to another culture proved problematic. Like Shin-chan
, the dialogue consists largely of puns, word- plays, and pop culture references, many of which are essentially untranslatable. The writers either have to present a literal rendering, which wouldn't be funny or even comprehensible, or try to come up with English equivalents of the jokes--which may have little to do with the original script. Funimation opted for latter, which has led some otaku to complain about the "bastardization" of the series, but it was probably the better choice. It's not like they've rewritten The Tale of Genji
: flatulence jokes are flatulence jokes in any language. (Rated TV PG, suitable for ages 13 and older: cartoon violence, risqué and toilet humor, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
Stills from Sgt. Frog (Click for larger image)
(1. Meet the Sergeant! 2. Bag of Secrets! 3. Amphibian On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown 4. Blood Violence Death Kill! 5. The Day Gundam Cried! 6. Ghost Kiss-Perer! 7. Apocalypse Later! 8. Base: The Final Frontier! 9. Desperately Seeking Brains! 10. Sgt. Frog versus the Cavitians of Cavity 9! 11. Fake It `Til You Make It! 12. Pop Startled! 13. Viper? I Hardly Knew Her!)
Little Frog. Big Mission.
Keroro is Sgt. Frog – the leader of a platoon of warriors sent to conquer planet Earth. But when the Amphibious invaders discovered how much humans enjoy dissecting their comrades, the troops were scattered, the mission was aborted, and Keroro was abandoned. Now, this once proud soldier spends more time wielding a vacuum than he does the weapons of war. It’s a far cry from the glory of battle, but hey, at least he’s got his own room. And though the invasion may have slowed to a hop, Sergeant Frog still occasionally yearns to overcome his karaoke addiction and reassemble his troops. Watch out world, the frogs are taking over.
Invade. Conquer. Karaoke.