Pucca is a cartoon from the Disney Network, and as you might expect from that, it's meant for the pre-teen set. But the humor presented here is good enough so that grown-ups can actually watch it too. Like most solid animation, there's a double-edge to many of the jokes and characters which little kids won't get, but the adults will appreciate. And hey, at least there's no horribly annoying songs thrown at you, so this is something you can feel good about putting on for the wee tots without fear of driving yourself crazy.
Most of the action in Pucca takes place in Sooga Village, a place where martial arts and noodles rule the day. The titular character's day job is working at a noodle restaraunt owned by her uncles, but most of her time is spent helping her "boyfriend" Garu stay out of harm's way as he performs various quests to impress the townsfolk. Admittedly, this is a pretty simple framework for a show, but the writers seem to have a lot of leeway, lampooning and co-opting lots of TV shows and movies, with everything from Star Wars to American Idol thrown into the mix. This gives the humor a bit of edge that is sadly missing on most cartoon shows.
For Hong Kong film fans, one character is of particular note. His name is Abyo, and he's quite obsessed with Bruce Lee. It's obvious that Pucca's creators have a lot of love for Lee, as they manage to work in a lot of references to Lee's movies, most notably Enter the Dragon and Game of Death. The other residents of Sooga Village also each have their own quirks. Apparently, this is where Santa Claus lives in the off-season, and he really needs to lay off of the broccoli. These sorts of quirky characters help keep Pucca from becoming stale, even after multiple episodes.
Shout Factory has recently released two DVDs of Pucca: "Kung Fu Kisses" and "Ninjas Love Noodles". There's really no extras (though "Ninjas Love Noodles" does include a Ninja License so you can impress the ladies) but this isn't exactly the sort of stuff you need to hear a director's commentary on anyway. Both DVDs include thirteen episodes, each of which run about seven minutes, so you get roughly ninety minutes of content per disc. Both are worth picking up, but I would probably give the edge to "Ninjas Love Noodles", which contains the episode "The Shirtless Avenger", in which Abyo takes prenteding to be a superhero a little too far.
The Pucca DVDs are available at the Shout Factory website.
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