Netflix Releases New Season of The Greatest Show Ever Made About Sentient Guinea Pig Vehicles, ‘Pui Pui Molcar’
Welcome back Teddy, my beautiful garbage-eating friend
Hello. Thank you for coming here today. Here at the Church of Pui, I like to spread the good word. The good word of Pui Pui Molcar, a show which proposes a bold answer to the burning question that has plagued humankind for aeons: what if guinea pigs had evolved into cars which can poop out their drivers?
When Pui Pui Molcar‘s first season dropped in 2021, viewers around the world were spellbound by its daring vision of this alternate reality. While the show’s second season, Pui Pui Molcar: Driving School, aired in Japan as part of the totally stacked fall 2022 season, you couldn’t (legally) watch it in North America. Not until March 17, 2023, when Driving School finally dropped on Netflix.
Watch out, Bluey—there’s another highly watchable childrens’ show on the horizon, and it would like a carrot, please.
What is Pui Pui Molcar, and why have I been missing out on the best thing ever?
If you have indeed been missing out on the wonder and majesty of Pui Pui Molcar, allow me to help you fix this right away.
Pui Pui Molcar is a stop-motion animated show which takes place in a world where the cars everyone’s driving happen to be giant sentient guinea pigs. The episodes are 2 1/2-minute long absurdist dips into this bizarre reality. The show’s only dialogue are squeaks from the Molcars and various “hmmm”s and “ahhh”s from the human drivers. (“Pui” is the Japanese word for the sound a guinea pig makes.) Pui Pui Molcar was created for Kinder TV, a Japanese variety show for children. But the Molcars’ antics have truly captivated the hearts of all.
Astoundingly, the show’s first season was animated by just five people, under the direction of creator Tomoki Misato. The sounds you hear from the Molcars all come straight from Misato’s own beloved guinea pig. Also, the sound effect for the Molcars’ movement deserves international recognition and probably the Nobel Peace Prize.
Pui Pui Molcar is adorably innocent and pure, but it possesses dark streak to its humor. It’s a brilliantly confounding tone that reminds me a bit of Mameshiba. There’s an episode in the first season where a woman leaves her cat in a Molcar in a parking lot on a hot day—an episode I have not stopped thinking about since I first watched it. (The cat turns out okay!) In another, a bank robber holds a sobbing, shivering Molcar at gun point. And let me tell you, a Molcar whimpering and crying is one of the saddest, most pitiable images in all of television.
You truly go through a whirlwind of emotions in each 150 second episode. It’s bizarre and funny and earnest and cute as hell. Molcars forever, Molcars for life.
I didn’t come to Pui Pui Molcar until late 2022, when I happened to be in Japan as Driving School was airing weekly in real time. Pui Pui Molcar was everywhere. Once a friend suggested I dig in, I was spellbound. I joined the Church of Pui. And also lost a lot of money trying to win Molcar plushes from crane games.
What’s new in season two?
Unlike season one, which was largely episodic, season two has a through line to its plot: our central gang of Molcars have caused a major incident and now must go to (gasp!) driving school. There’s still a random, episodic nature to the season, but having an overall “theme” is a big difference. There are also regular callbacks to situations from season one. (I deeply needed the driver of the Molcar who had been held at gun point to realize what his buddy had been through and dote excessively upon him.)
If this new season feels different to the previous one, there’s a reason. Misato and his team at Japan Green Hearts are no longer at the wheel for Driving School. The new season was made by an entirely new studio, UchuPeople, and directed by Hana Ono.
I personally think season one is a bit stronger overall, mostly because that weirdly dark edge to its sense of humor isn’t quite as sharp in two. But season two is still incredibly delightful. Don’t let the change of personnel worry you—this is definitely still Pui Pui Molcar.
I personally put both seasons of Pui Pui Molcar on my “Must Watch” list of recommendations. The run time of the whole series is barely an hour, and you deserve it. Praise be to Potato.
(Featured image: Shin-Ei Animation / Bandai Namco Entertainment)
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