Punch Line is the story of a high school student, who if he looks at girls' panties twice in a short period of time, the world gets hit by an asteroid and everybody dies.
No, I'm not fucking with you, that's the basic premise of this thing, and that's what's kept me from watching it for a few months now. But I'm here to tell you that it's REALLY a story about friendship, time travel, body-skipping, psychics, super Saiyans, evil global super organizations, robot-girls, superheroes, the US Army, a super-powerful orange mecha/fireworks-launching device, super-healing woodland creatures, spies, animal spirit guides, and an asteroid that will bring about the end of the world on New Year's Eve.
All in all, I enjoyed Punch Line, but they do try to throw everything and the rice cooker into the mix of this thing, with nary a minute to catch your breath and think about what the fuck is really going on. Luckily the slightly ecchi aspects of the show (i.e. the whole "panties turn our hero into the Hulk if he sees them once, and allow an asteroid to crash into the Earth if he sees them twice") are kept to a minimum after just a couple of episodes, but so much is actively happening all the time that it is difficult to keep tabs on not only the main and sub-plotlines in the show, but all the main and side characters, and their back stories, and alternate time lines, and so much seemingly random happenstance that we encounter in each and every episode.
Anyway, things start off with our main protagonist, one Yuta Iridatsu, along with his apartment neighbor, Rabura, getting caught up in a bus hijacking. They're both saved by a superheroine with glowing eyes and hair who calls herself Strange Juice, but Strange Juice herself is caught off guard by another hijacker hiding amongst the victims on the bus! Oh noes!!!
Before Strange Juice is killed though, Yuta sees Rabura's panties and turns all Son Goku himself (spiky, glowy hair and lightbulb eyes), tackling the second hijacker through the bus windshield and over a bridge into the sea below. Yuta is then dragged out of the water by Strange Juice, but he almost immediately has his spirit kicked out of his own body by another ghostly entity... This all happens in just the first 5 minutes of the first episode.
Spirit Yuta finds himself back at his small apartment complex (that he shares with exorcist Rabura, bubbly Mikatan, hikikomori Ito, and apartment manager Meiko), and he's told by a newly arrived spirit guide — in the form of a snarky white Persian cat called Chiranosuke — that the world will end soon unless he does what the cat guide tells him to do, and helps stop the criminal organization known as Qmay, who actually WANTS a giant asteroid to smash into the planet and kill everyone.
Hilariousness ensues. No, really, it does. As well as a lot of action, shit-tons of background plot, and lots of emotion (what retards nowadays call "feels" without any sort of irony). As complex as shit gets though, they do end up explaining most every important detail by the final episode of this short, 12 episode series (though when they seem to run out of time, they just state answers matter-of-factly in the very last 2 minutes of epilogue). But as a result, I found myself having to go back and watch certain episodes again in order to see if I missed anything important, or (more typically) having to go to Wikipedia or some anime discussion boards to see what I may have not caught on my initial viewing.
Despite this, and despite the large amount of explanations given for the epic volume of convoluted plot elements and twists, there are still quite a few loose ends and unanswered questions in this thing, almost to the point of distraction. For example:
WHY does the evil organization (with so many followers) want to destroy the Earth with the asteroid? Why was Guriko holding that regular Japanese bus hostage in the first episode when it really had nothing to do with the plot that Qmay was enacting with the asteroid, which was the entire purpose of the organization in the first place? Why couldn't that annoying cat spirit actually fucking TELL Yuta exactly what the hell was going on, thereby keeping shit from happening for the literal 6th billionth and change time, and actually SAVING the world? How did the Qmay leader die, and who the fuck was he in the first place (his body-hopping spirit is seen on at least two separate occasions, but it felt tacked on to the plot after all was said and done)? What was the point of Mikatan even being in a J-pop group anyway? What did the "Nandala Gandala" book have to do with jack shit in the end? Why can everybody with Uber powers go all super Saiyan at will except for Yuta? And if Yuta could travel back in time whenever the fuck he wanted (if he had a strong sense of duty to do so), then why didn't he just go back after he finally learned everything the VERY FIRST TIME he experienced all this (right at the end, when it was too late to do anything about it), instead of dying over 6 billion times and only letting his half-knowledgable spirit go back... Or why can't he just TELL his free-roaming spirit the entire story, and let him go back and possess his body from the beginning with full awareness of the entire evil plot against humanity, thusly easily giving him the power to save the world from destruction?
End MINOR SPOILERS.
It's strange, but Punch Line feels like a visual novel video game: You find out things bit by bit, character by character; you're stuck in a small building with only half a dozen locations you can visit; there are twists and turns thrown your way every few minutes; and a hugely complicated backstory somehow comes into play, with some sort of strange logic that barely holds the whole experience together... And if you fail in your mission, you have to try again, but this time you have the added knowledge from your first life to help you along.
I will come straight out and say I enjoyed Punch Line. For all the goodness within though, there is still quite a bit of WTF weirdness sprinkled throughout (like the parakeet-mask dance, why cinnamon helps to make spirit possession easier, why a baby bear, and seriously, why panties?), to the point where you might need to watch this one alone. If anybody who doesn't know just how weird and perverted anime can be walked in on you while viewing Punch Line, you'd have a lot of explaining to do... And Punch Line is not an easy thing to explain.
Yo, fool! Normally I'm all up in the whole "panty-fest" action of your typical ecchi anime series, but this time, when 3/4ths of all the glorious underwear shots are of those under the age of 16, well, even I have to just say "maybe not so much."
Japan, Japan, Japan... Why you gots to be so pervy? And this is comin' from me, G-holmes, but why couldn't you just make the girls in this here show just a little bit older? Nothing of the plot would have been lost had these little teeny-boppers been 18 instead of 15 or so years-old, amigos...
You're like that weird friend that everybody has, Japan... The one that in the middle of a conversation will bring up how much they want to bang Taylor Swift, but only before she was 17, or the one who'd post on Facebook how age of consent laws are antiquated rules we need to abandon... Just take out some of the perv, and we'll all have a brighter day, bubbie. And once again, that's coming from ME!
So, wait... Let me get this straight... So this kid, he like gets kicked out of his body, right? Now he's just a free-roaming spirit. And he's hanging out with a talking ghost cat, and the cat is there to help him save the world, but he won't tell him anything useful. And then some secret group of Nazi assholes tries to kidnap a bear cub that the brother of one of the kid's neighbor's gave to another neighbor or something, and then they hijacked that satellite that the robot girl hacked into, and sent out a ton of nukes into space, and then there were those invisible squid suits, and people with Mission Impossible face masks, and superheroes with mind powers, and exorcists, and shut-ins who get killed by their demented teachers, but then live again, and don't forget the giant orange mecha that knows kung-fu, and then, and then...
So, no, I guess I can't get this straight.