Don’t ever do that to me again.
Every year for a few decades now, Adult Swim graces us with a gift on April Fools Day. Whether it’s Rick and Morty, FLCL in subtitles, or Perfect Hair Forever, the network’s silliness has become a tradition now for eons and we, the fans, love it every second.
Enter Gemusetto Machu Picchu. From some of the same people that have brought you Tender Touches, Gemusetto Machu Picchu is not just a series. It’s an exercise of sheer will power. I am writing this having watched the full four-plus hour special 2x, possibly one of the most arduous tasks of my career. Something that may end up in my obituary as just a footnote, but one that’s gonna be in bold letters if I have to say anything about it. After completing my second watch through I surmised one thing from my experience.
That could’ve been a lot worse.
At its core, Gemusetto Machu Picchu, which literally translates to “Game Set Match”, is no doubt the spiritual successor to Perfect Hair Forever. However, where PFH was a silly take on the shounen genre of anime, this series is straight up a sports-anime parody but with sprinkles of Pokemon thrown in for good measure. It features a lot of the same producers/voices from Tender Touches including Max Simonet, Dave Bonawits, and I’m pretty sure I heard Lauren Payne in there as well, we’ll just never know because for four hours we didn’t get a single line of credits. We DID, however, get a harrowing tale of a young Makasu who almost has an Uncharted bent to him due to the fact that he loves traveling the world and defeating enemies in the name of sport all for trinkets that will hopefully propel the young “warrior” in the game of tennis so that he may destroy the Incas. Yes, those Incas. The Incas that never did anything wrong to anyone, but I guess we needed to show them a thing or two in ESPN’s “filler” sport.
Despite my condescending tone, I quite liked Gemusetto Machu Picchu for more than just the show. The producers went all out with numerous commercials, featurettes with sample audiences, and remember, this is FOUR PLUS HOURS LONG with no commercials. It’s definitely the one major downside to the series, the length. And yes, I understand that this is an anime parody and that filler is as much a part of the lexicon of anime as anything else, and so mocking it relentlessly makes perfect sense, but boy was it a tall tale to get through.
Fortunately, when the show is funny, it’s super funny. Using various animation stylings, and featuring underlying plots that have to do with love, betrayal, and someone needs to have an argument with her dad about the various flavors of ice cream, Gemusetto Machu Picchu isn’t afraid to throw windmill punches at anything slightly resembling a cognizant experience. Similar to Tender Touches, GMP goes into some dark and murky corners to pass the time in hopes that we’ll tag along for more, and admittedly, hook..line…sinker.
By far, this is Adult Swim’s answer to Neo Yokio, though there are tons of anime parodies out there that don’t have the balls to pull off the lack of production that this show has. These kids are learning wonders from the Mace Windu-like teachings coming from the Yoda that is Mike Lazzo, and it shows.