Fans of Pop Team Epic, a surreal 4-panel manga by Bkub Okawa, were recently saddened by the series' conclusion.
They were also perhaps a little bemused when Takeshobo's manga website "Manga Life Win" announced earlier this month that Okawa would soon be publishing a new series entitled Hoshiiro Girldrop.
A departure from Okawa's previous work both in terms of form and style, Hoshiiro Girldrop is the story of Daichi Taira, a somewhat listless high school student, and Sosogu Hoshifuri, his childhood friend and also the center for the popular idol group "Drop Stars".
After a separation of 5 years, Daichi and Sosogu are reunited one day when Daichi discovers Sosogu living in his family home and claiming to be his fiancé. Comedy ensues when Daichi completely fails to recognize Sosogu and also completely fails to remember their childhood promise to one another.
It seems like a fairly cute albeit somewhat boilerplate beginning for a rom-com, until:
Sosogu tears off her mask, revealing the protagonist of Pop Team Epic beneath.
That's right, folks. Every thing leading up to the release of Hoshiiro Girldrop on February 18, 2016 - the new art style, the character bios, the banner ads, the Twitter campaign, etc. - was an elaborate set-up for a gag, with the punchline being the return of Pop Team Epic for a 2nd series.
Truly, Bkub Okawa's trolling skills are next level.
Paul Chapman is the host of The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast and GME! Anime Fun Time.