Micchy shares the 9 episodes of Heybot that you're absolutely not allowed to miss!
Heybot is a special show. Take the pop culture knowledge of Animaniacs, combine it with the toilet humor of gross ‘90s Nicktoons, then throw in utterly unlikable protagonists and shameless merchandising on par with your average Gundam series, and you’ll get a rough approximation of Heybot. As a trash addict, I have difficulty thinking of another recent anime so thoroughly brain-melting. Not Love Rice, not Gakuen Handsome, not Forest Fairy Five. Only Teekyu surpasses Heybot in nonsense density, but at a minute and a half per episode it can’t really be compared to Heybot’s full-length absurdity.
What sets Heybot apart from similarly pointless shows is that its stupidity is actually clever in a screwed-up sort of way. Heybot understands filmmaking conventions better than many anime - shot continuity, economy of storytelling, consistent character writing - and deliberately sidesteps them all. Forget week-to-week continuity, this is a Sunday morning cartoon! Continuity doesn’t matter, except when it does, like when Heybot and Nejiru get arrested for being terrible main characters and remain in prison through the next episode. Or the complicated sci-fi plot that builds up in bits and pieces over the course of 50 episodes to culminate in a Gurren Lagann-esque final arc involving parallel timelines, time loops, and universe-breaking farts.
50 episodes is a lot, though. Spread over a year, it’s not too hefty a time commitment, but if you were to try to experience Heybot now, you’d have a heck of a time getting to the good stuff. (Besides, I don’t think it’s healthy to watch more than a few episodes at a time. Please don’t try it at home, kids - but if you do, I’m not liable for any brain damage you may or may not incur.) So in the interest of getting the Heybot-uninitiated into this one-of-a-kind show, let’s run down some of the best one-off episodes.
Episode 11: “Mystery! The Cursed Screw Island!”
Heybot is good. Exhibit A:
I rest my case.
Episode 15: “The Screw Island Chronicle Scroll!”
Remember Cool Japan? Heybot does. In this episode, the show’s lizard Haruki Murakami lookalike goes to Screw Island to investigate its seemingly unending happiness. The answer: the cult of Cool Japan. New Year’s on Screw Island becomes a tournament of giant robots, extreme badminton, off-brand Mr. Potatohead, and fart-themed karuta, and neither not-Murakami nor the viewers can make heads or tails of it all. It’s like Chihayafuru, but dumber. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Episode 17: “Where There’s a Screw, There’s a Bonehead”
Heybot faces the awful truth that he is, in fact, a mass-produced toy and probably not born from an egg. As if this bit of existential horror weren’t enough, the episode goes on to introduce the cheap version of the Heybot toy, whose diabolical plan is to murder and replace Heybot. You know, a kids’ show! For kids! Heybot manages to balance that disturbing plot with just enough cheeky self-awareness and fart-punctuated scene transitions to be entertaining and not traumatizing in any way whatsoever.
Episode 22: “Riscrewsing Sun”
Unsatisfied with repeatedly breaking the fourth wall, Heybot spends an episode with the scrapped characters who want nothing more than to be in the show proper. When Nejiru and Heybot visit an island inhabited by discarded character designs, they get roped into a pyramid scheme where the incentive is to become a main character of the show. There, they learn about the dangers of unchecked capitalism. Or something. It’s unclear if Heybot and Nejiru ever retain any of the lessons they learn. Have I mentioned they’re awful characters? They’re awful characters. That’s why it’s so much fun to watch everyone else try to boot them off the show.
Episode 34: “Screwed Away”
The annoying flying butt screw has the shocking revelation that it isn’t as special as it claims to be. What follows is a Cast Away parody where Awesome Fine Screw expresses its sorrow through song - if you can call it song, anyway. It takes guts to dedicate an entire episode to showcasing nonexistent musical talent, but Heybot has never been a show to shy away from conceptual challenges. The result is an anime musical about a down-on-its-luck screw learning to recognize its innate value by using its butt of prophecy to save an island from disaster. Who knew Cursed Image: The Anime could tell genuinely moving stories?
Episode 37: “Do Cyber-Rats Dream of Loser Vocabots?”
Because every cartoon for children must be educational at one point or another, Heybot gives an information security PSA. Sort of. When a gal declares her online paramour missing, the geeky mouse screw uses its expert hacking skills to help her find him in the cyber. In tracking the mysterious casanova, we learn the following important points:
1) Passwords should include both letters and numbers. That said:
2) It’s dangerous! To use your birthday! As your password!
3) Photos you post online stay there. Forever.
4) People on the internet aren’t necessarily who they say they are. For all you know, they could be an undercover agent, an international criminal, or, worst of all, a boring nerd. Truly a relevant lesson to the youth of the 21st century.
There’s also a Blade Runner segment that’s vaguely plot-relevant, but nobody cares about that.
Episode 38: “When All Twelve are Together, Things Get Serious!”
The one thing all the characters of Heybot can ever agree on is that the protagonists, Heybot and Nejiru, are the worst people in existence. They’re consumerism gone mad: Nejiru will sacrifice just about anything to justify his screw fetish, while Heybot himself is the world’s most addicted buyer of a snack called Imochin, which is definitely made of real potatoes and not corn flour. It all comes to a head when the background characters gang up and attempt to hijack the show from its ostensible protagonists. Naturally, it’s a tournament episode featuring such conventional events like scrub brush standup, beach ballet, and macaroni standoffs. You know, the usual.
Episode 44: “The Movie! Wait, What?”
Already full of pop culture references that nobody in its target audience will catch, Heybot takes the homages above and beyond in Heybot: The Movie. For starters, it’s a shot-for-shot your name. parody where the comet is a screw and the girl is Heybot in a wig. It’s also Jurassic Park, Ferris Bueller, an ‘80s horror B-movie, and a massive dunk on every bland, half-baked film to come out of Hollywood. All this sets up the ultimate debate: are bad movies actually good? Is Heybot any good? What even is reality?
Episode 50: “The World of Sunday”
After a year of melting our brains, Heybot finally stops to consider a world without Heybot. What if the media watchdogs calling for Wholesome Edutainment got their way? What happens if we stop subjecting ourselves to brain-melting nonsense? Boredom. Boredom happens. When all’s said and done, there’s an audience out there that craves animated garbage. Heybot exists to cater to that crowd. Besides, kids deserve to be exposed to cartoons that’ll permanently warp their sense of humor! How else do we make sense of a nonsensical reality but with bad puns, after all?
Bless this anime.