I’ve been a fan of Parappa the Rapper my whole life, it seems. I used to play the special PlayStation demo at the special station at Target when I was young and dream of the day I’d be able to play it at home on my own console. When I was finally able to, the game rarely left my PlayStation. I memorized every single song on the game, from the mistakes to the correct way the raps should sound.
While I’ve grown up and the game has received a sequel, spinoffs, and merchandise (that wasn’t as ubiquitous or easily acquired when I was younger), I’m still stuck on the characters, music, and vibrant personality that went into creating Parappa the Rapper. It remains one of my favorite games of all time, second only to one of its spinoffs: Um Jammer Lammy of which I have a tattoo on my right arm.
But Parappa hasn’t retained its popularity over the years, despite its cult status. It’s been years since we’ve heard from the rapping cartoon dog and his crew, aside from an anime series and cameo appearances by Parappa here and there in games like PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. It seemed that for a while we just wouldn’t hear much out of the franchise — that is, until 2016. It’s the 15th anniversary of the original television anime adaptation from 2001, which originally aired on Fuji TV. It’s also, more importantly, the twentieth anniversary of Parappa the Rapper in general, so that means it’s time to celebrate.
Fuji TV is doing just that with the anime short series PJ Berri no Mogu Mogu Munya Munya. The anime follows the laid-back (some might say lackadaisical) teddy bear from the franchise as he coasts through life. It’s a silly nod to the Parappa the Rapper fandom and a love letter to anyone who’s been following creator Rodney Alan Greenblat’s characters since their inception.
PJ Berri no Mogu Mogu Munya Munya follows PJ Berri as he works at the Chop Chop Fruites Cafe, which used to be a dojo that belonged to Chop Chop Master Onion. He’s a chef now, with Parappa working underneath him as a part-time employee. PJ Berri lazes around, so it’s not quite clear if he actually works at the cafe or if he’s just hanging out there with his best friend Parappa. PJ Berri loves eating, sleeping, listening to music, and eating donuts, so that’s essentially all he does all day. He’s relatively unchanged from his character in the games or the other anime series, but the other characters a little different.
Parappa’s outfit has changed from a navy blue tank top and jeans to a striped long-sleeved shirt and apron, and Chop Chop Master Onion is without the sprout on his head that he’s seen with in Um Jammer Lammy. It can be surmised that PJ Berri no Mogu Mogu Munya Munya takes place before Um Jammer Lammy because of this, but nothing is spelled out very clearly in the series–and it doesn’t have to be.
It’s just a simple parade of zany vignettes that follow PJ Berri’s adventures in his imaginary world of PJ Land. He’s the king there, so he presides over anything and everything within. He embarks on all sorts of adventures–such as following a rock that wants to wear dresses and become a “cuter” version of itself. Uh, sure!
It doesn’t make a lot of sense, and there’s barely any continuity, but that’s part of what makes Parappa the Rapper as a franchise so fun and accessible. These quick shorts are perfect for anyone who’s ever been captivated by these familiar characters or is looking to see the series make a swift return to the world of video games one shining day.
Talking dogs, onion karate masters, and lazy teddy bears are only a small chunk of what’s out there in the world of Parappa–and you can get a taste of it with each PJ Berri no Mogu Mogu Munya Munya short that airs.
Unfortunately, there’s no official source to view the series just yet or any official English translation just yet, so we’ll have to hold out hope that Parappa fans can get their fix on some sort of possible release that PJ Berri faithful can get their hands on across the world in the near future.