Sgt. Frog (ケロロ軍曹 Keroro Gunsō, lit. “Sergeant Keroro”) is a comedy based on an ongoing manga created by Mine Yoshizaki. The anime (directed at various times by Junichi Sato, Yusuke Yamam, and Nobuhiro Kondo and written by Mamiko Ikeda and Masahiro Yokotani) aired in Japan between April 3rd, 2004 – April 3rd, 2011 with a grand total of 358 episodes.
Describing Sgt. Frog is actually kind of difficult because it is so many things. On the surface, it is about a platoon of alien invaders who become stranded on Earth (or, as they call it, Pekopon). The ARMPIT platoon is led by their incompetent leader, Keroro, who would rather be building Gundam models than conquering a planet.
- Sergeant Keroro: Platoon leader, loves Gundam and cow flesh (hamburgers), lives with the Hinata family as a housekeeper, paired with paranormal-obsessed 12-year-old boy Fuyuki Hinata.
- Corporal Giroro: Weapon expert with a rough exterior and a heart of gold, loves guns and kittens, lives in the Hinata’s backyard in a tent, paired with 13-year-old badass, amazing girl Natsumi Hinata.
- Private Second Class Tamama: Youngest member of the platoon, loves Keroro and violent outbursts, lives in the Nishizawa mansion, paired with Fuyuki-obsessed and schizophrenic 12-year-old girl Momoka Nishizawa.
- Sergeant Major Kululu: Technology expert with a goofy laugh, loves chaos and causing people trouble, lives in the secret base, paired with cool and aloof 13-year-old boy Saburo.
- Lance Corporal Dororo: Ninja warrior who wants to save Pekopon, loves nature and friendship, lives in the forest, paired with Natsumi-obsessed 13-year-old ninja girl Koyuki Azumaya.
The best thing about Sgt. Frog is the super meta humor that is achieved throughout the series with the help of a disgruntled and annoyed narrator. He constantly questions and taunts the characters as they fumble through a plot that often makes very little logical sense. And the characters within the show sometimes speak to the narrator as well, arguing with him and questioning why he doesn’t just quit. The fourth wall is also broken when the show makes pop culture references and shamelessly rips off other anime, which happens a lot.
With fourth wall-breaking humor and constant references to pop culture, the show often reaches hilarious levels of absurdity. The plot is ridiculous, characters rarely learn from their experiences, resolutions are forced, and chaos is a guarantee. In other words, it’s an absurd show that will put a smile on your face.
While the show is primarily a comedy, it wouldn’t be one of my favorites if there wasn’t also some heart. Each of the Keronians is paired with a human who they develop a friendship with throughout the series. Every now and then, the Keronians and the humans share sincere moments of friendship and caring as they work together to make the universe a better place. Although the Keronians say that their goal is to conquer Pekopon, that’s really not the focus of the show. Instead, it’s mostly about their relationships with one another and the humans who have taken them in. Each episode the platoon and the humans get into hilarious situations because of alien technology, Keroro’s desire to buy and build all the Gundam models on Pekopon, and the platoon’s pathetic attempts to conquer the planet.
Lastly, I have to mention the music. The opening and closing themes are amazing. They are funny, catchy, and cute. I often find myself humming these songs because they are so great. They are guaranteed to put a little pep in your step.
The biggest downside I can think of is that the show does have some fanservice. Even though this is something the show is aware of and seems to be making fun of (the narrator will call out this behavior at times, as will the characters themselves), it’s still there. Also, the pop culture references might be a barrier to some viewers.
Weeb level: 4/10. This is a tough one because, as previously mentioned, the show makes many references to other anime and anime tropes. However, they also explain some of these tropes to the viewer. In fact, this is the first anime that my husband got into because it’s strangely accessible and actually taught him how to watch anime. This is where I’ll make an official plug for the Funimation dubbed episodes. I almost never prefer dubs over subs, but Funimation did an amazing job translating the puns, references, and jokes to make them accessible to American viewers without sacrificing the spirit of the Japanese version. So yes, there will be some jokes you might not 100% understand, but there are so many jokes that you won’t mind missing a couple.
Fanservice: 5/10. Again, I’ve decided to go for a middle ranking because of the parody aspect of the show. Yes, you will see a couple of shots that focus on the mom character’s comically large breasts, but it’s done in such a way that it’s too ridiculous to be taken seriously. And you will have comments about Natsumi’s appearance in a swimsuit, but she’ll yell at the narrator or kick someone in the face in response to this behavior. But, as I said before, it’s still there.
Quality: 9/10. Obviously this is one of my favorite shows, so my ranking is rather high. It’s fun, it’s sweet, and it always puts me in a better mood. If you’re looking for something funny and absurd to watch, check out Sgt. Frog. Also, the Keronians are very cute.
Where to Watch: Funimation has only released 78 episodes in English, and there is no indication that they plan to finish the series. For a brief, beautiful moment Sgt. Frog was on Netflix and Hulu. Now it is actually a little difficult to find. You can watch episodes on the Funimation website and YouTube, but not all of them are available. DVDs can be purchased on Amazon.