ADV Films // 1992 // 350 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Chief Counsel Rob Lineberger (Retired) // February 23rd, 2006
If you want a perfect bodyguard...sometimes you just have to build one.
Although some anime series provide a pleasing mixture of tones, many are one-note affairs. Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi, for example, is sentimental while Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is grim. The zany anime parody has come into vogue lately; from Puni Puni Poemy to Excel Saga, these shows subsist by making fun of their anime siblings.
These parody shows share some characteristics. Their tone is usually shrill and exaggerated; there's small chance of mistaking them for a serious show. This zany vibe has a side effect: Once you get the joke, you're in for dozens of episodes of the same. People who enjoy that particular brand of humor will appreciate the consistency, while others may grow bored.
All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku TV is a precursor to these shrill, zany parody shows. Don't get me wrong; it is plenty zany, but the shrillness is absent for the most part. Instead, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku TV opts for a blithe rock-and-roll attitude (sort of the anime answer to glam metal). The antics in this show are so breezy that it's hard to get overstimulated.
All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku TV details the adventures of a teenaged-girl-shaped android with a cat's brain inside. Scientific maverick Kyusaka Natusume created Nuku Nuku to oppose the evil corporation...aw, heck, just go read the previous reviews by Judge David Gutierrez. He explains everything. They're linked in the sidebar.
If you read those reviews, you undoubtedly picked up on Judge David's distaste for the series. I don't fault him on any specific point, but I found some humor in the show. The opening episodes have a wry habit of pointing out the stereotypes onscreen, such as the "nihilistic pretty boy" or the "stuck-up rich girl" with two sidekicks who fawn on her every word. Nuku Nuku TV also lands some red-herring gags out of left field, such as a raccoon who comes over to wash tomatoes in the sink. I enjoyed the glam vibe of the series, which took me back to fond memories of high school. Judge Gutierrez was right on about one thing, though: Nuku Nuku is the lamest thing about this series. Why have a cat brain in a human android shell? Is it supposed to be funny that she takes naps and eats cat food? The series doesn't do nearly enough to set up its gags. And the robot enemies become an army of lameness and drudgery.
The good news is that All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku TV fares well in comparison to All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash!: The Complete Collection. The latter series has scrubbed and rinsed the idea down to a lowest common denominator, making Dash! indistinguishable from other anime. Nuku Nuku TV is clearly tongue in cheek, so the idea seems fresh and more enjoyable in this older incarnation. Nonetheless, I suspect the original version is even fresher and more interesting.
You can tell that Nuku Nuku TV is an older series. Colors are anemic and uneven, with dust and dirt on the cels. The sound quality is passable, with highly annoying fits of English vocal work (even some from the dependable Allison Keith) and mostly pleasing Japanese vocals wrapped in a plain soundstage. The only extra of note from the original DVD release was an interview with Allison Keith, which is missing here in line with ADV's thinpak release format.
One side effect of watching Nuku Nuku TV in Japanese with English subtitles is that you'll often get a screen covered in subtitles. Often there will be text on the screen (subtitle one) with someone speaking (subtitle two) while "Folk Singer Guy" sings in the background (subtitle three). There were times when I literally could not tell what was happening onscreen until I disengaged the subs and skipped back a few frames.
A '90s series with an '80s attitude, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku TV: Complete Collection is a dose of big, dumb fun. Its tone is more approachable than latter day parodies, though that tone will probably wear on many viewers. Unless you have sentimental attachment to the series or love absurdity, you'll probably find greener pastures elsewhere.
Review content copyright © 2006 Rob Lineberger; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 350 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* DVD Verdict review of Volume One
* DVD Verdict review of Volume Two
* DVD Verdict review of Volume Three
* DVD Verdict review of Volume Four