ADV Films // 1998 // 300 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Chief Counsel Rob Lineberger (Retired) // November 10th, 2005
Get ready for Feline Fever!
In one version of Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, a cute android body gets implanted with the brain of a beloved cat. The scientist responsible has to keep Nuku Nuku's true identity secret while his human-seeming creation does catlike things -- to his great embarrassment, and our delight.
All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash! does not tell that story. I don't know why second or third incarnations of clever anime franchises regress to the mean, become another dot in a line of homogeneous, conservative anime. This phenomenon is particularly frustrating when the original story stood out for its originality. The story became popular on the merits of its creativity, so why subsume it into the collective?
Anyway, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash! gives us a ravishingly beautiful android who is an escapee from a secretive MegaDefense corporation. She may have the brain of a cat, which we suspect because she has vaguely catlike eyes and other cats dig her. Otherwise, she's your typical piece of advanced cybernetic weaponry. One scientist keeps watch over her, another one (his wife, in fact) hunts her down with the vast resources of "M" Corporation behind her. Meanwhile, Nuku Nuku makes breakfast for the horny teenager she's come to live with, and generally drives him red with embarrassment in every other scene. When not making flapjacks, Nuku Nuku switches into tactical mode and mows down robots in the streets of Tokyo. Young Ryunosuke struggles with his newfound lusty feelings towards the tall, busty blonde in his house -- and by the way, who is this mysterious, tall, busty blonde fighter who keeps appearing to fight evil?
In other words, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash! is stultifyingly similar to most other anime. It's all here: the magical girl transformations, the awkward teenager with a live-in hottie maid, the military corporation with a shadowy board of directors, the "monster of the week" fights in the streets...the only thing missing is an alien invasion that threatens Mother Earth. All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash! even has a wisecracking kindergarten sidekick for comic relief. As the series wore on, I kept looking for something fresh to latch onto.
The flip side to this is that All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash! has a little something for every anime fan. If you like robot battles, it's here. Sailor Moon–esque transformations and monsters-of-the-week are here too. Jiggly android breasts? Check. And if you get a kick out of reaction shots where teenaged boys see a hot girl, act awkward, and then turn red in the face, get comfy.
ADV has given us the entire series in a dashing cardboard sleeve with three sexy thinpaks. I really like this new packaging; it is bold and svelte, wrapping up the entire series in style at an attractive value. Mine came with a volume of the Cat Girl Nuku Nuku manga. If the retail version does too, this is a great move by ADV. At worst, you got a free manga novel. At best, it may get you hooked on manga. That's clever cross-marketing.
As a value package, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash!: The Complete Collection comes with no extras. The video doesn't seem to have been cleaned up much either. Colors are faded and contrast is moderate, while the detail levels leave something to be desired. Whether because of minute interlacing or simply an unfocused transfer, the lines are not crisp. The show doesn't look bad, it just isn't as punchy as one would expect of a late '90s series.
The English vocal work gets a boost from Allison Keith (who voiced Major Misato Katsuragi in Neon Genesis Evangelion) and is overall more restrained than most dubs. The Japanese track feels a more natural fit. In either case, the audio was reasonable: not dynamic, but clear and mixed well.
By the time All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash! had run its course, there were three All Purpose Cultural Cat Girls running around, and everyone in Ryunosuke's family had learned startling truths about each other. There were explosions, falling buildings, and mayhem. It may be on the generic side, but it's still anime, which means there's a lot going on. If you've got an itch to try it out and don't expect anything groundbreaking, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash! might be a fun time. Personally, I think enough similar and superior titles exist to give this one a pass.
Review content copyright © 2005 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: 300 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Wikipedia entry that goes into far more detail than I'm willing to