Sentai Filmworks // 2009 // 300 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Roman Martel (Retired) // December 12th, 2010
There's a fine tradition in Japanese animation where you take a typical anime girl, put some cat ears on her head, throw in a tail, maybe some kitty paws and voila! You have an anime catgirl. Some folks really dig anime catgirls. Some folks see six of them on the cover and order the series right away to review. I know nothing about these folks.
Junpei (Shintaro Asanuma) has the worst luck. He was coming back from high school one day when he kicked a can off the street. It bounced into a small shrine and proceeded to behead the cat statue inside. Little did Junpei know that he unleashed the wrath of the cat statue! The first sign of the curse is immediate, he can understand the language of cats. This will come in handy, because the only way to remove the curse is to help out 100 cats with their problems. The minute the local felines discover that Junpei is their new savior, they come running. There is only one complication: Junpei is deathly allergic to cats.
But if Junpei doesn't help the cats he will slowly mutate into one. This would be bad, because he would allergic to his own fur and end up dying in a pool of his own snot. There is also one more proviso. Junpei can not tell anyone about the curse. If they find out, they will contract the curse as well and Junpei's transformation will accelerate.
So you can see the set up for some zany hijinks here. Junpei's going to have to balance his high school life with the demands of the felines. These requests range from the simple to the outrageous. Some kitties just need help out of a tree. Others demand Junpei to become their personal trainer, or to help them find a lost love. The whole time Junpei's got to keep the cats from getting too close or he ends up sneezing his brains out and attracting more attention to himself.
But wait! What about all those catgirls on the cover. Yeah, I was just getting to that. You see, this show isn't just a zany comedy. Nope it's also a harem show. You know the type, the one where one sad sack male somehow attracts every hot girl in the vicinity and for some odd reason they all fall for him. You get the cute and sweet Kaede (Yuka Iguchi), who Junpei has a major crush on. Then there's Kanako (Ryoko Shiraishi), Junpei's busty childhood friend who loves bossing him around and beating him up. Then there's Nagi (Yu Kobayashi), part of a mobster family and obsessed with beauty. Kotone (Haruka Tomatsu) and Akari (Haruka Tomatsu again!) are twin sisters who look quite a bit like Sailor Moon and have spiritual powers. And finally the older woman, Chizuru (Rina Sato), who spends most of the series teasing Junpei by flirting with or embarrassing him -- whichever she feels like.
I gotta be honest, I was a bit disappointed that this series turned out to be a harem show, because there are so many of those already. Make no mistake, the bulk of the show focuses on Junpei meeting and interacting with the girls. There's plenty of fan service with lots of short skirts, cleavage, hot springs, bath houses, and swimming pools involved. Unfortunately (for those aforementioned folks that I know nothing about) there are no actual catgirls in the show itself.
The whole cat curse is really just window dressing, but it makes for some hilarious moments. The primary goal of this series is to make you laugh and it does a good job. This is your typical over the top, Japanese anime humor. Some people can't stand it, but I got a kick out of a lot of the antics going on here. The funniest stuff involved the cats more outrageous demands.
Sentai Filmworks have given Nyan Koi a good release. The picture was nice and clear showing off all the girls and silly cat-astrophes to the best advantage. The Japanese dialogue was clear and the subtitles were easy to read. Be warned there are a few scenes where dialogue is flying, overlapping or combined with a helpful note about Japanese culture. You may find yourself pausing the show or rolling it back to read all the subs on the screen. No English dub, which is a shame, but not a deal breaker. For extras you get the typical textless opening and ending.
Nyan Koi isn't anything too new or different. Longtime anime viewers may not find much to like here. But fans of harem shows and cat lovers should get plenty of chuckles. I laughed out loud at least once for each of the twelve episodes and was smiling the rest of the time. For me, that makes an anime comedy a winner.
I won't risk the wrath of the cat statue! Not Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Sentai Filmworks
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Clean Open/Close