ADV Films // 2004 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Gutierrez (Retired) // April 1st, 2004
..."...this is just really dumb." -- Ryunosuke Natsume
I can't pretend to understand what passes for humor in this DVD. When I first read the title, I assumed that I would be transported into a wonderful land of cat girls who did something called "nuku nuku." I was sadly mistaken.
When Kyusaka Natusume took the brain of a cat and placed it into an Androbot shell, he ended up with the mentally challenged, overly strong teenager Nuku Nuku. He appointed his son, Ryunosuke, as her guide, tutor, and constant reminder that Nuku Nuku must never reveal her identity as a robot. While she tries to adapt to living amongst humans and attending school, she must also do battle with the robots gone amok creations of Mishima Industry (AKA the subtly named Black Industry).
The humor in this collection of episodes is completely lost on me. Nuku Nuku cleans herself by licking herself, takes "cat naps," and brings cat food to school for lunch. Is a crazy robot laundry machine funny? For about two seconds, yes, but then it becomes inane and painful. If I didn't have to endure watching the whole DVD, I wouldn't have. Yet something kept my attention. It wasn't until hours later that I realized what it was. I realized I was watching Small Wonder over and over again. The TV show from the '80s was back in full formula. Inventor dad? Check. Brother who acts as guide and character identifies most strongly with? Check. Robotic daughter that does not know her own strength yet who is cute enough to evade any real punishment and will stand up for family in times of crisis? Check. Nuku Nuku has taken a step further by developing the mother character into an executive working for the same company her husband hates and wants destroyed. This dramatic turn adds the much-needed layer of complexity that Small Wonder lacked. Both shows explored what it meant to be human and asked the question "how does a robot girl become a real girl?" Unfortunately, both shows are unfunny and a complete waste of time. I'm still trying to figure out what purpose this "All Purpose" cat girl fulfills. As I understand it, she exists to stop Black Industry from its world domination goals. Maybe something's lost in the translation or maybe I'm reading too much into it, but if someone's going to build a robot and make it a teenage girl at that, I have wonder what purpose she truly serves. "Nuku Nuku" indeed.
It's sad when a character sums up my feelings in the first ten minutes. Little Ryunosuke tells me not to be confused, but instead instructs me to recognize what's happening is stupid.
The picture was grainy at times and didn't feel like a very good transfer. I saw this DVD twice (once in English and once in Japanese) and I still found the overacting to get on my nerves. The English dub was very grating. I understand the need for high-pitched delivery, but this was truly awful.
The DVD contains four amusingly titled episodes. I liked one of them. Some spoilers, so beware.
* "Enter Nuku Nuku! Keep The Peace On Earth!"
Nuku Nuku leaps to the rescue and saves her classmate from a killer washing machine. We are introduced to Nuku Nuku's world on her first day of school. This episode acts as a set up for the zaniness to follow.
* "Nuku Nuku Vs. Ancient Ruin. Legendary God Appears!"
Classmate Rei thinks she has premonitions of an ancient evil that Nuku Nuku eventually unleashes. The rub is that it's not an ancient evil at all, just a discarded Black Industry robot. We also learn a valuable lesson about science and faith.
* "Nuku Nuku's Cooking School! Non-chan's Love Attack Plan!"
Ryunosuke's neighbor is in love with him and charms her way into the family's kitchen. She tries to teach Nuku Nuku how to cook while attempting to cement herself into the family. I liked this episode because it was a charming departure from what came before and what would come shortly after.
* "Nuku Nuku Sings With All Her Heart! Family Vs. Family Singing
The title sums up exactly what happens. Nuku Nuku, once again, evades a robot, only this time, there is singing!
Some people really like Jerry Lewis's comedy. Some people may think that a robot girl with a cat's brain is the bee's knees. What's nice about these episodes is that they're elementary and easy to follow. Every episode begins with a quick synopsis of what Nuku Nuku is. The DVD also allows the viewing of "clean" versions of the opening and closing credits, unhampered by any text or subtitles.
Avoid, avoid, avoid. I did some research and found out that there are previous versions of the Nuku Nuku saga and what I had just watched was a re-introduction of the concept. I am frightened that someone said "Hey, let's try that Nuku Nuku thing again." Does the world really need more Nuku Nuku? And really, if you're going to put a cat's brain into a robot, shouldn't it just be a cat robot? Or another mechanical feline of some kind?
Nuku Nuku should quit with the catnaps and take the dirt nap!
Review content copyright © 2004 David Gutierrez; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 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: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Clean Opening and Closing Animation
* ADV Previews