Anime Reel – Anime & Manga TV News

Fall Anime Review – Nyankoi!

Posted on: November 3, 2009

Yes, the characters in Nyankoi! love cats.

Nyankoi! reminds me of the “good old days” of light-hearted comedies like Tenchi Muyo! and El Hazard, which really isn’t surprising because it is from AIC, the same studio that gave us those old favorites. It’s a bit predictable, and it certainly won’t win any awards for originality, but it’s a lot of fun that shucks the recent trends of excessive fan service and rampant lesbianism.

Nyankoi! revolves around Kousaka Junpei, a generic anime boy who is defined by his horrific allergy to cats and his not-so-secret crush on popular classmate Mizuno Kaede. An unfortunate accident involving the local cat god statue gives him a curse that gives him the ability to speak to cats, and if he doesn’t the wishes of a hundred cats, he’ll turn into a cat himself (and, presumably, die from being allergic to himself).

Nyamusasu (Nyamsus?), Junpei's family cat. She's voiced by the Major.

Junpei's cat has the most authoritative voice in the show, because she's The Major.

The quirky premise lets the writers have some freedom with the characters and jokes, and the first episode is a great example of this. After receiving his first request from a local cat, Junpei is forced to try and explain to Kaede why the local cats don’t like her. The ensuing conversation is hilarious, as Junpei is caught between a feline peanut gallery begging him to tell off the girl of his dreams and a clueless Kaede, who doesn’t know he can talk to cats. Between a set of great visual gags and a good punch line where Junpei shouts at the cats to get away from him and ends up scaring Kaede into running away, I knew that I’d have fun with this show.

Are you okay? Buster Wolf!

This scene is why I like Kaede. She thinks she's helping.

The last few episodes haven’t quite been as good as the first episode so far, but they’ve mostly been setup episodes, as new girls are introduced and, because there are Rules about these things, find a way to fall in love with Junpei. The general silly mood has been intact, and the show remains amusing throughout. The introduction of Ichinose Nagi has been a good addition to the show’s general comedy level, because crazy rich girls have always been fertile ground for great jokes (see: Hayate no Gotoku!).

The latest episode was pretty funny, but what surprised me was that the major relationships of the series make continual forward progress – most romantic comedies of this kind try and drag out the inevitable ending as long as possible in order to stretch out the material (I’m looking at you, Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu), but Junpei and Kaede may actually have a chance to work things out at the end. It’s a pleasant change from the usual formula, and I’m still happily watching each new episode without any reservations.

Junpei and Nagi (in the sarcophagus)

This passes as a serious conversation in Nyankoi!

I’m going to keep watching Nyankoi! to see if it can live up to its full potential, which really isn’t asking much. It’s a very fluffy show, and as long as it stays generally likeable and funny, it’ll be everything I ever wanted: an enjoyable little romp I’m not embarrassed to watch.

The Good:

– Solid romantic comedy that reminds you of the early ’90s (in a good way)
– The characters are likeable and crazy, without anyone being annoying.
– Actual character relationship progression, which never happened in the Ranma-style romcom.

The Bad:

– Nyankoi! is yet another high school romantic comedy in a medium dominated by them.

The Ugly:

– For some reason, the producers posted graffiti drawings of poop at the end of the first two episodes.

7 Responses to "Fall Anime Review – Nyankoi!"

Lookin good Dom, but I know you’re kind of a stickler for it, you seem to have some broken thought-lines in there, where you paused, and decided to write something else, but left the first part of the original line.
“haven’t quite lived been as good” being one of them. 😛

But you hit the nail squarely on the head with this one, there’s nothing really amazing about it, but it’s a great throwback to the older RomComs without all the blatant fanservice and lesbians crawling all over everything, everywhere. Not that we have anything against lesbians of course, it’s just been a huge trend (especially this season) to shove it down our throats for the extra sexual tension, and perverted jokes.

Oh yes, probably the only show in the current season that I’m actually looking forward to every week (:
(though, as usual, the character I really like never ends up being the main love interest D: )

as Cat-Lover I have to love this anime!! keep watching!!

> – For some reason, the producers posted graffiti drawings of poop at the end of the first two episodes.

Those are drawings by the seiyuu Kobayashi Yuu who has a role in the series. Her, er, “abstract” drawings is famous in the industry and popular amongst fans.

That makes sense, but, umm, why?

You know why, it’s marketing. When it comes to marketing it doesn’t have to make sense. If it gets a few more 2chers and bloggers to post about the horrible abstract art she draws it served its purpose.

[…] cat-centric romantic comedy Nyan Koi! to its December release slate. The series was one of my surprise favorites of 2009, combining silly comedy with occasional flashes of decent writing to become an above-average romcom […]

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