Mayoi Neko Overrun! could have been a great anime. Mayoi Neko Overrun! could have been the breakout series for Spring 2010. If only they had picked a direction.
This anime doesn't know what it wants to be. Unlike the manga, it's not pure ecchi/harem. Unlike the light novels upon which both the anime and manga are based, it's not even a good romance. Each episode of this anime feels like it belongs in a different series. The series starts off as a school life comedy, introducing many interesting characters.
The first three episodes set the scene for a story that never receives any flesh: Takumi and Fumino are orphans who grew up in the same orphanage, and even after Takumi is adopted by a globetrotting hottie named Otome, the two remain close friends. At home, Otome runs a western-style pastry shop named "Stray Cats." While Otome is out of town, Takumi and Fumino run the shop together. Fumino is a very steriotypical Tsundere, always saying the exact opposite of what she means, and often telling people to, "DIE TWICE!" The romance between Takumi and Fumino is highlighted early on, as after a night of semi-cuddling through a storm, Fumino confesses her love to Takumi.
Otome's latest trip lead to her bringing home a mysterious girl with no past named Nozomi. Nozomi has many cat like features, up to and including some very convincing neko mimi; she really is a stray cat. Even when she tries to leave her new home, Takumi explains that everyone at Stray Cats is an orphan, that she is welcome to stay.
And then the story just ... dies.
Fumino's confession goes unmentioned and isn't even acknowleged in Takumi's thoughts. Nozomi's past is rarely brought to the forefront. Episode 4 finds the characters at a hotspring with absolutely no explanation how or why; the main male characters are then abandoned in the woods after a ridiculous turn of events. Episode 5 finds the characters shooting a video for a club (which was barely mentioned before now) and the events are completely outside the "school life" realm. Episode six breaks completely away from all reason and is suddenly a mecha parody. The episodes have almost ZERO continuity, almost ZERO story, and are frustrating to watch.
Mayoi Neko is beautifully, seamlessly animated; that's the only compliment I can give this show. The music is upbeat, but annoying. The characters have no depth; the ladies are just eye candy, the boys are just punchlines.
If you want a harem/school-life/comedy/romance/drama, go watch Rosario to Vampire. They did perfectly what episodes 1-3 tried to set the scene for. Don't waste your time on Mayoi Neko Overrun unless you're looking for nothing but laughs, and you're able to laugh at some pretty base stuff. Overall, this gets a 4/10 from me, and I will not complete the series.
"There is only enough happiness on the plate for one" - Nozomi Kiriya, MNO
A quote from this anime and one very relevant to the harem genre. Not only that, but it is also important for our actual lives, i.e. truer words can't be said. Does this anime do anything about it however? Surprisingly, I found the first few episodes to be rather touching and I wondered if it had anything to do with the fact I was drunk. I bravely decided to try the rest without beer. Was it a good decision? One thing for sure, I can't do a review on an anime I've only ever watched under the influence.
Mayoi Neko (translates to stray cats) Overrun is a harem/ecchi anime with some comedy aspects (dare I say romance too?) about the highschool student employees of the 'Stray Cat' patisserie (cake shop). It seems to be all over the place, sometimes serious, sometimes joking around and making fun. Sure it's possible to mix the two, but honestly this one can't do it well. I like cats, however that fact will not affect this review. I also hate ecchi/harem and that will affect this review.
Cracking on, the animation quality itself is top-notch. The style seems to be a colourful one I've seen before, but there isn't much choice in that case. So if quality is not becoming an issue these days, how do I judge the animation? By what is animated, i.e. what they decide to animate. There is some ecchi and on my drunk run, I looked over it. However I noticed it a bit more when sober. Not much to say about it, I've complained enough already about ecchi in general.
Sound design is average. Music didn't really stand out and neither do I remember it enhancing the scenes, maybe because it wasn't good enough to be noticable? Can't say much more. This anime is only in Japanese so English subtitles are recommended.
The characters all work at Stray Cats and arguably there are 3 main ones, so lets start with the guy at the centre of the harem issue. Takumi Tsuzuki is a high-school student who works and lives at the Stray Cat, which happens to be the shop owned by his older sister. SPOILER< He is an orphan, who was taken in by Otome Tsuzuki after the orphanage closed and nobody would take him in. Fumiyo Serizawa was a fellow orphan at the time. >SPOILER As a character, he is initially an OK guy but soon you realise like most harem central characters, he lacks empathy and is too indecisive. He ends up in a situation where he is back to back with a nude girl (a stranger). His lack of action could be interpreted as him being a respectful person (who wouldn't do anything funny with a girl, he also says this to Fumino in one episode and... find out) or a gutless fool. You also find out that he is being heavily influenced by his otaku friend. A disappointing typical harem protagonist then.
Probably the most important of the potential romances, Fumino Serizawa is Takumi's childhood friend. Not much is said about her family. SPOILERS< Her real parents died in a car crash and she was one of two children left behind at the church when the orphanage closed and nobody took them in. Story suggests that Otome found Takumi first leaving Fumino on her own >SPOILERS This character gives MNO the tsundere tag and is the very definition of tsundere. If you don't know what it means, watch the first few episodes. She seems to often say the opposite of what she really feels causing somewhat serious problems. Obviously the romance department is afflicted by this. Takumi is one of the few characters who can understand her sometimes, however (though not when it really matters XS). She is of course hot headed (going hand in hand with the tsundere trait), often physically assualting and abusing Takumi, even when he's done nothign wrong. Sometimes I can feel sympathy for the guy and I feel that its wrong, but then I remember he's a typical indecisive harem protagonist so I loose my empathy for him. This character has me conflicted as to whether she deserves to be liked or not. Her background indicates that she needs a hug, but her Tsundere gets to the point of infuriating me and Takumi sure doesn't help. I'm not sure whether this was a mix-up with another character but apparently she likes to look after homeless animals, in other words: cats.
Nozomi Kiriya is the iconic catgirl of this anime. Somewhat mysterious in terms of her background, her cat-ears are never explained and she doesn't seem to have a tail. Maybe it's just the way her hair is done? She gets taken in by the Tsuzuki's at the start, just like a stray cat. Anyhow, Nozomi is a bit of a prodigy excelling in everything she tries at. One early example is that she is an expert at making goods for the patisserie, despite lacking experience. Other than that, her behavious is similar to that of an average cat. Therefore she doesn't talk much, often meowing and putting her hands up as paws and generally being passive and chilled out. Early on it doesn't seem that Nozomi is one of the potential romances, but she seems to have her mind set on Takumi by the end. After all, if there's only one bit of happiness on the plate, you might as well grab it and fight for it right?
The other character aren't as important. There's a big ego, selfish child-girl Chise Umenomori, who happens to be the daughter of a very wealthy family. Her two main maids happen to also be senior students at their school. A typical anime trope character. There also seems to be the typical anime trope Otaku perver character, Ieyasu Kikuchi claiming he only likes 2D girls (Despite the fact he is an anime character himself). This character is the worst of the bunch as he does the most bullshit pointless things in episode 6, almost getting the main character killed. Otome Tsuzuki is Takumi's big sister, owns the Stray Cat patisserie, has big breasts *sigh* and has a tendency to pick up stray cats and take them in, similarly to the people who live with her.
The story is very lacking. Of this 13 episode series, only 12 episodes are original 'story' (using the term very loosely) and the last is an overview of the plot (again, loosely) with the 3 romantic interests giving commentary. The plot arguably only takes place in the first 2-3 episodes and the last one the rest is pointless filler where nothing really happens. Both a token hotsprings and a token beach episode appear. No progress is made on any front other than having Nozomi live with the Tsuzuki's. Overall a pointless bullshit harem story. Theres even an episode entirely dedicated to a filler in the style of terrible combining mecha ala Power Rangers. Definitely the most pointless part of this series. This doesn't even have the chilled-out relaxing atmosphere, which would result in the lack of story being forgivable. It doesn't get the worst score, only due to 2 characters backstory however.
In the end I was right to not drink for most of the episodes, if only to give an accurate review. But during those episodes, I wish I had, since this was as pointless as most of the rest of this genre. Take it from me, only episodes 1-3 and 12 are worth watching and even then, it isn't a good anime. Had I been sober for all of it, I might have been more critical of the first few episode and therefore given it an even lower score.
Family-friendliness Rating: 4/5 I might call this ecchi rating, due to ecchi content but lack of nudity or other mature themes (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 3/10
Mayoi Neko Overrun, I honestly loved the anime! I think it was very funny. But, you shouldn't watch the anime if you don't like seeing girls naked. I liked the characters. They were pretty funny. Overall I loved this anime!