Listen to the background noise in ISSUP (the international study of something umm.... perverted) long enough and you hear the same anime show names banded about after a while. From Strike Witches to Queen’s Blade, I usually end up watching them all for the “lulz”. One that really caught my eye, however, was the amusing sounding Nyan Koi: an ecchi romp that comes with more than its fair share of delightful cat ears.
Telling the tale of the unfortunate Junpei Kousaka, the show revels in this poor guy’s misfortune. After knocking the head off a neko-statue, he is cursed by a deity and told he must both worship cats and also appease 100 kitties or he will be turned into a feline himself! This plot line takes a backseat to the developing harem Junpei finds forming around himself, even though he is only interested in the coy Kaede. Addressing all aspects of male fantasies, the barrage of moe, tsundere, kindergarten friend and twins that the unappreciative male finds flocking to him somehow seems more believable than many other similar ecchi titles.
As the episodes tumble aside effortlessly, the writer's come up with new and creative ways of torturing the poor protagonist; from an aggressive challenge from tomboy Nagi - who suddenly takes a liking to the curvaceous Kanako’s sweater-puppies, to the mysterious twins with contrasting personalities who both love and hate the brow-beaten schoolboy, Junpei's misery is what makes the show so humorous. Although Nyan Koi’s strange pretence eventually transforms into a typical harem, its friendships and group dynamics are what keep the show a step ahead of the competition.
Although there is a sense of “been there, done that” with certain romantic aspects of the show, an abundance of bizarre genres save Nyan Koi from becoming a bland snooze-fest. The typical swimsuit and hot spring features are redeemed with magical girl transformations and moments of outright ecchi. It is often the small things that stand out, and usually the perverted ones at that, but a series that makes you laugh out loud is definitely not one to be ignored.
Focussing on the main characters, the animation is gorgeous; their subtle, feline like eyes or the cute neko-style top lip give an unmistakable kawaii flavour, usually reserved for catgirls in ecchi anime. However, there are moments of slippage, when faces look extremely sketchy and rushed. This is usually redeemed by the use of very successful comedy reactions, in both humans AND animals. The backgrounds are highly detailed and compliment the brightly coloured foreground features perfectly, especially in some of the fast paced scenes that make excellent use of CG effects.
I’m really not a fan of music used in harem or romance shows – the whiny, girly tones just aren’t for me. Luckily, the generic fluffy crap is reserved for the OP and ED and so is easily skippable. The ongoing use of “Chopsticks” in the background is cute and fits the slow-motion comedy scenes perfectly. Ultimately, what stands out for me in the audio department is the excellent voice acting; care and consideration seems to have gone into each seiyuu, so they make the personalities of their assigned characters simply shine.
As someone with Neko-phobia, I can totally relate to Junpei’s awkward predicament. Being forced to revere cats so that he doesn’t transform into one would be an utter nightmare, but he handles it well, especially considering his allergies. Starting out as somewhat of a distant and cold character, his experiences with kitty-kind soon warms his heart and helps to guide him through the tricky minefield of high school love. Feeling sympathy for the poor guy, it seems the more girls he meets, the more people there are to kick his sorry ass!
By far, Kanako was my favourite character. Her tough exterior and gross make-up is a thin shell to hide the lovelorn girl within, and it is this vulnerability that gives the tsundere a lovable side. Her transformation into a gorgeous, buxom babe is perhaps predictable, but not unwelcome. Kaede is a typical ditz who seems to be picked up on every guy’s skirt radar. Although she is a little flaky, her reactions to Junpei are often hilarious and not as annoying as some other female harem characters I could name.
The other half of the cast are made up of the pet kitties belonging to each human character. Their personalities are as diverse and colourful as that of their owners, and this only goes to add a new dimension to the humans as it seems their inner monologue has substance. Often short and cutting, the cats seem to hoard the best one-liners in the show.
As a dog lover, I really have no place enjoying Nyan Koi quite as much as I did; much of the comedy is aimed at cat owners who will truly appreciate the aloof nature and stereotypical actions of the feline stars. Still, the humour is easily accessible to everyone, especially with the addition of the diverse female harem (and accompanying kitties). Amazingly cute and continuously funny, Nyan Koi suffers from a few forgivable flaws. Overlooking the blemishes, the show avoids being a typical "boy surrounded by a host of beauties" and brings something new to the anime world. In short: if you love pussy, I highly recommend this show.
Everyone around Kousaka seems to adore cats, but due to his allergies the teen can’t stand them. So when he wakes up one day and can hear what every feline is saying, Kousaka is annoyed to say the least. His new “gift,” it seems, is the result of accidentally breaking an enshrined statue of a cat; and what’s worse, Kousaka must atone for his sin and appease the vengeful spirit by aiding one hundred kitties-in-distress, or become a furry feline himself! Now, amidst helping various cats with mundane and trivial issues, Kousaka must try to dispel the jinx and attempt to salvage his self-respect – not to mention his love life - along the way.
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As a not-so-closet perv, I love watching anything involving panty-shots, handfuls of cleavage and an innuendo fuelled plot. Although most of my reviews will err on the risque, I also love the obscure, the twisted and things that make you think - drop me a line if you want to discuss any of them!