More fun than a dozen internet cat videos. Maybe.
What They Say:
When cat-allergic Junpei Kosaka damages a statue of a cat deity, the cats don’t just get his tongue, they put theirs in his mouth! Now cursed with the ability to understand felines, Junpei must perform one-hundred great favors for cat-kind or face the fate of being turned into a cat himself!
Life quickly becomes a purrfect hell as every cat in the neighborhood starts sending Junpei their list of “requests.” And if the kitties weren’t already whipping him into a cat-atonic stupor, the women in his life are making things even worse. His sister, mom, and the girl he has secret feelings for are all cat-crazy; the local Yakuza’s daughter is playing cat and mouse; the local cat-owning monk’s daughters are acting catty; and Junpei’s childhood best friend is ready to use him as a scratching post!
Contains episodes 1-12.
This release only comes with the Japanese dub, which is offered in 2.0. The mix is fine, though basic. There is a little directionality with some of the sound effects, but the dialogue stays in the center. The channels are clear, though, with no dropout at any point.
In general, this is a well done show. I love the character designs, and the animation is solid. Colors are bright and the lining is bold. The transfer is mostly clean, but there are some instances of noise in the darker scenes. Not enough to be an issue, but somewhat noticeable if you are looking for it.
The two discs come in a single amaray case with center insert. The front cover has a picture of the main female cast, all with cat ears and wearing cabaret outfits. The back has a picture of some of the cats as well as the twins in swim suits. This is set to some screen shots and the series summary. All-in-all, it’s a very nice design that shows off the cast and the main idea of the series well.
In general, the menus are basic, but there is a nice feature that I found amusing. The main menu has a picture of a couple of the girls in their school uniforms with the selections offered to the left. The menus are cheerful, and the selections are easy to see and follow. The funny feature is that if you click on the special features menu of each disc, there are new pictures of the featured girls in virtually identical poses, but this time showing more fanservice. DVD menus are often so basic that there isn’t much to look at, but this was a fun design feature.
All that are available on this release are clean versions of the OP/ED.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For this review, I watched the original US DVD release of Nyan Koi, which was a sub-only release in December 2010. In December 2013, the series was re-released on both DVD and BD with a proper English dub. While I am not much one for double-dipping, I much prefer having dubs, and this series was more than enough fun to justify going and getting the dubbed version.
Junpei Kosaka is a typical high school boy: he goes to school, hangs out with friends, and has a serious crush on Kaede Mizuno, the cutest girl in class. He also doesn’t tend to take too much seriously, which is why when he breaks the statue of a cat outside a temple on his way home from school one day, he doesn’t think much of it. But it’s weird, ever since breaking that cat statue, he has the ability to actually understand cats when they speak.
The problem here is that the statue was a representation of a cat deity, and this deity has placed a curse on Junpei, one that can only be lifted after paying off his sins. In order to do this, Junpei must help out one hundred cats in need with whatever request they might have. Failure to do so will result in Junpei being turned into a cat himself. All of this would be fine but for one problem: Junpei is extremely allergic to cats. Just one getting close to him is enough to set off some terrible reactions. But he has to put up with it, because he realizes that if he were to turn into a cat, his allergies would likely kill him.
Nyan Koi is one of those anime that makes no apologies for what it is. It’s a harem title with plenty of fanservice and a healthy amount of comedy. But while it doesn’t achieve anything more than that, it also makes the correct choice to never really pretend it is anything more than that either. I can appreciate this—often times, an anime will try to shoehorn in some forced drama or a heightened storyline near the end to try and give it some sort of gravity that will make it stick, but usually it just breaks the flow of what the anime was doing well in the first place. Nyan Koi avoids this trap.
The story is generally driven by Junpei’s attraction to Kaede, as just about everything he does is an attempt to get her to notice him, of course the fact that she notices, and he doesn’t really notice that she is noticing (and vice versa) just tends to lead to more problems. On the surface, it’s every other harem attraction ever; any time they are about to get close, something happens to interrupt the moment. Sometimes this interruption comes in the form of Junpei’s childhood friend, Sumiyoshi (who also has a crush on Junpei), sometimes it is cats showing up needing help, and sometimes it is just something totally random. Whatever it is, something always happens to keep Junpei and Kaede from becoming something more than friends.
And this structure works in the case of Nyan Koi for a few reasons. The first is that Junpei and Kaede make a really cute (potential) couple. Junpei is likeable in the protagonist’s role, and Kaede is great as the seemingly unattainable girl who is good at everything she does. As friends, they work well together, but the chemistry is definitely there whenever the wall between them looks to be crumbling. They just look great together as a (potential) couple.
The other reason, which is partially related, is that Nyan Koi doesn’t really do anything to confuse the issue, either. From the outset, it is obvious that Junpei and Kaede like each other. The only possible wrench in the plan is that Sumiyoshi also likes Junpei, but on a certain level, she always understands that she is fighting a losing battle. The rest of the girls surrounding these three offer no more than friendship, and generally try to stay out of the chase. By keeping it simple like this, the series is able to focus on the couple things that matter: Junpei’s curse and his feelings for Kaede.
Nyan Koi was a very enjoyable anime. To be honest, I really don’t have anything negative to say about it. That doesn’t mean it was the greatest thing ever, but it doesn’t try to be, either, and I had a lot of fun for its twelve episode run. The story is neat, the characters are great, and it never strives to be more than it is, which definitely works in its favor. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: D
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: December 14, 2010
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Sony PS3 w/HDMI Connection, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System