Reviews of Yesteryear: All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku (OVA)

Cat Girl Nuku Nuku originated as a Manga by Takada Yuzo, you may recognise him as the writer of supernatural works such as 3×3 eyes and Blue Seed. The manga originally spanned a single volume with three chapters, when serialised, but spawned three OVAs, the first two of which are generally combined, a TV anime and two sequels. How does a writer known for supernatural works do with comedic subject matter? Let’s take a look at All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, the combined OVAs. Not to be confused with the upcoming review which is going to cover the TV series. 

The story begins with a father and his son running away from a hovercraft Young Ryunosuke finds a kitten in an alley and decides to take it with them. They crash into a pile of junked cars which causes the hovercraft to lose sight of them. Frustrated, the pilot opens fire into the pile of cars. The father and son are both okay, but the injured kitten is dying. That’s when things move away from being serious and get really silly. The father transplants the cat’s brain into an android body. It turns out that they were being chased by employees of Ryunosuke’s mother who were trying to get him back from his father. The series launches into a group of loosely connected episodes dealing with Nuku Nuku’s difficulties fitting into a human society and the bickering between Ryunosuke’s parents which frequently involves giant robots. The overall story continually leads up to the two fighting less frequently and learning to understand each other which eventually culminates in them having to work together. If you’re wondering about the science facts just remind yourself of two things. One, it’s a comedy. Two, they never pretend that the science makes sense. As a comedy it actually holds up pretty well. The scenario has lots of good moments especially given its time limitations and the few serious moments generally work pretty well within the structure. The fight scenes are entertaining and most of them are pretty funny. It’s a high energy farce that’s fun for those old enough to appreciate the more mature humour used in certain parts. 

The characters are very well done. Both of Ryunosuke’s parents can be pretty terrible, but it makes them seem more genuine and human. The fact that they both have horrible and sympathetic moments makes them three dimensional characters. Ryunosuke can be a brat, but he’s also a character who’s usually very sensible. Nuku Nuku is just a very amusing character. Her extreme naivete and innocence make sense and they provide an interesting contrast when compared to the failings of the human characters. There are a few side characters who are somewhat developed, Eimi, Kyouko and Arisa, but, probably due largely to time restraints, they never get completely fleshed out.

The art is pretty dated. It’s a lot like the art of other works of the early 90s like Ranma 1/2. It’s fine in the context of its time, but it hasn’t aged particularly well and there are several moments where the art is used to exaggerate the emotions of the characters that don’t really work. My one big gripe is that there are a few too many fan-service moments.

The voice work is really good. Hayashibara Megumi, Shimazu Saeko, Ikura Kazue, and Kamiya Akira all do a good job. They all exaggerate on occasion, but it’s not like Baka to Test where lines get exaggerated indiscriminately, there’s always a reason for it. The music is excellent.

The yuri factor is a 3/10. Kyouko and Arisa get some pretty homoerotic moments, and they’re shown as living together but nothing is ever confirmed as being between them and those few moments aren’t really enough to judge.

My final rating for All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku is an 8/10. The plot is really used for setting more than an actual story, the art is dated, with too much fan-service and the science frequently doesn’t make sense but the humour works really well, the energy is good and the audio aspects are really strong. And isn’t that what’s really important from a comedy? If you find yourself in the mood for a good laugh, give it a try. All six episodes hold up really well. 

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