Some of you may recall my review of the hilariously titled All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku OVA. During that review I mentioned that, in addition to the OVA, there are multiple TV anime. The first was written by Yamaguchi Hiroshi based on the manga by Takada Yuzo. The Studio behind it was Ashi Productions, which was not the same studio behind the OVA, oddly enough. Let’s take a look and see if it’s as bizarre and humorous as the OVA.
There’s no over-arcing story. The premise is that our cat-brained android protagonist, Nuku Nuku, begins attending High school in order to learn what it means to be human. Complicating matters is the battle she has to wage against the evil Mishima industries. Naturally, this leads to whacky hijinks. Probably a good move since a more serious look at the basic premise would almost certainly be terrible.
Overall, the humour does work pretty well. There are a lot of running gags, but they almost all get enough variation in execution that they do stay consistently funny. I also like the way they handle Mishima, with the young president having everyone dress in ridiculous costumes and going into rants about ruling the world while his employees just kind of go along with it because it doesn’t interfere with them producing things too much and he’s in charge. The series has a good blend of outlandish elements and ordinary elements that lends itself very well to comedic situations.
That being said, there are some failings to it. The biggest one is the final episode. I won’t spoil it, but they try to have a more dramatic moment and it utterly fails. While it is possible to have a comedy with serious scenes, it doesn’t work when you have all of one such moment in a series comprised almost entirely of zany antics. There are also some jokes that aren’t really funny. For example, one of the reoccurring jokes is having twins declare the snobby rich girl to be correct. It’s funny because…. they’re minions, I guess? The opening narration is also repeated every episode. The first time, it is a funny moment, pointing out the discontinuity between the TV series and the previous OVA. The other eleven times, it just seems like needless padding.
This is one of those comedic series where the characters are almost exclusively one-dimensional stereotypes. The series, oddly enough, elects to have captions telling you those traits, which they use multiple times. That being said, the specific character tropes that the series uses do mesh well together for comedic purposes. Even the twins manage to have some funny moments on those few occasions when they get more dialogue aside from their standard line.
The TV series has basically the same early 90s art style as the OVA, in spite of coming out five years later. It is a little smoother and more detailed, but not the marked improvement you would expect. Possibly because they wanted to emulate the look of the original OVA as much as they could. It doesn’t look bad, but it hasn’t exactly aged gracefully. This series also does a lot less with unnecessary fan-service. By which I mean it really doesn’t have any. About the closest you get is a beach scene but there’s really nothing sexualised about it so I would hesitate to call it fan-service.
The voice acting is excellent. Hayashibara Megumi reprises her role as the titular cat-brained android. Ikura Kazue, Hiramatsu Akiko, Kamiya Akira, Shimazu Saeko and Hisakawa Aya all reprise their roles as well. The acting is surprisingly subtle for a zany comedy, occasionally moving into exaggeration but largely featuring realistic emotions and responses. Odd that a comedic series can have more varied and realistic emotional content than a certain serious series could manage.
There are multiple musical numbers within the episodes, including a karaoke episode and a musical episode. Most of the songs do sound, minimally, decent. Some are outright excellent, Hayashibara Megumi’s numbers in particular. Some are deliberately bad and used for comedic effect. Fortunately, those are in the minority so they never really get tiring.
The closest thing you get to ho-yay in this series is the dynamic between Chieko and her minions. At least in the latter episodes when they start getting varied dialogue. There’s also one kind of gross joke involving possession and an alien mouse. The Ho-yay factor is a 2/10.
Nuku Nuku TV is a fun little series. It has a good sense of humour, excellent acting & superb music. Where it falls a little short is that some of the jokes fall flat, it tries and fails at having a serious scene and most of the characters are pretty bland. Which isn’t a huge issue for a comedy, but it’s still a bit of a problem. All in all, the OVA was a little better but this is still good for some laughs. Final rating, 7/10. Next week, Serial Experiments Lain.