Ankoku Cat is a six episode ONA from Fanworks, a studio I’ve never reviewed or seen anything from before. Mainly because they haven’t done that much. I only found about ten anime listed as having had them work on them, most of which are series with really short run times. So, let’s take a look at Ankoku Cat and try to get some idea of what they’re about.
It’s not a complicated story. A city is taking measures to deal with the stray cat problem. A problem which has escalated recently because of the titular Ankoku Cat, who has been causing problems for people with his pranks and who humans assume to be the boss of all the other stray cats. Yeah, it’s a simple story which is all you can really expect from a six episode series. Is it well done?
There are certainly issues with the execution in this. For such a short series they waste a lot of time. Each episode has a run-time of just over six minutes and a full minute of that is spent on the opening theme. And that’s not the only way they waste time either. There are multiple episodes that barely connect to the main story. Look, I’m not against trying to have some minimal story in a really short series, but if you’re going to do it you need to keep it tightly focused and not spend half your time on things that don’t really have anything to do with it. On the other hand, having a short series without a story where the focus is on a cat playing pranks on people and causing trouble is also fine, but if you’re going to do that don’t bother trying to include a story. Just let it be about the shenanigans. Then we’ve got an episode that doesn’t deal with either the plot or with shenanigans, focusing instead on a child learning to deal with death and the Ankoku Cat barely appears in it. Lovely. There’s also the story itself. It doesn’t really have any impact since the Ankoku Cat just gets through the obstacles it puts in his path really easily. I will say, to the series’ credit, that it does have some funny scenes when it isn’t trying to shove in plot. There are a few comedic moments that fall short, but most of them work pretty well.
There isn’t much to say about the characters. They put in some back story for our “hero”, but it doesn’t do much aside from giving him some token motivation for not liking humans. Aside from that the characters we see are just one-dimensional. I can’t fault the series for that too much, though, since it is so short and couldn’t really develop them well in the time frame it has unless it focused entirely on that.
The art is actually pretty bad in this one. The art looks blocky and the animation looks stilted and unnatural. It looks like it uses flash animation and I know that flash animation can look a lot better than this, I’ve seen things that used it and looked fabulous. But this looks like it was done by a single, relatively inexperienced person putting, maybe a half hour of work into each episode. I will say that I like Ankoku Cat’s outfit. It is epically ridiculous. It looks like he’s trying to be the front man of a Glam Rock band, or possibly like he’s entering a figure skating competition. The only problem with it is that he’s a cat and yet he stands like a human and his outfit is clearly designed so that it wouldn’t actually fit a cat but since this is a short comedic series I’ll let that pass.
Ankoku Cat is one of those series where nothing stands out about the acting. It’s neither good nor bad. It’s serviceable. The music can be pretty good. At least the music they play when the Ankoku Cat goes into action is good. The rest of it isn’t bad but it is bland.
There isn’t any in this series.
Ankoku Cat’s biggest weakness is its lack of focus. If this had been a series purely about the comedic shenanigans of a cat in an absurd costume then it probably would have been pretty good, but then they throw in episodes about a child learning to deal with death or dealing with an underlying plot that no one cares about because it’s so ill developed. It’s still not a bad series but it can certainly be really boring at times. My final rating is going to be a 4/10. If the premise sounds appealing, feel free to give it a try. The plot is going to interrupt things before they get to be much fun but you still might have a bit of fun. Next week I’ll look at Explorer Woman Ray.