「迷い猫、駆けた」 (Mayoi Neko, Kaketa)
“Stray Cat, Dashed”
If you’ve been missing AIC and their great cat comedy Nyan Koi, then look no further than their new project this season involving the same felines we love, but of a slightly human variety too! Back in the Spring 2010 Preview (which seems like ages ago now with all the new shows that have aired), I mentioned how I felt this series was hard to recommend based on what I read in the manga. However, having watched this first episode, I realized I can showcase it from a very different perspective, which may just help you decide if it’s up your (cat) alley (more on this in a bit).
Fundamentally speaking, we have a story about an orphan high school boy named Tsuzuki Takumi (Okamoto Nobuhiko), his childhood tsundere and very dishonest with herself friend Serizawa Fumino (Itou Kanae), and his older sister Otome (Satou Satomi) who runs a run-down cake shop. Not quite the premise one would think of after I mentioned cats are involved, but Otome has a knack for helping out anyone in need (even gangsters) and taking in stray cats off the street. Things take an interesting turn here when Otome takes in a beautiful cat-like girl named Kiriya Nozomi (Taketatsu Ayana). So with that, we have cakes, stray cats, and a mysterious cat-like girl, which proved to be a lot funnier and enjoyable than even I was expecting. Given how I’ve kept a constant eye out for AIC’s work ever since Nyan Koi and Sora no Otoshimono last fall, this one is pretty much a shoo-in for me now, having seen the awesome animation quality I know and love. Throw in a few character stereotypes backed by a plethora of great seiyuu names and it’s great comedic fun, which at times is very reminiscent of the hilarious Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, whose short one-cour run just ended.
Now here’s the other side of things, which you may be able to relate to. As someone who instinctively picks up seiyuu voices and associates it with the characters they’ve played, I couldn’t help but tie in this series with various others and enjoy it more because of that. As a male protagonist who isn’t trying to be perverted yet “magically” gets caught up in it, Takumi is a lot like Yoichi in Asu no Yoichi. His childhood tsundere friend Fumino and her dishonesty with him is very reminiscent of Airi from Queen’s Blade, who just so happens to be my favorite character in that show. Nozomi on the other hand is “Azu-nyan” herself, so what more do I have to say about that then, AZUU-NYANNN!!
Those three merely are the tip of the iceberg however, as we then have the rich loli Umenomori Chise (Iguchi Yuka) and her two personal maids Satou (Satou Rina) and Shizuku (Arai Satomi), who no matter how you look at it, are Misaka Mikoto and Shirai Kuroko from a certain scientific railgun waiting hand and foot on Index from a certain magical index in disguise! That’s not all though, as we have Takumi’s otaku friend Kikuchi Ieyasu played by Yoshino Hiroyuki, who’s all types of awesome when he portrays the Saruyama role of To LOVE-Ru over a Gundam pilot or a secret agent. And finally, there’s the club leader of a light music club as Takumi’s older sister Otome, plus the Horie Yui x Tamura Yukari duo we haven’t seen too much of yet.
I realize those aren’t great reasons for getting extra entertainment out of this series, but if you’ve seen any of the ones I mentioned above and have an idea where I’m coming from, you may just feel the same way. Like I mentioned above, I enjoyed this first episode even before I made those connections, so it still does offer something in the way of a harem-esque romantic comedy. Animation by AIC looks spectacular, the series has a nice assortment of characters (Fumino is so cute when she’s dishonest and flustered), and there were some decent laughs, so this series is perfect for me. Throw in the cast mentioned above and then it’s just that much better.
Finally, I should note it didn’t quite follow Black Cat/To LOVE-Ru creator Yabuki Kentarou‘s manga adaptation of the light novel, meaning this may be the original source material. Either way, I liked the anime’s take in this introductory episode more and can now make a recommendation on it. Nyan Koi and BakaTest lovers, get on board!