OP: 「神サマといっしょ」 (Kami-sama to Issho) by 戸松遥, 堀江由衣 (Tomatsu Haruka, Horie Yui)
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「貧乏神インスペクト+」 (Binbougami Insupekuto)
“God of Poverty Inspection”
Local deities in the 21st century are what it’s all about in the adaptation of mangaka duo FLIPFLOPs’ 2007 fantasy comedy series. At first glance, the character designs are reminiscent of the ones seen in the Touhou Project anime. Replace the demons and youkai with gods and we have Nekogami Yaoyorozu — or at least, that’s the immediate visual impression that AIC PLUS+’s anime gives off. In terms of actual content, “Cat God” will probably go down as another case of cute characters doing cute things; however, what sets it apart is that the focus on local gods and how nonchalant they are with their responsibilities. More often than not, they act purely out of self-interest, which is as greedy as it sounds, except it leads to a lot of quirky situations befitting of the nature of this series.
At the center of it all is the cat deity Mayu (Tomatsu Haruka), who specializes in the recover of lost items and memories. That’s pretty much the extent of her powers, after being sent down to Earth by her mother, Amanokuranomori Akarinohime (Arai Satomi), for causing problems up in the heavens. (That’s one heck of a long name.) Humorously enough, it’s been four years since that opening flashback, and Mayu now finds herself freeloading and playing video games all day at the antique store Yaoyorozu, even when owner Komiya Yuzu (Horie Yui) is struggling financially. This in turn leads to an amusing dynamic, since Yuzu is respectful of Mayu even though she’s hardly worth worshiping. At the same time, she tends to return the favor by guilt-tripping Mayu.
Of course, the two of them alone can only drive the humor so much, which is where all of Mayu’s friends come in. Some of them are probably better considered acquaintances since Mayu have a particularly fond image of them. Incidentally, it’s Mayu’s grief where most of my amusement came from in this first episode, like when childhood friend and fellow cat deity Shousouin Sasana (Kayano Ai) was introduced as her fiancée due to a misunderstanding between their parents. Given Mayu’s freeloading ways, I couldn’t help but revel in her dismay when Sasana showed that she’s still very keen on marrying Mayu. Adding to it was the granddaughter of the god of darkness, Meiko (Taketatsu Ayana), who absolutely adores Mayu simply because she was the first person to reach out to her. I just loved seeing the regret on Mayu’s face for doing so. On the receiving end of Mayu’s comebacks is the god of harvest, Gonta (Sanpei Yuuko), who brings it upon himself for being completely infatuated with Yuzu. Their back and forth bickering was fairly entertaining to watch, when put in perspective on how their idiocy will unite as soon as they catch wind of the god of poverty Shamo (Toyosaki Aki) paying their town a visit. Their overreaction was a nice contrast to the cute yet economically dangerous depiction of Shamo and pretty much drove the comedy for the rest of the episode.
While none of the above led to any extremely funny moments, it was the all the quirky moments together that made this first showing fairly enjoyable. To that end, the cast goes a long way in bringing out the personalities of these easygoing local deities, starting with Tomatsu Haruka in the lead role. She busts out an archaic style of Japanese, which I always find intriguing to listen to, much like how Yuina likes to speak in different dialects in Hanasaku Iroha. Sanpei Yuuko is also fun to listen too, when she’s doing goofy roles like Gonta instead of fairly serious Iron Qwaser ones. It never hurts to see more of Taketatsu Ayana in prissy-type roles either, given how the K-ON star has proven that she has an affinity for it after starring Oreimo. My favorite had to be fellow K-ON star Toyosaki Aki though, for using a soft-spoken and raspy voice that’s a little different from every role she’s voiced before. In addition to Kayano Ai who’s appearing in more and more roles as of late, we’ll soon see MAKO, Takagaki Ayahi, Shimoda Asami, and Mizuhashi Kaori completing the female cast — all seiyuu whose acting I enjoy. An opening theme by Hocchan and Tomatsu Haruka is just icing on the cake.
For most viewers, all the seiyuu involved won’t mean very much, so the main thing to take away is that Nekogami is a lighthearted comedy that isn’t striving for too much. Your mileage will definitely vary depending on what you’re hoping to get out of watching an anime, making this title hard to recommend for any particular reason. One of the things it does have going for it is screen writer Machida Touko, who handled a similar kind of show, Lucky Star. For the time being, I intend to keep following this one, but won’t be covering any more episodes on a weekly basis. Please look to the monthly Retrospective Looks for more thoughts as the season moves along.
* Note: This is one of twelve new titles that Crunchyroll picked up for the summer season; however, their simulcast is two days later than the first airing on AT-X. See here for the other titles they’ve announced.
* Interesting end card.
ED: 「Oh My God♥」 by 戸松遥 (Tomatsu Haruka)
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