And today, I review one from the depths of the archives: All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku. Dating from the distant past of 1992, its format is something that’s almost entirely lost to anime today: the short OVA series. Rather than padding out a story to fit a single cour, they just make a comfortable number of episodes released straight to video.
On the run with his son from his slightly nuts ex-wife, a genius inventor puts the brain of a mortally wounded cat into an android body made to look like a high school girl to act as a companion/big sister to his son and a bodyguard for them both. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Well, it is. It’s also entertainment gold. The android – notionally named Atsuko, but always called Nuku Nuku – tends to overdo things. But in a way, this is just as well, because so does Akiko, the ex-wife. Who runs a massive weapons manufacturer. And will stop at nothing to get the son she’s been smothering back.
Nuku Nuku herself is a great character – the sort of mix of naïve and stupidly strong that has tremendous comedy potential. Akiko and her two henchwomen are good characters for the setting too – highly resourced and motivated, and trigger-happy respectively. And of course Kyusaku, the genius inventor who must qualify as a mad scientist for putting a cat’s brain in an android body.
In terms of art and animation quality, it’s pretty good – especially for its time. One of the other advantages of the OVA format is that without a weekly TV schedule to animate for, the animators can take their time a bit more to produce good animation on a budget. It’s actually almost a shame it was just a six-part OVA; it always felt to me like there was another quality episode or two that the setting could have provided. But maybe it’s for the best; there were two remakes, a TV series and Nuku Nuku Dash, but they weren’t very good. In terms of story – well, it never really comes to a conclusion as such, but given the situation, I can’t really see how it could come to a satisfying conclusion anyway.
Tracking down a copy might be a bit of effort and/or expense these days, but it’s easily worth it.