- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Comedy, Romance
- Airing Date : January 2020 – currently airing
- Producers : Felix Film
Do you like catgirls? If you’re a tried and true anime fan, that’s hardly a question! This new series, based on the visual novels and OVA of the same name, follows the six adorable catgirls of the Minaduki family as they play, explore, and work at the café La Patisserie Soleil. Along the way, they adopt a stray kitten named Cacao and go on all kinds of charming adventures. But there’s more to this series than just cute catgirls doing cute catgirl things, and you might not expect what it is. Here’s why you NEED to watch Nekopara!
All of the Catgirl Cuteness You Could Ask For
Short of Elon Musk delivering on his promise to make catgirls real, Nekopara is the closest we’re going to get to that blessed dream. No matter what flavor you like, this anime has the feline female for you. We have the excitable and flighty Chocola, her reserved twin sister Vanilla who adores her, the responsible Maple, the always horny Cinnamon, the short but spunky oldest sister Azuki, the clumsy Coconuts who picks fights with Azuki at every opportunity, and the precious shy kitten Cacao. Each girl corresponds with a real-life cat breed and has a unique design that stands out from the others. It’s fun to watch them run the shop, get distracted with cat toys, cook breakfast, and raise Cacao together.
Kind of Feels Like a Fever Dream
That said, there’s something... off... about Nekopara. Even if you ignore the fact that the anime is based on an H-game (which is infamous for its “breast jiggle” setting and showing the one male character in the cast having sexual relationships with all of the catgirls), the entire experience of watching this show is like a fever dream. The catgirls are never referred to as such—instead, they are always just “cats”. They may look like humans, but they lick themselves like cats, hiss, and present like cats, grow into adults in two years like cats, and have no agency in their lives like pet cats. They need a special bell to go outside on their own and only work at the café out of love for their master Kashou, not for any monetary compensation. On top of that, they’re still sexualized enough that you could easily make the case that their master still has “relations” with them offscreen.
For example, let’s check out episode 6. Kashou’s younger sister Shigure aims to settle Azuki and Coconuts’ long-running rivalry once and for all with a field-day competition. The six main cats separate into two teams to play Twister, a Ninja Warrior course, a resistance contest for high-quality cat food (even though they’ve only ever been shown to eat human food), butt sumo a la Keijo, and many more needlessly sexualized activities until Azuki and Coconuts sort out their differences on their own. The end card shows the two of them cuddling in a sexy pose with whipped cream dripping down their bodies. It’s reasonably wholesome on the surface, but it raises so many uncomfortable questions that all we can do is blink at the screen in disbelief. This is still a point in favor of watching Nekopara, by the way—the cognitive dissonance must be experienced to be believed.
Cacao is Pure and Delightful
On the other hand, the kitten Cacao is new to the anime and thankfully young enough that she isn’t sexualized (except for one facepalm-inducing end card and a wayward comment from Cinnamon). Chocola adopts her after finding her as a stray in the park, and everyone in the family works hard to give her a good life. She’s shy but curious and often wanders off to pursue her own agenda. In one episode, she decides to advertise the café by sticking cards in mailboxes and eventually gets lost but finds her way home with the help of a little girl who becomes her newfound friend. Any moment with Cacao is a precious moment to be treasured forever.
Nekopara is a bizarre mix of cute catgirl antics and disturbing implications about the girls and the world they live in. Whether you enjoy it for one or both of those reasons, this anime is definitely worth a watch this season. We guarantee that it’ll be a show you’ll never forget.
What did you think of our overview? Have you been watching Nekopara this season? Are you getting the same odd vibes that we are? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!