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All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku
Anime You've Probably Never Seen, But Damn Well Ought To
© Kevin Pezzano

The first anime tape I ever bought was Nuku Nuku volume one, and it's remained one of my favorite anime ever since. The best way to describe it is "Kramer vs. Kramer with catgirl androids and battle mecha". Robot scientist Kyusaku Natsume and his young son Ryunosuke are on the run from Akiko, Kyusaku's ex-wife and Ryu's mother. It seems the corporation she heads wanted to use Kyusaku's robot research for military purposes, and he couldn't stand for that. Unfortunately, Akiko can't bear to be separated from her little boy, and devotes the entire resources of her company (including her two mecha-piloting secretaries) to getting him back. Luckily for Ryunosuke, he has a big sister/bodyguard in the form of Nuku Nuku, created when the brain of Ryu's pet kitten was placed into a robot chassis of Kyusaku's.

This anime is a madcap mixture of mecha octopi, city-smashing duels between schoolgirl androids, custody battles between Akiko and Kyusaku that involve more missiles than lawyers, and Mongolian warrior chefs. The violence is more Coyote and Roadrunner than Akira, and a sense of goofy fun pervades the entire series. But, surprisingly, this anime has a deeper undercurrent to it, being as much about Nuku Nuku's growth as a person and the slow reconciliation between Ryunosuke's parents as it is about mecha-golems and nueral-net-enhanced mousecatching. Like the mechanical catgirl of the title herself, All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku has a heart, and that's what separates it from the legions of other slapstick anime series populating store shelves.

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Kevin Pezzano is Anime Editor for RevolutionSF.

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