To be absolutely honest, none of the shows in this fall season’s lineup have resonated a real “Must Watch” vibe with me. It’s a little odd because I’m not picky with my anime, I’ll watch a bit of everything. My tastes cross many genres and titles, but some of my specific weaknesses are for moe comedies. The kind with a bit of sexy fan-service and a likeable/funny protagonist who is can’t seem to catch a break (e.g. shows like Dears, Girls Bravo, and Karin.). This season there seem to be a couple of those, but the brief plot outlines I read didn’t seem to differentiate these new ones from the hundreds of other shows that have come before… Still, I can’t call myself an otaku if I’m not watching something new each season. The union will tear up my membership card. So in the interest of holding on to my geek cred, the first show I watched was Nyan Koi!
I picked Nyan Koi! for a few reasons. It seemed to meet the criteria stated above, the animation style looked good from the preview, and the plot seemed… different. It revolves around a high-schooler named Junpei Kōsaka, who accidental defaces a sacred cat shrine and is cursed by a cat spirit. Now able to hear what cat’s are saying, he must help out 100 cat’s in need. If he doesn’t the curse will get progressively worse until Junpei himself turns into a cat, which will cause his death because he is allergic to cats and will asphyxiate due to his own fur. His first assignment is to stop a girl who causes “great misery” to a certain group cats, and this girl just happens to be his oblivious naive classmate, Kaede Mizuno, whom he has a crush on.
Usually, I have a pretty good idea if I will stick with a show devotedly to the last drop just by my impressions of the first episode. Nyan Koi‘s first episode did not grab me. It was typical, vanilla, same ole same ole, nothing to set it apart aside from it’s goofy plot. Even the opening theme song felt like I had heard it somewhere before, sounding eerily similar to Haruhi Suzumiya’s opening during certain parts of the tune. The animation was good and there were a few humorous bits involving what cats think or the priest of the cat shrine, but it wasn’t enough to save the episode entirely. I was disappointed enough I almost didn’t watch episode two, but luckily I did because it was a much welcome improvement over the first. Not the least of which was the introduction of Kanako Sumiyoshi, Junpei’s tomboy childhood friend turned foe who added some much needed spice to the somewhat bland show. It was also much funnier than the first episode and I caught myself eagerly anticipating a resolution of the antagonistic relationship between Junpei and Kanako. The second episode hooked me.
Overall, I worry that Nyan Koi! may get overly repetitive (cough, Rosario + Vampire, cough) with the cat requests, but I am going to stick around and watch a few more episodes to see how things play out before I pass judgment on that. I just hope future episodes are more like the second episode and not the first.
Episode 1 Grade – C
Episode 2 Grade – B+