Sorry for getting First Impressions out so late. A combination of work x housework had left me feeling exhausted, and the last thing I wanted to do was review anime. But it’s the weekend now and I’ll try to hopefully catch up on the remaining four anime I need to review.
In the ancient past, a festival was held to decide the 12 divine messengers, aka animals of the Chinese zodiac. However, the cat was cheated out of her spot by the rat. Flash-forward to the present: A teenaged boy named Takeru moves into his new (extremely cheap) apartment/house and finds Nya-tan, a cat-girl. Apparently, there’s a hole in Takeru’s apartment which leads to the land of the gods. And Nya-tan is a cat “eto-musume,” who’s trying to train her way into the Chinese zodiac.
When night falls, a dragon god named Dora suddenly descends from the skies and challenges Nya-tan to a fight. With some help from Takeru, who’s sol/lull—feelings of happiness and gratitude—give Nya-tan the energy she needs to fight; Nya-tan battles against Dora. Unfortunately, the battle is rather one-sided, and Nya-tan is quickly beaten. It is then revealed that Dora is actually Nya-tan’s spirit teacher, and that the fight was just practice… or something.
The episode ends with Dora meeting with the other members of the Chinese zodiac, claiming that she’s found a human who can create powerful sol/lull energy.
Sorry if the summary above was kind of a mess. The episode is also rather messy in terms of exposition, but things are explained clearly enough (it’s just hard to boil it down into a short summary). Despite the pacing of this episode and the humor being… all over the place, I did surprisingly enjoy this series.
I don’t know, it seems like there’s so many reasons why I should hate this series. First off, Nya-tan is like Dejiko in terms of personality—except maybe 4x more annoying. And the humor of this series seems so painfully forced at times that it just falls flat. The unnecessary fanservice present in this episode was just that: unnecessary. And the other nine spirits of the Chinese zodiac (Ms. Rat was absent this episode) just seemed to appear in this episode… just because. There was no real point to them, they were just there, I guess to show to the audience that they exist. Also, man was this episode a horrid exposition dump. And yet, despite all those things, I really did enjoy this series.
Beyond the cringe-worthy anime stuff like the fanservice and badly forced wacky humor; there’s actually a potentially interesting premise. I’ll be honest; the main draw for me about this series is the battles that they’re obviously going to have once per episode. I’m sure it must have been a surprise for many, but the battles are completely done in CG, with the characters in chibi form. Now, I generally dislike CG in anime, but I felt that it was done pretty well this episode. The backgrounds were so lovely and vibrant, and the CG format really allows animators to be more creative with battles on (I’m guessing) a slightly lower budget than if it had been done in usual 2D style.
I also do like Takeru’s character. He was just so… nonchalant about everything. It’s great.
Overall, this is definitely a very mixed-bag sort of series. And there are multiple factors that are probably going to turn people off; the CG battles being one of them. Despite all that, I found the episode to be entertaining, and sometimes that’s all that matters.
Out of five for this episode: