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[Cat Soup box art]
AKA: ねこぢる草 (Nekojiru-sou)
Genre: Surrealism
Length: OAV, 30 minutes
Distributor: R1 DVD from Central Park Media / Software Sculptors out of print.
Content Rating: 13+ (disturbing imagery, intense surrealism, mild violence)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: This is in a class by itself as far as content goes.
Notes: Based on a manga by the pseudonymous Nekojiru, called "Nekojiru Udon", which ran in the underground manga magazine GARO until the author's suicide. This straight-to-video film was directed as a tribute to Nekojiru by Tatsuo Sato, also the director of Martian Successor Nadesico.

Cat Soup


(from Central Park Media's website)

When little kitten Nyaako's soul is stolen by Death, she and her brother Nyaata embark on a bizarre journey to get it back. In the surreal dreamscape of the Other Side, they encounter many fantastic characters and remarkable, often disturbing adventures.


"...surreal dreamscape of the Other Side..." indeed. Cat Soup manages, through its 30-minute length, to be one of the most dreamlike things that I've ever viewed. Through its course, the viewers are shown an elephant made of water, a mechanical swamp, a pig eating itself, and many more odd sights. The plot itself is simple: Cat dies, cat's brother tries stealing her soul back from Death and succeeds in liberating half of it, two cats go to try getting other half of soul. What it is truly about is communicating a dreamlike state ... and that, it does quite well.

As I said, a fairly simple plot - and that's good, since there is next to no dialogue, and the few sentences that are said are communicated through word bubbles, contributing to the dreamlike feel. Where the true value of this anime comes in is in its animation. The surroundings and creatures that the two kittens meet on their journey are beautifully portrayed. The dialogue that does exist is barely needed: everything that you need to know is communicated by the graphics. Though one must read the dialogue, a child could grasp what's going on.

... Assuming that children could watch. Along with the surrealism come some disturbing scenes. Did I not mention a pig eating itself? No, Cat Soup is probably best kept away from the young ones. This is the Other Side, after all: not everything that the kittens meet has their best interests in mind. The surrealism does occasionally take an odd or disturbing turn, and even some of the more normal scenes could probably frighten younger children.

All in all, Cat Soup seems to have been more designed as an experiment in animation more than a form of mass entertainment. Its combination of surreal settings and vivid graphics make for an interesting experience. In the end, it owes more of its lineage to dreams than to anime.

Though short, this is an interesting little surreal ride for anybody looking for vivid graphics or wanting to have their mind played with for half an hour. — Ashley Stevens

Recommended Audience: Contains some disturbing images, if little actual violence. While children would enjoy the graphics, any kid who grows up watching this will probably end up talking to the walls.

Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Cat Soup © 2001 Nekojiru - Yamato Do Co, Ltd. / Nekojiru Family
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