March 12, 2013
Can't understand why so many people are obsessed with 1:08 here.... *grin*
While chasing though links of various AMVs thanks to a certain Duck, I ended up running across some interesting shots from an anime that turned out to be Nyan Koi. Even from 2010, I was able to find the Coalgirls torrent and download it. Two episodes in, there are certainly aspects that would make it look like a harem, but I don't think it is. This could change. But it's been kind of fun.
Our hero, Kousaka Junpei is terribly allergic to cats. But his family has one, and as a family, they love cats. By accidentally defiling a shrine to a cat that saved his town in ancient days, he's now been cursed, and must perform 100 good deeds for cats or be turned into one - which he imagines will kill him through his allergy. A side effect of the curse is that he can understand cats (how else could they make their wishes known?). His enormous grumpy cat from home, and the shrine cat take the lead in driving him through a course of service to cats.
His childhood friend, Sumiyoshi Kanako is the first Ganguro girl I've ever seen in an anime (Specifically, she's a Manba type). Can't say I like the effect - on the other hand, she's stacked (fortunately, by the end of the episode she gives it up). Her role is the pushy, dominant, tomboy type, but there is no romance there. She appears in the second episode. A cat living by the school that she has been feeding wants to express her gratitude to her through him, but due to their personal chemistry (friends who fight all the time) it's not exactly something he can do easily.
By the way, he can't tell anyone about the curse, lest they become cursed too, and his curse accelerates.
The girl he's really after is Mizuno Kaede. She loves cats, but her family owns dogs. One of Junpei's first tasks is to get her to stop molesting the stray cats around her apartment complex. She was feeding them, but grabbing them and hugging and squeezing and loving them much to their distress. ("You mean a cat wagging its tail isn't the same as a dog?"). They actually connect at a few levels, but clearly it's gonna be slow going. Especially when she sees him being dragged around by Kanako and assumes they're a couple.
We shall see how the rest of the non-harem shapes up. There's a pair of twins in the queue who I would wager run hot and cold, good and evil.
Update: Episode 3 introduces a college girl, a Letter Carrier with a bad sense of direction, whom Junpei helps. She hits on him for some unknown reason. She is definitely a bit weird. Kaede sees him get hugged by her. His sister and Kanako also see him with her.
Episode 4, the Track Team captain, who loves beautiful things, including Kaede, challenges Junpei over her. But it turns out not to be like that.... After Kanako knocks this Senior out for fondling her boob (It's beautiful after all) the gang has to drag the unconscious person back home. Which turns out to be a gangster's mansion. Kaede is in heaven, she's got a thing for gangster movies. Junpei is really feeling under the sword now. But as the girls enjoy a bath, it's revealed that the team captain is the gangster's DAUGHTER, she's just very boyish, and she falls for Junpei because he doesn't mock her fear of lightning.
Episode 5: Nagi Ichinose, the track team captain and Senior, hatches a plot. She's invited Kaede to the amusement park, and given Junpei a ticket, and a challenge. He has to decide which of them he's dating. The answer being a no-brainer, Ichinose issues another challenge that he'd better be Kaede's boyfriend by the end of the day, or he'll have to marry her as a backup. By accident, Kanako has joined the crew because Junpei's ticket was a double. Now it turns out that the park is owned by the Yakuza, and the boss is determined to NOT have Junpei marry his daughter, and Ichinose is actually trying hard to push the two together. Kanako is just the opposite. Hijinks ensue, and it's actually one of the funnier bits of battle matchmaking I've seen in a while. It's complicated by the fact that Ichinose stacked the deck by telling Kaede Junpei likes her, but he doesn't get a chance to say so himself. Later at school, Kaede asks Kanako if she and Junpei are dating, but she swears that no, they aren't (Even though she was dragging him off at every chance in the park to get him away), they're just childhood friends, that's all, really. Ichinose shows up, and Kaede's innocent question (related to the letter carrier and boys hugging girls without caring who they are) puts both Ichinose and Kanako in a murderous mood. The teacher comes in and this leads to the exchange of the day:
Teacher (deadpan): "Fifth Period will be starting soon. Ichinose, back to your classroom."
Ichinose: "Heroes always arrive late, Sensei"
Teacher (still deadpan): "Then go back to your own planet."
There is some confusion over some doggie treats, and at the end, we see one of the twins, who has an ominous black cat, and she seems to know about the curse - and worse, Kaede overhears.
Episode 6 kicks off with a replay of the last scene, and where the girl asks him if he was cursed by the statue, he replies by turning tail and running (Right past Kaede who was hiding behind a car, worrying about Junpei talking to another girl she didn't know). After consulting with the cats, Junpei concludes that he needs to talk to her, but at school, his buddies speculate that he's going after the "Twin-tailed Junior" right where Ichinose and Kanako can hear (Apparently now they both favor the Junpei/Kaedo pairing). His buddy got the idea when he asked him about twin-tailed juniors, since he didn't know the girl's name. He's found by one who gives him a letter and disappears (it was immediately obvious to me it was the wrong one, but he doesn't know she's a twin yet, you can see the hijinks a mile away, can't you?) The letter's a love letter, and by the time he finishes reading it, the "Same" girl (with a different sweater on) angrily snatches it out of his hands saying it's a mistake. These Hijinks, they cover miles in mere SECONDS these days. (Kirishima Kotone is the nice one) Nasty twin does want to talk to him though, and says to meet at the temple. She tells him she's more spiritually sensitive and can see it on him. Then she blackmails him, threatening to hasten the curse, spreading the story, if he doesn't stay away from Kotone-chan. He still doesn't get that they're twins, until she punch-launches him and he lands next to Kotone, who admonishes her sister Akari. (BTW, Panty shots figure prominently here.) Kotone turns out to be more than a little twisted as well. "I'll put away my fantasy journal, but may I continue to stalk you?" She's into guys suffering misfortune. It gets a little complicated, they are the daughters' of the cat temple monk, their cat used to be friends with the temple cat, but they now hate each other. Junpei is tasked with getting them to make up. In the process he scares off Kaede (who was walking the four giant dogs her family owns), Kanako finds her crying and is after his head. The mail girl sees him with the twins, and when Ichinose and her gangster dad run into her looking for Junpei's house (WRONG person to ask) she tells them he's in the park with the twins. So now Ichinose is out for blood too. Two simultaneous beatings and a dog mauling later, Junpei gets a chance to apologize and explain. Yay. And Kotone is pleased to see his misfortune.
(Man, either these things are getting more complex, or I'm not able to remain brief....)
Episode 7: There is a Class Trip to Kyoto. Just before Junpei leaves though, the cats bring him another cat in need of his assistance. This one needs a lift to Kyoto, and so he gets to stow away in Junpei's luggage. Once there, Junpei has trouble enjoying the sights because this cat has told all the local cats about the cursed guy who has to help them out, and he is besieged. There is a traditional bathhouse scene in the inn, and amazingly, there wasn't really any "buy the BD steam" Guess they'd have to re-animate. There are a ton of coincidences in this episode. Ichinose is in town too, for a gangster meeting at the old homestead. And the cat who needed the lift was one they'd lost. Also, he helps a kitten who turns out to be the offspring of that cat. While helping the kitten home, the gang ends up at the Ichinose mansion. Kanako is in wanting to be with Junpei mode, when she doesn't want to strangle him. Ichinose is back to wanting Junpei too (the Coda at the end is that the family meeting was about finding her a groom in the gang, and she wouldn't have any of them).
Episode 8: The Misery Twins bring in a fat, lazy cat who wants Junpei to help train him so he can catch a sparrow to impress the lady cat he wants to be with. Junpei starts out okay, but eventually a chance to be with Kaede by joining her sports teams (seems she's in everything) causes him to ignore the cat. Pissed-off, the cat sneaks into the locker room and steals Kaede's bra and sticks it in Junpei's bag. In the middle of a mall, instead of returning the handkerchief Kaede had lent him, he whips out the bra, and he is ruined.... Point made, Junpei has nothing to do but help the cat, and succeeds in making him a buff bird (and lady)-killer. When Kanako and Ichinose find out about the bra stealing, they make a bee-line to Junpei's classroom to give him a beat-down (Although Ichinose is more pissed that he didn't try to steal HER bra, and at one point is about to whip it out) but one of Junpei's friends who is dating-sim obsessed mentions that he actually SAW the cat with the bra, and so it was all a misunderstanding. One side-line is that Kotone is so obsessed with Junpei's misery that she bugged his house and wants to have spy-cams to see his expressions when horrible things happen. Akari admonishes her not to use spy-cams until she is 21. Is this some odd point of Japanese law? I don't know.Episode 9: Fan Service Special. Junpei's buddies propose a pre-exam study day. Only it's actually a break day, at the indoor pool park. Junpei and Kaede are stuck with rental bathing suits, but Kaede fills her two-piece out rather nicely, although nowhere near as well as Kanako does her bikini. The Misery twins are there too, by some coincidence. Akari is angry (Junpei accidentally unties her top while struggling with his buddies dunking him.) and Kotone snuggles up to him and says things that would be really nice if they weren't meant to be creepy. And further coincidence, Ichinose is also there (wearing an odd wetsuit kind of thing). Ichinose and Kanako have been getting into breast-pinching fights lately. They go at it in the pool, and Kanako ends up ripping down the zipper on Ichinose's suit. In the course of the fight, Kanako slams into Kaede, knocking her backwards. Junpei goes to catch her, gets smashed in the nose with Kaede's head, but at least in catching her, he gets to feel her up. Kanako is getting more into wanting Junpei, even though he's single-minded towards Kaede. Junpei goes in search of medical attention, and runs into a Cat who needs to escape from the pool park. Kanako catches him talking to the cat, but avoids worsening the curse by remembering something he said in #2 about cat empathy. She helps him toss the cat over the wall (outside, where it's snowing, in their bathing suits), and notes how kind he is and how much she enjoys being with him.
Later, he has a cold from his exposure. Kanako rigs it so that she is the one to take him his printout and take care of him. Junpei is oblivious to the fact that she cares for him (and obviously far more than Kaede does), it almost makes me root for her, but her forceful nature really turns him off. A fat, gluttonous cat ask him for help in avoiding the diet his owner has put him on, but instead he lectures him how the cat should be grateful that his owner is caring for his health. Only too late does he realize the parallel to what's going on at the moment with him and Kanako.
Episode 10: Part 1, Kanako fails her final, so she has to do a report on local history. But hey, Junpei knows the Misery Twins, who are daughters of the local Shrine guy, so she asks him to go to them for help with history. The whole gang goes along to help her research for her report. After being bored unconscious by the priest (while the shrine cats explain about the twins to Junpei outside), the twins are pressed into service showing them various mysterious spots, ending up by a Maeneki Neko statue with an odd face that somehow compels people to vandalize it. Kanako falls under it's spell and starts to draw whiskers on it, but the twins stop her, and perform a cleansing ritual on the statue. Being the weird girls they are, they're feeling a bit awkward by the gestures of friendship people are making to them for their help.
The opening introduced part 2. The twins are also Magical Girls, sort of. Akari has always had a strong spiritual sense, which made her aloof as a kid. She can fight demons. Kotone has more of a scrying power, and a transformation sequence into a sort of goth-loli-devil girl. The spirit of the cat statue is pissed from being vandalized, and is on a rampage, but the girls are ready. Junpei for some reason goes out to the convenience store late at night and runs into them, and helps them with their fight. Usually people are weirded out by witnessing this, they say, but hey, Junpei's cursed by another cat statue and talks to cats, so he takes it in stride. Akari has a momentary fantasy about Junpei and dismisses it by slapping his face. Afterwards, the butterfly hair clips Kanako bought Akari for her help somehow helps her make friends with some of her classmates. Freshmen are SO shallow.
Episode 11: It's Christmas time. Junpei decides to get a temp job at the post office to make a little extra money, while Kanako is selling Christmas cakes at the mall in a Santa suit. One day he has a delivery at Kanako's just as she's coming out. Apparently she won some movie tickets, so she demands that he go see it with her. She turns it into a date, although he's not really into it, probably because she can't suppress her harsh dominant instincts (Although the thigh-high sheepskin winter boots she's sporting aren't my usual taste, they're nice). By the end of the date, she's actually feeling a little guilty that she's betraying Kaede, but she decides not to confess to him. While doing deliveries, a cat asks him to help get her kitten out of a tree. Kaede is passing by the park, and overhears him talking to the cats and mentioning the curse. Oh dear, that means she's found out, so the curse is going to get worse, and when he gets back to the post office at the end of his day, he looks in the mirror and discovers he's got cat ears.
Final episode 12: Kotone has put a GPS tracker on Junpei, so she knows something is wrong because he's not moving. The Misery Twins set off for the post office to rescue him. They keep him holed up on the temple grounds wearing a hat covered with charms, but the moment the hat comes off, the ears come back. Kaede meets Kanako and tells her that she's worried about Junpei being cursed, so Kanako phones him up and teases him about it. Now they know how it happened, but what to do about it? Nyamsus, Junpei's cat, has a plan. They play on the curse of the Maeneki Neko to convince Kaede that THAT is the curse he's got, and the Misery Twins show up just in time to cleanse him of that. It would have worked too, if it weren't for the meddling Yakuza Princess who snatches his hat, showing off the cat ears. Junpei splits, but it's too late, the twins find a path of his discarded clothing (Akari has an embarrassing lapse with his boxers) and he's in the park, as a cat. Kaede went looking for him too, and finds him. Fortunately she remembers his advice from the first episode about being gentle, and picks him up. She decides that Junpei cares too much about cats to be cursed by them, and her disbelief temporarily lifts the curse, well, the transformation part, which ends up with him naked in the bushes. This of course is the perfect time for the rest of the cast to show up, and Kanako starts beating on him. There's a bit of a wrap up in the last part of the episode, teasing about whether or not there will be a second season. He's still cursed, Kanako is still wrestling with wanting him and letting Kaede have him, he's still wrestling with how to get close to Kaede, and Kaede is still clueless.
It always kinda bugs me in a series when a guy is relentlessly pursuing a girl, but can't seem to communicate his interest to her, while someone else pines for HIM and never lets him know. And that said object of his affections has no situational awareness that she COULD have a suitor makes me wonder, why is he bothering? The normal question of why bother chasing a girl who barely knows you exist when there's one who loves you right next to you always has to be answered by something that makes the second girl unacceptable. In this case, it's Kanako's dominant attitude. Why can't she recognize that calling Junpei her servant is really not endearing? Why can't she realize that they've been on the outs for years over a misunderstanding that was HER fault (This does get resolved, but she doesn't properly apologize)?
You see this a lot in the "Girl Next Door" in Broken Doll stories. Her character has some reason she can't be with our hero, usually because of the Doll stuck in his apartment, but she usually sublimates this by trying to help him get together with the Doll. Hence Kanako occasionally working towards getting Junpei and Kaede together, but she can't really follow through on it and play matchmaker because of her own, unexpressed feelings.
The story I'd like to see is one where said Tomboy realizes what she's doing wrong to drive her love away, and fixes herself, and steals the boy away from the Idol he's chasing. Somehow, I don't think I will ever see it.
Oh, and here is the AMV I mentioned at the top of the post. LANGUAGE WARNING
(Note that some frames are sub-edited and don't appear exactly that way in the anime)
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