All-Purpose Cultural Cat-Girl Nuku Nuku Collection - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 150
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Nuku Nuku, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl

All-Purpose Cultural Cat-Girl Nuku Nuku Collection

By Chris Beveridge     January 18, 2003
Release Date: February 11, 2003


All-Purpose Cultural Cat-Girl Nuku Nuku Collection
© ADV Films


What They Say
When inventor Kyusaku Natsume transfers the brain of his son Ryunosuke's cat into a top secret android body, the family doesn't lose a pet... they gain a daughter! While she may look like a typical teenage girl to the rest of the world, Nuku Nuku's feminine exterior hides the superhuman strength and abilities of the NK-1124 android chassis, making her the most potent fighting force ever unleashed upon an unsuspecting Japan... and the ideal bodyguard for Ryunosuke! But can even Nuku Nuku keep her young charge out of the insidious clutches of the ruthless Akiko Mishima, president of Mishima Heavy Industries (M.H.I.), financier of the NK-1124 project, Kyusaku's ex-wife and Ryunosuke's mother? The greatest custody battle of all time erupts in a conflagration across Japan as Akiko unleashes the full force of M.H.I.'s military products division, manned by her elite team of Office-Lady Warriors, in her bid to win back Ryunosuke.

The Review!
Digging deep into their catalog, ADV has brought Nuku Nuku out and finally given it a dub that it deserves and a fantastic looking transfer. But how well will “old school” anime hold up in today’s market?

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Being such an old OVA, the basic stereo mix comes off pretty nicely and provides a solid track that we had no problems with in terms of distortion or dropouts. There’s very little to no directionality across the forward soundstage, but dialogue is nice and clear and the show sounded good throughout.

Video:
Originally released back in 1992, the transfer for this show really shines and shows just what kind of quality went into some of the better OVA’s at the beginning of the 90’s. There’s very little here to really even nitpick with, as the source materials have held up quite well. Colors look solid, aliasing is extremely minimal and cross coloration is pretty much non-existent. If it wasn’t for the fact that you can tell it’s age by the style of the designs, it’d be easy to think this is a new show. For those wondering, the original logo is fully intact here with a softsub translation above it.

Packaging:
The front cover is a busy piece of work as we have various images of Nuku Nuku I the background in soft colors while the “real thing” is bursting through alongside a number of other characters in super deformed mode. It’s definitely a cute cover and a decent look at it shows that it’s definitely a comedy inside. The back cover provides more animation shots from the show as well as a decent summary of what to expect. The discs features and production information is also clearly listed here. The insert provides some new fanservice images of Nuku on one side while the reverse side lists the chapters for each episode.

Menu:
Going with an Apple/Mac style design, the main menu provides all sorts of Nuku styled imagery in the icons and in the text selections. The menu is nice and easy to navigate with the episodes themselves quickly selectable as well as playing all the episodes at once. Access times between menus are nice and fast, especially as there are no transitional animations.

Extras:
There are a couple of nice extras here, but there’s likely not much available considering the show is over ten years old. The image gallery provides ten pieces of gorgeous original artwork done in the manga/painting style. Both of the ending sequences are done here in a clean format as well. The only other extra is the US trailer for the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I had originally been introduced to Nuku Nuku way back when ADV first put the tapes out for it, but it made very little impression on me at the time and I passed up buying more of the tapes to see how it went. But now six years later I get to check it out again, but in full, and regret that I had to wait all this time without knowing this show.

In a slightly different Earth than what we have now, we’re introduced to young Ryunoske. He and his father, Kyusaku, are on the run from Mishima Heavy Industries, a company that he had married into with the founders granddaughter Akiko. One of the main things he was brought in to build for the company was a leap ahead in robotics that would bring about the ultimate robot, but Kyusaku couldn’t bring himself to leave it in his wife Akiko’s hands, once he realized what he had built. So he grabs his son and the two head out for refuge.

A chance encounter with a cat on Christmas Eve causes Kyusaku to change his plans in an attempt to keep his young son happy. With the ultimate robot in the back seat, the two finally find refuge from the hunting mother and her crew, and Kyusaku builds an “all purpose cultural cat girl” named Nuku Nuku. And naturally, she looks about sixteen and wears a schoolgirl outfit. The three of them have turned into a nice if slightly weird little family unit, but are still on the run from Akiko.

This in its own way sets up the next five episodes of the OVA series. Ryu and Nuku Nuku go off and do something, or something happens, and then we have Akiko and her minions swooping in to fend off Nuku Nuku while trying to bring Ryu back home to her mother. It sounds simplistic, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. For instance, the two and a friend head off to the beach to enjoy some fun in the sun, so Akiko brings out her expensive yacht cruiser and lures their friend in, causing Ryu to panic over that and try to rescue her. This all while Nuku tries dealing with a massive robotic octopus that Akiko has Mishima build. It gets more complicated for Nuku as she realizes she can’t swim, since she’s a heavy robot herself.

There’s another episode where the group actually moves back into the mansion with Akiko and her grandfather, as they attempt to get her to be like a “real woman” and actually cook and clean for them and do things around the mansion. These are real chores for Akiko who is the type that grew up not having to deal with any of that. Kyusaku tries to use it as a way of not humiliating her, but getting her to see the value in an honest days work. This actually goes on for awhile and provides some interesting moments as we get to see the rich side of the family and what some of the plans that they have for Ryu. But it’s also fun for the games that Nuku plays with the active grandfather.

What makes this series work, even as short as it is, is the characters and their humor. Kyusaku’s father is spot on as a slightly absent minded scientist/father who comes up with all kinds of devices on a whim, Akiko’s love of her son plays heavily into things and we get both tender moments and outright comical violent ones over her situation. And of course, Nuku Nuku with her learning of basic human experiences always adds just the right touch to it.

If it wasn’t for things like the hair designs and general character designs, it’d be easy to mistake this for a new series. The transfer looks great, I had fun with the dub track and I love hearing yet another Akira Kamiya role. With the entire OVA series here, it’s a no brainer to check it out. Recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean closing animation,Original Japanese trailer,Image gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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