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Manga Review: Cat Girl Nuku Nuku

August 27, 2009

The series premise is extremely simple, and as a cat lover, I can even appreciate it. Inventor Kyusaku Natsume and his son, Ryunosuke, come across a fatally wounded cat and transfer the cat’s brain into an android body, thus creating Atsuko Natsume, or Nuku Nuku.
69b3ed7f4b376691_thumbThere’s really not much to this story. There’s no grand plot, just several stories about Nuku Nuku and her life as an android. In fact, the book summary on the back of the volume is completely inaccurate, for the majority of the book does not deal with the plot as described in the summary at all. Only small parts of the anime-based fourth chapter deal with the storyline as outlined in the summary, but even that is just a sidebar to what’s really going on.
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The resulting stories are pretty cute and much better than what I expected them to be. The initial story features what she’s like a year after she’s revived as an android. The following manga stories involve her trying to understand the human mind. These are very entertaining, for they involve more character development for Nuku Nuku than any sort of fan service. I loved the little cat-like behaviors she exhibits, like scratching the furniture, curling up and purring to get some attention and catching a mouse to show Kyusaku that she wants to make him happy.

The final part of the book is a story using anime art, called “Nuku Nuku goes to space.” Nuku Nuku comes across a badly-injured cat in the woods and discovers that it is a cat from outer space. Following in the same pattern as the manga stories, it is a relatively simple tale. But, this one has a lot more action and a lot less of the charm that the manga-style stories are given. Nuku Nuku and the others are given little to no character growth at all. Even Kyusaku loses the gruffness and insanity that makes his character interesting. I wound up scanning through this episode, as it felt completely pointless and went against the tone that the rest of the series set.

I have mixed feelings when it comes to this volume. The manga-style stories are very well done and are extremely entertaining to read. They have a bit of fan service, but a lot of heart and I liked them a lot. The anime-style story was pretty boring, and I found myself flipping through it pretty quickly. To me, the story behind Nuku Nuku is her quest to learn how the human mind works, and that is abandoned in that last story. Catgirl fans will love this series, and it’s worth picking up for the first three stories and the extra postcards featuring characters not seen in this book. However, I am extremely disappointed in ADV for mis-marketing this series and hope that future editions of this book will provide a more accurate summary of its contents.

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