NekoparA – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Minzauki Kashou runs La Soleil, a local pastry shop with the help of his two cat girls Chocolat and Vanilla. It’s an easy going life, with plenty of other cat girls back from home who pop up to help when the store gets busy. But their easy going, laid back life is thrown for a tiny bit of a loop as Chocolat accidentally brings home a stray….
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Most of NekoparA’s first episode has a very solid ‘slice of life’ vibe. We follow and watch these cat girls go about their everyday chores and tasks; from helping run a cafe to just cleaning around the house or running out to do errands. However, the fan service-y nature of the series is hard to miss as the camera will often pan towards certain body parts, or feature close up of very tightly worn clothing around the crotch area and even feature suggestive scenes like the sexual sounds and faces a cat girl makes when she pees. There’s also the fact that all the maid outfits they wear have a boob window, aka a cut out to expose the upper chest area. And the episode even features a fantasy of one of the cat girls imagining herself feeding and kissing another cat girl. Since all these girls are supposed to be cats, NekoparA clearly goes from peculiar slice of life to out and out furry lite bait.
Tom: NekoparA is based off of a popular, although niche, adult visual novel franchise that’s spawned at least 8 titles in total. The anime doesn’t, as best I can tell as a non-fan, actually adapt the games, but rather provides these characters with a new story (with faaaaaar less nudity and sex. Man Nekopara gets raunchy in the games.) The anime seems fit for fans of the franchise seeking more from their favorites characters, and perhaps anyone else who enjoys the concept of cat girls doing cute things, basically a subset of the CGDCT fanbase. It’s a concept though that I think lacks appeal for people beyond the target audience and you’ll likely find yourself more so scrutinizing the premise than appreciating how cute these girls are. Are we looking at the anthropomorphized version of actual cats that are, in this world, intelligent enough to do chores and tasks? Or are we instead talking about a race of half cat/half human people that are treated like second class citizens because they’re not allowed out of their human’s presence unless they pass some kind of intelligence exam? It doesn’t help that the cat girls only behave like cats when it would be cute to do so. Cats, real cats, notoriously hate water, but the show knows that most male viewers wouldn’t find it all that attractive if the girls never bathed, so these cat girls casually mention their bathing habits when it lends opportunity to cute imagery, like doing each other’s hair after a bath.
Linny: What made NekoparA even more disturbing from me, aside from the sexualization, is this scene where two humans discuss how cat girls aren’t allowed to go out of their homes without their human owner accompanying them unless they manage to pass a difficult test that then earns them a belled collar. The whole concept of these cat girls having ‘owners’ and not being allowed out without them is really disturbing and uncomfortable. And since the show depicts them as so heavily human in appearance, it’s hard to go ‘oh but they are cats’. All in all, I cannot see anyone sincerely enjoying or appreciating this series unless they have a fetish for the really specific niche the series is catering to. Even if you were wanting to check it out solely for the slice of life parts, the sexual parts are so prevalent that it’s bound to ruin the vibe. So unless you are already a fan of the Nekopara game franchise or you’re ‘into’ cat girls, consider this another show to be left off your watch list this season.
Tom: Overall I don’t think NekoparA is awful. I think it’s weird that it doesn’t have the ecchi tag, even if the fanservice is ‘light’ (This is putting it sooooo mildly after a brief google search) compared to the games. It’s an anime adaptation for CGDCT fans or perhaps more honestly the audience the Nekopara games have already cultivated. If you’re looking for ‘drama,’ Funimation bills the series as such, I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high. The final few minutes tease Chocolate finding the Stray who’ll likely end up joining the cast as a new addition, but based off this first episode I imagine the tone is far more slice of life than anything else. I doubt the anime is going to get overtly sexual and go to extreme places like the games do, so perhaps if you liked the idea of Nekopara, but without the act of actually having sex with any of the cats, maybe this is the version you’ve been waiting for? I think NekoparA is best left to the franchise’s fanbase and more general anime viewers can give this one an easy pass.
NekoparA is available for streaming via Funimation.