At last we reach triple figures and I’m marking this milestone, oddly, with a touch of sadness. People talk about the worst that can happen to an anime: angry complaints from viewers, arguments between people involved in the making of the show, or the death of a major figure involved in the making of it; but I would say the worst fate of an anime is not to be made at all.
Feline & Lupine (or Neko e Okami in the original Japanese) is, or rather was meant to be, a six-part Original Video Anime (OVA) by a long-forgotten Kobe-based company Studio Eclipse in the mid-1990s, directed by a man named Shinji Matsui. Because it never got released, many print and online sources omit this series from their records. Not many visual images of the series survive. The above image is one of the few original sketches, with the image later used in the article being a piece of fan art based it and other surviving material.
The series was going to be a parody of one of the anime-specific genres. In the same way that anime like Ouran High School Host Club (No. 3) messes around with the harem genre, Gurren Lagann (No. 50) is a funny over-the-top take on mecha, and recent success Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! (No. 94) parodies magical girls, Feline & Lupine is a parody of the female-aimed male homoerotic world of yaoi and shonen-ai, especially classic sci-fi yaoi Ai no Kusabi (No. 37), while combining it with moe anthropomorphism: the act of taking something and humanising it in a cute way.
Feline & Lupine is set 3 billion years into the future on the planet Tlaloc in the Andromeda Galaxy. Tlaloc is a “rain planet” full of constant storms, and as such intelligent life is loathed to live on it, but recently a new race of beings evolved from a mixture species of human/animal hybrids have started inhabiting Tlaloc. Thus the main populations are humans with animal features: catpeople, birdpeople, fishpeople etc. These people live in gigantic cities constructed inside geodesic domes to protect them from the rain. There is also an encouragement from the Tlaloc’s dictatorial government to encourage a mass breeding programme in order to populate the planet.
The “Feline” and the “Lupine” are the two main characters. The “Lupine” is a wolfman simply known as TCW. He is one of the higher-ups in Tlaloc society and treated with respect, but is unhappy with his life. The reason for TCW’s respect is that he’s been genetically engineered for breeding purposes, and as such his body was altered before his birth to produce large amounts of semen for use in artificial insemination. This is also the reason for TCW’s unhappiness, because his semen needs to be constantly collected: he has to be put into artificial sleep so he can be milked at night, while during the day he is either mating with people without passion, or forced to wear a special machine which inserts a catheter into his testicles and his semen is collected in two side containers he has dangling from his waist. The only time he feels free is outside of his private dome and in the true stormy climate of Tlaloc.
The “Feline”, a catboy named Jason, is an escapee for a secret government lab which is investigating whether the breeding programme could be improved by creating new genders. Jason was tortured horribly in the lab, but manages to break out from the government’s restricted dome. After several days on the run in the permanently torrential downpours, by chance Jason encounters TCW and asks for refuge. TCW is immediately taken by Jason’s beauty. Jason becomes TCW’s lover, but TCW has to hide the fact that Jason is hiding with him, so they try to carry out their relationship in secret as much as they can, but there is always the risk it will end in tragedy.
Regarding the parody element of the story, this comes in several forms. Firstly is the way it gets around Japan’s censorship laws. As stated before in articles covering series like Urotsukidōji: Legend of the Overfiend (No. 49), you cannot show genitalia. In that anime they instead showed penis-like tentacles. In Feline & Lupine it instead focuses on what comes out of the penis, namely huge amounts of semen in TCW’s case. This also ties in with another parody element, regarding Japanese-specific sexual activities. For example there is “bukkake”, the act of ejaculating over a person, and “gokkun”, the act of drinking semen.
Another example of this is one scene parodying the act of “nyotaimori”, the act of eating sushi of a naked person. There is one scene in which TCW eats off Jason’s body, but with a twist. As TCW is a wolfman and he needs to consume large amounts of protein to produce his semen, he’s a carnivore and so he eats meat of Jason’s body. There are some rough sketches of Jason covered in chops, steaks and pies, with sausages used as phallic symbols, and perhaps in the kinkiest scene, using meatballs as anal beads. This scene was one of the big problems with putting Feline & Lupine into production. The plan was to make the meatballs to be like English faggots, but some people considered this to be homophobic.
This was one of many problems Studio Eclipse had. Another plan was to parody the way woman are portrayed in yaoi. I previously argued in one of my columns that yaoi is feminist, but many say women are often the villains in yaoi and female fans hate them. Feline & Lupine was to parody this have having one main heroine, an assistant to TCW, and one horrible villainess, the scientist operating the lab Jason escaped from, but people still claimed the parody was misogynistic. Some even argue the series isn’t even a yaoi, because Jason is not strictly speaking a male but transgender due to the experiments on him and because he spends most of the time crossdressing. In the end it was nature that stopped the plan: the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake destroyed the studio and the company never recovered. It folded and director Matsui left anime, taking up a job at Sony.
Even if this sort of thing is not your cup of tea, it has to be said it is a shame it never got made. It would have been nice for Feline & Lupine to at least be given a chance, even if it was not strictly speaking a Japanese company.
For more information on Feline & Lupine see here.