The harem genre of anime, which features one character being surrounded by characters of the opposite gender, is a very diverse and weird one. There are harem series featuring yakuza like Nisekoi (No. 117), set in the future like Martian Successor Nadesico (No. 23), or featuring masochists like MM! (No. 47). This harem series has a supernatural twist.
Nyan Koi! (Meow Love!) started as a manga in 2007 by Sato Fujiwara and is still being written to this day. An anime adaptation was released in late 2009, across 12 episodes. In comparison to other harem series it is not as bawdy as some shows, being given a 12 certificate in the UK, but there are some saucy moments.
The series revolves around Jyunpei Kousaka, a schoolboy with an allergy to cats. This already spells problems as there is a pet cat in his house called Nyamsus, that is adored by his sister and mother. Walking back home one day he tries to kick a can into a bin, but he misses. Instead the can hits and breaks a statue to a local cat deity. After this Jyunpei notices something strange: he can hear voices; namely the voices of cats, including Nyamsus, and is able to understand them.
Nyamsus takes Jyunpei to the shrine where the cat is worshipped, and there the pet cat of the shrine’s priest tells Jyunpei that because he damaged the statue he is now under a curse that will transform him into a cat. Once he fully transforms, he will die from his own allergy. He can’t tell any other human about the curse, otherwise it will spread to those people and his feline transformation will quicken. The only way to lift the curse is to perform 100 good deeds for cats.
Jyunpei’s first deed involves having to help some cats who claim to be tortured by someone. Jyunpei learns that the torturer is in fact Kaede Mizuno, the girl that he loves, who is actually very nice but misguided. Mizuno loves cats, but comes from a family of dog owners and thus wrongly treats cats like dogs. Jyunpei changes Kaede’s ways, and thus he starts of his deeds and becomes closer to Kaede.
However, Jyunpei’s deeds also lead him to get mixed up with other girls: Kanako Sumiyoshi, a girl that Jyunpei has hated for many years gets involved with a cat, leading to another deed which results in their friendship mending; he does some more deeds while helping Chizuru Mochizuki, a college student, tease and part-time postal worker with no sense of direction; masculine yakuza Nagi Ichinose heads the school’s track and field team that Kaede is a member of and at first sees Jyunpei as a rival for Kaede’s affections; and identical twins Kotone and Akari Kirishima, daughters of the shrine priest and the only other people to know about Jyunpei’s curse react to him in different ways, with Kotone stalking him and Akari hating him.
It must be said that Nyan Koi! is not the most original series, and other harem anime I have covered before in this column are superior to it. The main appeal is not the relationships between the characters, but how Jyunpei tries to do his deeds while coping with his allergy. However, Jyunpei does acts as a nice comic straight-man to the female characters in the show, and all of the female characters have with own nice comic quirks which to make this anime watchable.
But when you watch the series you feel as if there is something lacking. The series is not bad, it’s just OK. It is average. You can watch it if you like, but you are not missing much.
Nyan Koi! is released on DVD and Blu-Ray by MVM Films.