Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Nyanbo!

Original Run: September 27, 2016 - March 28, 2017
Number of Episodes: 26
Genre: Comedy
Based on the Character Created By: Kiyohiko Azuma

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Nyanbo. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

A mysterious group of friends, living as they please and enjoying every day. They are the Nyanbo.

Invisible to humans, the Nyanbo spend their time exploring the city and having fun. While officially they are searching for parts that will build the UFO that will take them to space, often everything else becomes much more interesting.

They could be playing games. They could be eating delicious food. They could be meeting new pals who make doing all those exciting activities even more so. It’s a busy life, but it is, by no means, a boring one.

And with whatever may happen, the Nyanbo always have each other.

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Series Positives

I suppose the most pressing concern is:

Why, Odyssey? You could have picked anything else. Literally, hundreds, if not thousands of options were before you, and still, you chose Nyanbo. Why?

Burning curiosity, my friends.

This series has had my attention pretty much since it first aired back in 2016. I’m getting to it now because I could no longer convince myself to put it off. I had to know what in the hell Nyanbo was, and why it exists when we don’t even have a Yotsuba& anime?

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For clarification: The characters seen in Nyanbo are based off the feline-ification of the character Danbo from Azumanga Daioh’s author Kiyohiko Azuma’s current series, Yotsuba&. If you have never read the Yotsuba& books, take it from me, they are an absolute treat, and I highly recommend them.

With that said, what of Nyanbo?

Coming from my perspective of being a fan of the Yotsuba& series, I have long though Nyanbo, Yotsuba&’s out-of-nowhere spin-off, sounded like the dumbest thing in the world.

I mean, think about it.

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This show was derived from a throwaway – albeit, popular – character from a much bigger title. Not only that, the focus was on the cat version of said throwaway character. Already, that seems like a stretch, but we don’t need to stop there.

Nyanbo was set in the live-action world, and only the Nyanbo characters themselves were animated. Lead Nyanbo, Tora, and his friends would interact with the actual physical surroundings around them. For example, they would play with and sometimes be chased by living, breathing cats.

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So, yeah, when I first heard about this show, the whole thing appeared silly, and not in a positive way. I just didn’t think this had any chance of being good.

And wouldn’t you know it, I was wrong.

Granted, saying Nyanbo was good might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly wasn’t bad. There was a lot of charm to this series. I’m astonished by how much fun I had with Nyanbo, and to tell you the truth, there was a lot to this show I found impressive.

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For starters, the animation in Nyanbo was well-done. It may not have been flawless, but the characters did blend in with their environments rather effectively. If nothing else, the CGI art wasn’t distractingly fake.

However, it was super funny when this show would use live cats because they sometimes broke the illusion. I imagine the show-makers used some sort of laser pointer to get the cats’ attention, and there were a few cases when the cats were obviously not looking at what they were supposed to be looking at.

Good help is hard to find, I guess.

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Putting the animation aside, the most surprising aspect to Nyanbo was its voice actors. As in, this series had real talent in its cast roster.

Of the five primary Nyanbo cats:

  • Shiro was voiced by Ms. Yui Horie: Tohru Honda from Fruit Basket (2001) and Tsubasa Hanekawa from the Monogatari series
  • Mike was voiced by Ms. Junko Takeuchi: Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto
  • Kuro was voiced by Ms. Yuko Sanpei: Kind of ruins my point since I can’t think of a particularly memorable role Ms. Sanpei has played yet
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But the real shock was who voiced Tora and Kotora. How this show got these two actresses and if it was by deliberate design, I don’t know. For you see, Tora was none other than the fantastic Ms. Romi Park, and Kotora was the phenomenal Ms. Rie Kugimiya. Or to put it another way, the f@#$ing Elric brothers from Fullmetal Alchemist were in this show.

While it is true that none of these great voice talents were working with gold, they all did more than their fair share of work to make Nyanbo entertaining.

Am I going to tell you to go out of your way to watch this show? No, it is not a must-watch series. But if you have even the slightest bit of curiosity, Nyanbo will satisfy it. This is only a two-hour sit, and there are plenty of worse things you can do with your time.

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Series Negatives

I am not entirely sure what I can say here. Was this show an infallible masterpiece? Of course, it wasn’t. This was Nyanbo for crying out loud.

If your expectations of this series are any higher than just wanting to watch something cute while lying on the couch for an afternoon, then you’ve made a grave error in judgment. This series was meant to hold the attention of children, as well as adults who want to laze about for a few hours.

Even if there were going to be flaws in Nyanbo, as long as this show wasn’t painfully insulting or offensive, what good would come from harping on them?

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The main reason I didn’t watch this series sooner was that I had foolishly convinced myself that I should point my nose down at it because it was not the Yotsuba& anime. But as we all – mainly me – should know:

  1. Always be careful what you wish for.
  2. You can never know what an anime is like until you watch it.

Nyanbo was way better than I could have ever expected it to be, and as long as you’re willing to give it a chance, you might just like it too.

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Final Thoughts

I wonder if we can even call this a review. After all, it would seem I was more concerned about what this show was rather than with what it did.

Then again, what it did was pretty simple, and what it was, well, that was a bit more complex.

In a nutshell, this series was a super quick, super cute anime to relax with. The animation was nice, the stories were fun, and it was clear that some very talented people were responsible for making this one worthwhile.

I’m happy to have finally gotten around to this show, and Nyanbo has earned a recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Nyanbo? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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