|The Everyday Tales of a Cat God
|Animation: AIC Plus+||Release Date: June 4, 2013|
|Production: Lantis, Marvelous, Pony Canyon||MSRP: $64.99
|Publisher: NIS America||Episodes: 12 TV, 1 OVA, 7 mini-episodes|
Aptly named, The Everyday Tales of a Cat God is the latest release from NIS America, but does the show come off as mundane or divine?
The story of The Everyday Tales of a Cat God centers on (surprise) Mayu, the titular cat goddess, and a young girl named Yuzu who has taken her into her home, with several recurring characters stopping by here and there. Mayu finds herself down on Earth after being exiled from her home by her mother; after repeatedly getting in trouble for gambling in her home of Takamagahara, her mother strips her of most of her powers and sends her away to teach her a lesson. She ends up finding Yuzu who runs a small antique shop. Yuzu lets Mayu stay with her with the hopes of receiving some help, but the shiftless Mayu spends most of her time laying about like the cats she is goddess to.
Most of the other characters in the series are various deities found in Japanese folklore. There is Gonta, the fox spirit, who is in love with Yuzu and is charged with protecting the town and ensuring its prosperity, which puts him directly in conflict with Shamo, a goddess of poverty, who is also in charge of auditing the local deities’ competence at their jobs. Then there are Meiko and Sasana, two goddesses who have both fallen for Mayu. Sasana and Mayu have been betrothed since childhood, thanks to both of their fathers joking about the daughters getting along so well that they should get married. Despite Sasana and Mayu’s engagement, Meiko continues to vie for Mayu’s attention, playing the archetypical tsundere, princess-type.
Almost all of the episodes are fairly formulaic, starting with some problem arising whether mundane (Yuzu’s lack of money) or supernatural (a missing urn with the magic ash to start spring inside) that Mayu and friends have to resolve. In between, the episodes manage to mostly be amusing but fall far short of laugh-out-loud funny. There are several small running gags throughout the series, but sometimes they just fall flat. While the show is billed as a comedy, there are a few sequences surrounding Yuzu and her childhood that are certainly heart-rending. These interludes show how Yuzu came to run the antique shop all by herself and what a tough life she has lead up until now.
Along with the 12-episode main series, the premium edition of The Everyday Tales of a Cat God also includes a one-shot OVA titled “Cherry Blossom Viewing Ghost Busters” as well as seven short “Cyber Wanderers” clips. In the OVA, Mayu and friends have a picnic under a cherry blossom tree next to an abandoned hospital. Unfortunately, the tree is inhabited by a ghost who tricks people into playing strip rock, paper, scissors. Yup. In “Cyber Wanderers”, Mayu mysteriously becomes trapped inside a video game system. In each episode, she is stuck in a different style of game (RPG, beat-’em-up, etc.) and a different character from the show proceeds to fail miserably at beating the game, leaving her trapped once more. These clips are cute, and while the art in them is not quite as good, the humor is just as good as the main show.
Mayu and the other deities on Earth (save for Yoshino) are depicted in more of a chibi style, with the humans and higher-up deities having more standard designs. In many ways, the visual split also mirrors the maturity of the characters’ personalities; Yuzu both looks and acts the most mature, while the little deities often whittle away their day lazing about and playing video games. Overall, the animation quality is fairly average and the brightly colored designs fit the series well enough. The animators did get to have some fun exaggerating the physical responses of the characters in certain situations, though. Likewise, the audio is good but unremarkable for the most part, though Aki Toyosaki’s portayral of Shamo is amusing at times. The opening song “Kami-sama to Issho” sung by the voice actresses for Mayu and Yuzu is reminiscent of more children-oriented shows, which does fit the style of Everyday Tales. Perhaps the audio highlight of the show is the poppy ending theme “Oh My God”. The song is sung by Haruka Tomatsu, Mayu’s VA, but was written by Tomoko Kawase and Okuda Shunsaku, and feels like it comes from somewhere between their music projects as The Brilliant Green and Tommy february6.
The series comes packed inside of a large chipboard box containing two slim DVD cases and the now-requisite NIS America artbook, this time entitled “The Everyday Tales of Antiques Unlimited”. The book features a few screenshots and a short synopsis of each episode as well as a series of sketches and finished art pieces related to the series.
Overall, the series is not bad, but it does feel mediocre due to the lack of depth. The vast majority of the material is child-friendly (the exception being the “rock-paper-stripper” sequence in the OVA, though even this doesn’t really show anything), making it a good show to watch as a family, but it just isn’t a terribly memorable series.
Full Disclosure: This series was reviewed using a copy provided by NIS America.
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