Anime Club: Cat Soup

Heyo all you peoples out in MiR land! For this week’s anime club, we have the hyper surreal Japanese cat experiment (?) Cat Soup.

CAT SOUP

220px-Cat_Soup_cover

CREATED BY: Tatsuo Sato

STARRING: Absolutely Nobody!

GENRE: Experimental

YEAR: 2001

COUNTRY: Japan

hqdefault (3)Nyāko,  the older sister of Nyatta, lies very ill in her room. By accident, Nyatta drowns in the bathtub and, whilst being clinically dead, sees his sister leaving the house holding hands with the Japanese version of Ksitigarbha (known as Jizou in Japanese) and proceeds to follow them. Nyatta tries to take his sister back from Jizou but it holds on to her refusing to let go. Nyāko splits in two leaving Jizou with half of her soul while her brother runs away with the other half. Jizou sends a clue about a flower they must search for in order to retrieve the missing half-soul, then walks away with it.

Are you in the mood for plenty of surreal confusion? You sure as hell found it in Cat Soup.  The approach the creators took with Cat Soup was rather bold, as it does not feature a single word of spoken dialogue throughout the film. Being merely labeled as an experimental film, I was not surprised that the creators took plenty of risks such as that one. The animation style is absolutely gorgeous, bringing together a rather twisted and jaded world with our very real one. A rather confusing tale, Cat Soup is a figurative exploration of death in Japanese lore via cats that will absolutely have you scratching your head in confusion.

cat11I am going to tell you right now…Cat Soup is a rather decent trip down the rabbit hole. There are moments in the short film that I found were too heavy handed with the surrealism, most notably involving dissecting their anthropomorphic pig chauffeur via a convenient zipper and turning him into ham steaks. It gets even worse as Nyatta decides to cook said steaks for his brain dead sister the pig decides to chow down himself. Just a tad overhanded Cat Soup, just a tad.

PROS:

  • Powerful message despite no dialogue.
  • Beautiful animation.
  • Confusing yet intriguing.
  • Analysis of death in Japan and Shinto.

CONS:

  • Overhanded surrealism.

SCORE: 9.0 / 10

Lucky for all of you, you can watch the film in its entirety below:

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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All check out my lengthier video game reviews over at Nerd Bacon Games.

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