Cat Soup

Via Nick, this anime title was brought to my attention. The description at ANN is compelling:

Plot Summary: Cat Soup is an extremely difficult film to describe, due to its awesome surrealism and almost nonexistent dialogue. It is more a work of art than an anime. There are many underlying themes, such as the transience of man’s existence, but it can be enjoyed without understanding any of them. The plot, though simple, isn’t necessarily understandable without being explained. The main character, a cat named Nyatto, embarks upon a journey to save his sister’s soul, which was ripped in two when Nyatto tried to save her from Death. She trails after him, brain-dead. They encounter many brilliant, mind-bending situations, beginning with a disturbing magic show.

Given that the show contains sex, drugs, and extreme graphic violence, it’s not exactly kawaii-safe. Though you wouldn’t know that from some of the visuals:

Cat Soupcat11.jpgcat12.jpg

There are more images where those came from at this gallery. I grabbed the torrent and am downloading it as we speak. I’ll give this a shot this weekend if I get time.

6 thoughts on “Cat Soup”

  1. Well, the actual phrase was “*May* contain sex, drugs, and extreme graphic violence” but it is still a show that I wouldn’t show kids.

    I’ll wait till you watch it before I say more, though.

  2. May contain? ah well πŸ™‚ I am actually looking forward to this. I got the download last night, and couldn’t resist peeking at random frames in the AVI file. It looks positively bizarre yet entrancing. I have no idea how long it, or how many episodes, or anything. I just realized that I don’t even know if the version I grabbed is in Japanese or English. If the former, I’ll just have to wing it. There weren’t any other torrents available.

  3. I’ve had this DVD sitting around for a while, but haven’t had the chance to watch it yet. I think I added it on to some order so I could get free shipping.

    Now you’ve got me interested. I guess it is time to knock another one off the ‘unwatched pile’…

  4. Hmm, if you have the DVD and watched through it once already, check out the director’s commentary. It’s not so bad since _Cat Soup_ is only 1/2 hour long and the commentary is quite amusing with moments like (I’m paraphrasing from memory) “yeah, we weren’t sure how we were going to approach this scene” and “The animators were worried about animating this, asking ‘Is this ok?’. I had to keep reassuring them that this will work out in the end…”. One of my favorite gems was “We told the animator to draw a bird containing the sky…”.

  5. OK, I watched it. I have to admit, it was good, in that weird subjective trippy kind of way. I’m still not sure what to make of it. As far as I can tell its a quest story to rescue his sister’s soul, with some cosmic tangents along the way. I still need to digest just what the heck I saw. But I liked it alot. Can’t explain why πŸ™‚

    Overall, it’s an easy commitment, about a half-hour. This is definitely worth watching.

    Nick, can you lend your thoughts? Curious to know your interpretations an opinions.

  6. Well, it is, as you put it earlier, bizarre.

    My main thoughts? Like some other animes, I liken it to a state of mind. To use another anime as an example, watching _Serial Experiments Lain_ was described as being on an LSD trip. With _Cat Soup_, it feels like a vivid dream sequence. You have a series of loosely (*very* loosely) connected sequences with a main thought behind it.

    The flower is possibly a symbol of something (Hope? Faith?) that causes an awakening, a rebirth, or an increased awareness. It is seen in quite a few places, so it is something that is close at hand or easy to attain, but in this case, it is Nyatta (the younger boy cat) giving it to Nyaako (the girl cat). Then the ending (before the end credits) seems to suggest a sudden change. It could be interpreted directly of existence winking out, but I would play it along with my dream interpretation above; that is suddenly being woken up. It’s like the disorientation when first getting up and being confused as to what’s going on, but in this case, it is the dream that’s fading.

    Though the anime is loosely base on the quite popular underground manga _Nekojiru Udon_, (and I don’t know how loosely, either. I couldn’t find any scans or copies of the manga.) it could reflect on the mangaka’s state of mind. She committed suicide in 1998, so it could be said that she was unstable when doing these.

    Or maybe I’m reading too far into it… πŸ™‚

    Some References:

    “Cat Soup on Wikipedia”:
    “Nekojiru on Wikipedia”:

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