Taking viewers to a world where kemonomimi and commonplace, in early-2020, Neko Works’ popular visual novel Nekopara was adapted into a 12-episode TV anime. This follows a much earlier crowdfunding campaign for a single original video animation (OVA) which met its goal, was delivered and was pretty good in its own right (I say as someone who backed the project). This TV anime saw the return of animation studio Felix Film.
With Nekopara having its roots as an erotic visual novel (although with all-ages friendly versions available on multiple storefronts), the show is not devoid of fanservice. Especially with some characters, their main personality leans more to the suggestively sexual. But even if you usually err on the side of caution around such content, everything they present is incredibly charming and cute, and trumps anything which could be construed as erotic.
Similar to the original volumes of Nekopara, the story focuses on the six catgirls of the Minaduki family, as they come together to work at the patisserie La Soleil. The main ‘anime’ story has a focus on Chocola and Vanilla – the youngest catgirls of the family, with the pair meeting the (anime-exclusive) kitten, Cacao, a homeless cat brought into the family. However, the focus is distributed across all characters, with episodes dedicated to pretty much each main pairing of cat.
Each character has their chance to shrine through their distinct personalities, from the more mature and sophisticated yet incredibly stubborn Maple, to the quiet and grounded but affectionate Vanilla. Nekopara also features a few named human characters throughout the story. But as is typical with visual novels, the male human Kashou who runs La Soleil tends to fall into the background – overpowered by the others antics and character development.
Compared to The Helpful Fox Senko-san, Nekopara has a more complete storyline rather than just concluding abruptly. But whether you are just watching the show for something narrative-driven or just a fluffy cute experience – you are likely to find much to enjoy in the series! Also, if you ever need a quick cuteness pick-me-up…. just watch the opening sequence a few times!
Nekopara was officially released in Australia last month as a complete series collection. For spending the money, you get a small collection of bonus features – mostly around clean opening and ending sequences. Usually these are *-yawn-* inclusions in a DVD or Blu-ray collection… but as mentioned above…. they are both perfect for that quick cuteness pick-me-up
Nekopara is now available to stream in North America, Australia and New Zealand via Funimation. Both Japanese voice over and English dub options are available. Home video releases on Blu-ray are also available in North America and Australia.
This review was originally posted in the article ‘Three Anime which Give Off That Warm Fuzzy Feeling‘, published in July 2021.