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[Mayoi Neko Overrun!]
AKA: Stray Cat Overrun!, 迷い猫オーバーラン! (Japanese)
Genre: High school gag comedy / drama
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America
Content Rating: 16+ (fan service, violence, suggestive themes, infantile humor)
Related Series: None
Also Recommended: I'm going to go out and say pretty much any non-AIC produced harem comedy series. It wouldn't be hard to top this series, believe me.
Notes: Based on the light novel series by Tomohiro Matsu and illustrated by Peco, currently running in Super Dash Bunko. A manga adaption, written by Matsu and illustrated by Kentaro Yabuki (Black Cat, To Love Ru), ran in the monthly shonen magazine Jump Square before it was cancelled.

This review does not take into account the final episode, which is a clip show.
Rating: One Star

Mayoi Neko Overrun!

Synopsis

Takumi Tsuzuki lives (and works) with his adopted older sister Otome at the Stray Cats confectionery store, along with his childhood friend Fumino Serizawa. Their lives are fairly normal until Otome bings home a beautiful girl with long, purple hair which looks like that of a cat (and even goes "nya"). The girl, Nozomi Kiriya, after some initial trouble, eventually stays with the Tsuzuki residence. There's also the rich blonde, Chise Umenomori, who treats Takumi like her slave, as well as Takumi's friends Ieyasu and Kouya.


Review

Mayoi Neko Overrun! is another title from AIC. Or should I say, another harem comedy anime from AIC. And all credibility goes downhill from there. I know I'm sounding negative, but it's hard not to in a genre that has a dime a dozen titles in the same vein. A title has to stand out from the crowd these days in this crowded world of anime. Mayoi Neko Overrun!, unfortunately, only stands out because it's so bad, it makes crappy anime like Samurai Harem and Sister Princess almost look credible.

Where should we start? Should we start with the infuriating heroine Fumino Serizawa, who makes Taiga Aisaka look like a gentle angel? Or how about the poor attempts at comedy, which makes Colorful look like Blazing Saddles? Or how about the overall banal writing, which almost makes Di Gi Charat look well-written?

I guess we can talk about the characters first. The characters in Mayoi Neko Overrun! come in four categories: annoying, selfish, useless, and despicable. Far and beyond worst of the bunch is the mean-spirited, rotten, hugely unlikable Fumino Serizawa, who's such a despicable character (both in general and to others), I constantly wondered if she suffered a severe case of misanthropy. Not only is she unlikable and unsympathetic, but any and all character development involving her is washed away literally seconds after happening...or almost happening. (Somehow she has a friend in school - the energetic, far more appealing Kanae.) Even her character design sucks - what is up with the ribbons in her hair? She also has a "cute" character trait in that she says the opposite of what she means, which gives her actress, Kanae Itou, an excuse to sound pissy and annoyed nearly every time she opens her mouth.

Next we have Chise Umenomori, both the pedophile bait of the series (despite being Fumino's age) and the resident "rich bitch". When she's not talking down to others or calling everyone her servants, she throws temper-tantrums like a baby when things don't go her way. It's also "thanks" to her that the Stray Cats Club is established, which I will later get into in this review. However, unlike Fumino, Chise sometimes shows kindness and compassion to others , mainly one specific girl below. These are among the more tolerable parts of the series, but it's not long before Fumino utterly ruins any goodwill she brings forth.

The last leading female is Nozomi Kiriya, a stoic, busty girl with fake cat ears and a fake tail who says "nya", but otherwise is there for little more than cat-girl fetish fuel. Far and beyond the most likable of the three leading females, if only because she's the only one who doesn't treat the main lead like crap, as well as treats others with respect.

Oh yes, the main lead. His name is Takumi Tsuzuki, but who cares? He's not a full-fledged character more so than a tool for the other girls to use. He and Fumino were childhood "friends" in an orphanage, and the last two there before it closed down. Ironically, it's thanks to his horrific mantra, "If someone hurts you, pay them back twice!", that Fumino became the raging bitch she is today, yelling "Die twice!!" at him when angry.

Takumi also has an older sister, the ridiculously busty Otome, who adopted the boy when he was little. She's the owner of the Stray Cats store he and Fumino work at, but is often too busy helping other people to take care of her own restaurant. Mind you, this is a running gag. (Just like any bra that she wears pops off when she wears it.) There are at least two major instances where she flat-out leaves the other characters for dead to attend to some asinine request from people as far as hundreds as miles from here when they need her the most. What a great caretaker! Maybe if this joke was used once, and only once, it might be amusing, but they beat it to death. Why? Because Mayoi Neko Overrun! doesn't know, or care for, comedic timing or restraint.

This lack of restraint in Mayoi Neko Overrun! shows itself in the series' writing, which jumps from plot to plot moreso than a forest full of rabbits. One episode they're filming a commercial, another they're doing a mecha parody, another they're playing a perverted game of Jenga called Power Blocks, and then another there's a sports festival. It's like watching those really lame Saturday morning cartoons in the 70's and 80's that took their ideas from everyone else and animated them instead of making their own, and is no less sincere about it. Mayoi Neko Overrun! fails at even doing that competently. In episode 6, when the gang shoot a commercial, there's a joke about how they they shoot various seasons at completely inappropriate locations, such as a winter scene in the middle of the dessert. Episode 7, which is a "parody" of mecha series, plays it so straight that it fails completely at its objective. They even managed to screw up at parodying fighting games - having your characters simply pose and move like fighting game characters doesn't make it funny. And don't even get me started again on Perverted Jinga, er, the Power Blocks in episode 8, or the asinine bloomers / biker shorts battle in the final two episodes.

Mayoi Neko Overrun! fails just as hard on drama. You're supposed to feel bad for Takumi and Fumino being orphans, but Fumino is such an awful, awful character that she destroys any and all emotional attachment that this could possibly bring up. Too often you'll wonder why Takumi even talks to a girl who does NOTHING but belittle and physically/mentally abuse him. For example, in episode 9, when Takumi and Fumino have to go on an island to hide from the rain, all she does at first is yell at him, telling him to go get the boat in the middle of a storm! When the two are forced to stay tonight, all she does is yell at him some more for looking at Nozomi earlier that day, as well as forcing him to promise him to not do anything lewd or stupid. He agrees to this, but all this does is make her cry, calling him "the worst" and moving away from him. Huh? Then later, when they talk under the stars, Fumino talks to Takumi as if he wasn't there (lovely), but then yells at him for real for "leaving her". And we never find out why she does this, since the next episode completely drops this.

Episode 10 of the series has the girls finding a girl named Honoka, who Otome mistakenly thinks is an orphan and brings her back to the bakery. She's revealed not to be, but her character allows Fumino, Chise, and Nozomi to realize they are "stray cats" themselves again. An almost touching scene ruined by the arrival of Takumi at the end of the episode, who spent the whole episode with his friend Ieyasu learning the ways of an anime otaku. When he returns home with a backpack full of anime and manga, Fumino (of course) punches him into the air once more. Thanks, Mayoi Neko Overrun!. Thank you for ruining the one actual moment in the series that involved more than three minutes of genuine emotion in its cast! It's like eating your favorite dinner and then finishing it with that case of freezer burnt ice cream that's been in the back of your fridge for a few months.

I know I'm being harsh, but I honestly want to know why I should give a damn about anything happening in this series when the series itself doesn't. It's like the staff got together after episode 3 and declared no more story until episode 9, which ironically ends up being the single worst episode in the series. The series' sole interesting aspect - the constant switching of writers, directors, and key animators every episode - is lost due to Fumino destroying the entire series all by herself, making even the annoying Chise and the perverted anime otaku Ieyasu look like angels in comparison. All the staff share one thing, though; not a single team can seem to tell more than 2 or 3 decent jokes (if that) an episode, which are lost amid loud, mean-spirited characters and poor writing. Even acclaimed anime director Junichi Sato, director of two of my favorite anime (Aria and the first season of Sailor Moon), fails to pry us from the usual comedic shlock in the final episode, though he fares a little better than most of the previous directors do.

You'd think that the series, if nothing else, would at least have good eye candy, right? Nope. Well, the character designs are okay, but why do Fumino and Chise have ribbons that make them look like birthday presents? And the characters' dead, expressionless eyes - talk about phoning in your work. The backgrounds are bland and forgettable, and the animation never goes beyond mediocre at best. The background music is as exciting as tap water, and the opening and closing numbers are atrocious; proof that voice actresses should not sing their own series' songs unless they know how to. I can talk about more aspects of the series - such as Chise's two CG maids that present the next episode previews, who are more amusing than the series itself a good deal of the time - but I think I've talked enough about this series.

Mayoi Neko Overrun! is supposed to be a series about stray cats finding a home, which also doubles as a metaphor for the main female cast and Takumi, who are orphans (or "stray cats") themselves. Takumi and Fumino have no parents, Chise's are never around, and Nozomi is a stray cat-girl of sorts. Unfortunately, this potentially touching message about family is lost on unfunny jokes, lousy writing, and an infuriating, despicable heroine and her flat, terrible male lead of a love interest. When the most likable character in your series is cat-girl fetish fuel, you know you have problems.

In short - avoid this series. If you want to watch a good cartoon featuring cats, try Garfield and Friends and Top Cat. For an anime with a likable, cute, energetic cat-girl, try All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku. For good anime that feature cats in them, there's Aria, Sketchbook ~full color'S~, and even Sailor Moon. If you want good anime about family, try Fruits Basket, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, and My Neighbors the Yamadas. Leave Mayoi Neko Overrun! to fend for itself in the alleyways of the vast Anime City.

Lame characters and unfunny humor? No thanks. Just move on.Tim Jones

Recommended Audience: None. This series is insulting to humans and cats alike.



Version(s) Viewed: Digital source
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Mayoi Neko Overrun! © 2010 Tomohiro Matsu / Peco / Stray Cats Club / Shueisha
 
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