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All-Purpose Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash Mode 2

ADV Films // Unrated // November 11, 2003
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Don Houston | posted January 29, 2004 | E-mail the Author
Movie: Japanese animation, anime for short, often tells interesting stories that folks of all ages can appreciate. It doesn't matter if the show is about young lovers, science fiction, sword & sorcery fantasy or whatever else, there seems to be a market for all the sub-genres available. In general, the Japanese culture allows for a much broader range of entertainment with adult themes often mixed in with the cartoon shows that allow whole families to watch together. One example of this style of entertainment is a newly released on DVD show from ADV, Cultural Cat Nuku Nuku Dash!: Mode Two.

The show is part of a twelve episode series that details the life of a female android with super senses and abilities that has lost her memory. She stays with a family in a small town in Japan, some 12 years in the future after a big war. While she doesn't have memories specific to her mission or purpose in life, she does have some automatic programming that takes over and puts her in auto drive when the necessity arises. The series is only slightly related to the original OVA and follow-up series that started in 1992, using some of the same concepts and characters but altering them to form a new continuity (much like the Tenchi series do). I never saw the original series so I can't honestly discuss the merits of one versus the other but this one was pretty good for it's technical limitations.

Episode Five: Nuku Nuku's Date:
Ryunosuke, having fallen head over heels for Nuku (or at least her human persona) and brags to some of his friends that he's going out with her. The lie does what most lies do, expands and becomes unmanageable, leaving the young man at the mercy of his chosen fate. Nuku ends up on a date with one of Ryunosuke's friends and he stalks the couple on their date while Mishima Industries plots a new way to detect the androbot.

Episode Six: Heart & Soul:
Ryunosuke and Nuku happen upon some motherless kittens while riding about the town. Nuku's maternal instincts, not to mention her cat-like personality, kick in and she takes them home with her. As a team of Mishima Industry specialists close in on Nuku, trying to capture/destroy her, events transpire to show Nuku's humanity far more completely than anything else could have done.

Episode Seven: A Girl-Yuko:
Ryunosuke and Nuku come across a young girl with health problems. In less than a day, the girl will die if she doesn't get back to the hospital but Ryunosuke tries to hide her in order to give her a taste of freedom. As the pair is hunted down, the time limit looms every closer. Will the girl, the victim of medical experiments, make it to see another day?

Episode Eight: What Bonds Humans And Machines:
Mishima Industries, never exactly concerned with responsible research, let's a new super weapon loose on the city. The weapon can attach to any other machine, making it a powerful weapon and is nearly unstoppable. When all else fails, will Nuku Nuku be able to use her unique abilities to counter the menace, following her programming to protect all life?

Okay, the whole show seemed a little light in terms of depth of character and concept. It had only a bit of the jiggle that guys like and even less of the science fiction concept while emphasizing the romance angle and beat them up action that have been done to death by now. Further, the anime style looked much like some of the Pokemon series shown on Saturday morning television (you know, the rushed, ultra-cheap looking series). That makes this a somewhat acquired taste and only worth a rating of Rent It from me. I liked how Nuku Nuku has now been given some sentience about who, and what, she is, and that didn't hurt the level of intelligence displayed, but there were too many limitations to give it a higher rating at this time.

Picture: The picture was presented in the usual 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. While the style of anime itself seemed much older than the usual style from 1998, the year of production for the original show, it was generally well made with a somewhat dulled finish to it. All the usual color palate was used, it just lacked the brightness and clarity I'd expect from a fairly modern anime show. The anime style was fairly low budget looking but again, it wasn't terrible, just limited.

Sound: The audio was presented in Dolby Digital stereo with a choice of either English or Japanese with optional subtitles. The vocals seemed a bit hollow but the sound effects and music were fairly clear.

Extras: The best extra to the DVD was a paper insert that provided detailed character information, a corporate organizational chart for Mishima Industries, and an imaginary interview with two of the characters. It was done in 12-page booklet form and looked good. The other extras were trailers, a clean opening and close, and a double sided DVD cover.

Final Thoughts: This was an okay release with a bit of decent entertainment value going for it but the limitations kept me from really enjoying it as much as I could have. The limited adult aspects played uneasily against the majority of the show (designed for younger kids) but it was worth a rental to anime fans.

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