I first saw Cat Soup (ねこぢる草) back when I was taking Japanese culture classes at The Ohio State University. We were lucky enough to watch it in class, and it was pretty awesome. Surprisingly, I’d forgotten about it until just recently, so I watched it again. Now I wish that I’d remembered Cat Soup when I was making my Top 10 Strange Japanese Films You Need to Watch list. It would have been a serious contender.
What is This “Cat Soup” You Speak of?
Cat Soup is a 2001 Japanese animated short film (33 minutes long) directed by Tatsuo Sato and inspired by the work of manga artist Nekojiru. The main character is Nyatta, an anthropomorphic kitten (how cute!) and he travels to the land of the dead in an effort to save his sister’s soul.
This movie is super trippy. Lots of crazy things happen along the way that make me go “Wait, what? Really? That’s really happening?” For a short film about cute cartoon kittens, this movie sure is wacky.
The film has received some critical acclaim as well. Cat Soup won an Excellence Prize (Animation Division) at the Japan Media Arts Festival and the Best Short Film award at the Fantasia Festival in 2001, and the Silver Award for Animation at the New York Exposition of Short Film and Video in 2003. Not too shabby.
And Now for Your Viewing Pleasure…
Luckily for you, Cat Soup has been uploaded to YouTube so that anyone may enjoy the wild and crazy ride. It’s not available on Netflix, unfortunately, but the YouTube video quality is pretty good. I’ve included a trailer for Cat Soup below, but if you’re planning on watching the movie anyway, I suggest you just watch the movie so you don’t spoil anything the trailer might reveal. It’s not like there’s really any spoilers in the trailer, it’s just more fun to watch a goofy movie when you have no idea what to expect. And it’s only 33 minutes! Just watch the darn thing.
And the video below is the full movie. The subtitle group misses a few translations, but there’s hardly any talking in the movie at all, and the lines they miss really aren’t all that important and you can tell from the context what’s going on anyway. No worries. Also be aware that the movie can get a little “graphic.” And by that I mean there’s a little bit of cartoon nudity and gore. It’s not gratuitous or offensive, just thought you should be aware.
So what did you think? Was it everything you wanted it to be? Think it deserves a spot among the strangest Japanese movies of all time? Or at least among the strangest anime movies of all time? Let us know in the comments!