The heartwarming story of a Boy and his cat......and a major Military Equipment Manufacturer.
Boy #1: What's your favorite food? Nuku-Nuku: Dried mackerel and horsemeat. Boy #2: What's your favorite hobby? Nuku-Nuku: Sitting in the sun.
Combine a state-of-the-art combat android with the brain of a stray cat, wrap it all in the appearance of an enthusiastic teenage girl, and what do you get? Nuku-Nuku, aka Atsuko Natsume, "daughter" of engineer/roboticist/high school teacher Kyousuke Natsume and "sister" of ten-year-old Ryuunosuke Natsume. Busty, bouncy and absolutely innocent in the way a kitten is, Nuku-Nuku is also a powerful combat cyborg who is fiercely protective of her family and friends. Since her "father" is the estranged husband of the CEO of Mishima Heavy Industries, Japan's number one military contractor, and she herself is a stolen prototype he created, that means she sees a lot of action. From a pair of trigger-happy goonettes to a psychotic android that wants to steal her body to the task of trying to reunite Kyousuke and his wife so her little brother is happy, Nuku-Nuku approaches every challenge with a smile, a laugh, and a grip that can bend steel I-beams.A light-hearted, comedic miniseries despite its darkish opening and the vast amount of firepower deployed throughout its six episodes, All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku is a fun romp with one of the more endearing anime heroines of the early 1990s. It's proven popular enough to spawn several Alternate UniverseSpin Offs. The anime franchise as a whole consists of three entries:
All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku / Bannou Bunka Nekomusume (All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl) - Two three-episode OVA series based on the original manga. The entry most find to be the best, and the only one non-fans have likely heard of. Follows the basic premise as outlined above.
All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku TV / Bannou Bunka Nekomusume - A fourteen-episode TV series which features a Lighter and Softer tone, focusing more on slapstick comedy than action. TV famously changed the character dynamic, focusing less on the Natsume family and more on Nuku Nuku's misadventures as she attempts to adjust to the life of a high school girl while battling regular robot attacks instigated by Hell Mishima, a Corrupt Corporate Executive who takes over Akiko (downgraded to Punch Clock Villain)'s position as the major antagonist.
All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku Dash / Bannou Bunka Nekomusume Dash - A twelve-episode OVA series which serves as TV's antithesis, being a (slightly) Darker and Edgier reimagining of the basic premise wherein Nuku Nuku is an escaped Mishima Industries android with Laser-Guided Amnesia who battles MHI robots while maintaining a second life as the older sister figure/crush of Ryuunosuke, who in this series is an Ordinary High School Student as opposed to a child. Generally considered to be the weakest of the three due to its straight-playing of multiple tropes which were, at the time, considered overused, leading to it being labeled a Cliché Storm by critics.
Tropes associated with two or more versions:
Alternate Continuity: None of the different series take place in the same universe, allowing for them all to have a different plot with the same basic premise.
CyborgCat Girl: Each version of her is a cyborg. In the OVA and fourteen ep TV series, she has a cat's brain. In Dash, it's implied she, as well as her sister Rei Rei, each have a cat's brain and its entire nervous system....
Cute Bruiser: Nuku-Nuku in each and every version. The original also has fellow Robot Girl Eimi Yoshikawa. In Dash, Nuku Nuku goes from cute to outright boob-loaded, in addition to the change in hair and eye color.
Eek, a Mouse!!: Subverted. Nuku-Nuku, having a cat's brain, interprets the sight of a mouse as "YAY!" and starts chasing after it, regardless of any destruction said chasing may incur due to her gynoid body.
Enemy Mine: The last episode of the original OVA series has Nuku-Nuku and Eimi and Akiko's Office Lady warriors all team up to go into space and destroy the rogue satellite that will kill Akiko at midnight. The final episode of TV sees Kyuusaku and Hell Mishima team up to prevent a giant cat-shaped planet from crashing into the Earth.
No Water Proofing In The Future: Subverted - Nuku-Nuku can handle water just fine, but she can't swim because her robot body is too heavy to float and she sinks in any large body of water. She is eventually upgraded to get around this.
Surprisingly one of the tropes played straight in TV. The very first Monster of the Week is a Humongous Mecha washing machine whose waterproofing failed and caused it to go on a rampage after it shorted out.
The Ojou: Akiko in all incarnations except TV. Said series instead gives this role to Rich Bitch Chieko.
Peek-a-Bangs: Kyusaku's. They cover both eyes in OVA, and one eye in TV and Dash.
Punch Clock Villain: Akiko is downgraded to one of these in TV, as she is seen to still be Happily Married to Kyusaku and acting as a doting mother to Ryuunosuke when off the clock. When on the clock, she becomes "Bloody Akiko", completely devoted to fulfilling whatever inane plot her boss has in store that week.
Arisa and Kyouko are this in every incarnation.
Punny Name: Nuku-Nuku's name is a both a pun related to her serial number (NK-1124) and her "civillain" name Atsuko. "Nukunuku" means something similar to "Warm and Cozy", while "Atsuko" is "Hot Girl". Also rather ironic considering that Nuku-Nuku, being a gynoid, doesn't even register excessive temperatures and has to have the fact that something is hot pointed out to her by Kyusaku.
Robot Girl: Eimi in the OVA, the other NK-series Androids in Dash aside from Nuku Nuku herself and Her Sister Rei Rei, who are cyborgs, instead.
Lolicon: Kyusaku is accused of being one, first by Akiko due to having designed Nuku-Nuku as a Joshikousei, and later by Nuku-Nuku's Instant Fan Club due to them misinterpreting his relationship with their "Angel".
The Masochism Tango: Mr. Natsume and Ms. Mishima. You'd think they're still married by how happy they seem to be when they are actually together... Except that just that scenario takes place for an entire episode and proves that neither of them are really happy unless they're trying to kill each other.
No Guy Wants an Amazon: Arisa and Kyouko become exasperated at how a "bimbo" like Nuku-Nuku catches so much attention and they, being "strong and intelligent" are ignored.
Serial Escalation: Nuku-Nuku's bike rides. At least one series review has referred to them as "BMX-Tours-Are-For-Wimps" rides. The gets to the point where OVA episode 5's plot is kicked off by her having destroyed Ryuunosuke's bicycle during one.
Tempting Fate: Arisa and Kyouko are injured when Eimi escapes MHI at the beginning of the fourth episode. Later on we see them using this rare chance to take time off from work. Arisa then utters "I only wish we injured a bit more!" Cue Eimi and Nuku-Nuku rocketing into their apartment, wrecking it and leaving them under the remains.
Kyouko (Just before passing out): Are you happy now?
The Tokyo Fireball: Quite literally in the fourth episode, which sees Nuku and Eimi destroy a sizable portion of Nerima by exploding the large natural gas tank field which is a landmark of the district.
Boss Subtitles: Used for just about every single character in most early episodes.
Class Representative: Nuku-Nuku's best friend Futaba. We later find out that she also has a number of sisters, each of whom is also a Class Representative. Every last one of them is extremely controlling and obsessed with organization and order.
They actually carry out arguments with one another using their whistles.
Filk Song: Pretty much anything thought up by Eiichi Ikenami. Though the words are always different, it's always the same tune.
Girl Posse: Hidariko and Migiko are this for Chieko. The posse is expanded during the valentine's episode, where the one-off characters Ueko and Shitako make an appearance to help them steal all the chocolate in town.
Living Prop: Miyuki Miyuzawa, who mostly just stands around reading books and not saying or doing much of anything until the second Musical Episode, where she's revealed to have been the one playing the main character in the film being made by everyone.
Lord Error-Prone: Kyusaku tends to misinterpret mostly harmless Mishima projects as intentionally evil ventures.
Mars Needs Women: Spoofed. An alien mouse-woman comes down to Earth to profess her love for Yamagata-sensei. She eventually ditches him when she (eventually) realizes that he doesn't have a tail.
Nuku-Nuku mispronouncing Chieko's last name wrong each time she see her.
Shout-Out: This series spoofs several popular anime, such as when Harmless Villain Hell Mishima decides to hold a singing contest after seeing a rather transparent knockoff of Basara Nekki on TV and being inspired. Nuku-Nuku takes off to school every morning on her bike while yelling "SCRAMBLE DASH!". Another instance is Kyusaku's high school invention, the Geta Robo (which forms from, you guessed it, his geta sandals).
He then later upgrades to Geta Robo G, and fifteen years later, Shin Geta Robo.
Theme Twin Naming: Hidariko and Migiko. Their names literally mean "Left Girl" and "Right Girl". The valentine's day episode gives us a second set (who also look like the first, but without moles) named Ueko ("Above Girl") and Shitako ("Below Girl").
Name's the Same: A really weird version cropped up here, where the character identified in the other versions as "Arisa" became known as "Kyouko" and vice versa. They even inherited some of each other's personality quirks.