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Cat Soup (a.k.a. Nekojiru-Sou) is a multiple award-winning animated short film directed by Tatsuo Sato and inspired by the work of the late manga artist Chiyomi "Nekojiru" Hashiguchi.

It centers around a family of anthropomorphic cats, specifically two kittens: the terminally ill Nyako and her younger brother Nyatta. After Nyako dies, Nyatta manages to reclaim half of her soul from Jizou. This brings her back to life, but leaves her brain-dead. Determined to return his sister back to normal, Nyatta goes on a surreal journey through the land of the dead to retrieve the other half. Or something.

Not to be confused with Neko Ramen.


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Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: In addition to their daughter being on the verge of death, the parents also almost lose their son when he nearly drowns in the bathtub.
  • All There in the Manual: Nyatta and Nyako are only given names on the movie's websites.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The Father Time equivalent towards the end.
  • Author Appeal: Art Direction is handled by Masaaki Yuasa, who is well-known for his colorful Deranged Animation and manipulation of perspective.
  • Auto Cannibalism: The Pig ends up being served some of its own fat, by Nyatta.
  • Black Comedy: The whole series including the OVA is this. Especially the Father Time scene. Special mention goes to an animation of people being executed by terrorists in reverse.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Nyako gets splattered with blood at the circus.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Nyatta befriends a pig, butchers him alive, and shares his meat with him.
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  • Cats Are Mean: Nyatta is pretty vicious to anyone who isn't a family member.
  • Cessation of Existence: Nyatta's family, the world itself, and you, all die or disappear in this fashion.
    • Subverted when time stops; Nyatta breaks off and stomps on a person's teardrop...whatever that's supposed to mean.
  • Circus of Fear: Nyatta and Nyako go to one just before they start off on their adventures.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: In the original doujinshi, Nyako was a little boy whose family could only afford the girls' clothes, so he had to wear those instead. In the OVA, Nyako is a girl.
  • Cute Kitten: The only real cute thing about them is their appearance. Otherwise they're Creepy Children.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The woman who sews Nyatta's arm back to his body also has a bunch of cats and cat pieces strewn about her place of work. According to the short film's commentary, Yuasa described her as "nice" despite all of the grotesque imagery, and that place was where cats in general get sewn back together.
  • Dissonant Serenity: "Big sis, big sis, my arm came off."
  • Downer Ending: After the quest is over, Nyatta's family disappears one by one, and then...
  • Ear Cleaning: Nyatta's father does this to him early on in the movie. Seeing how Nyako just ran all night and he tries to get back his sister, this scene could be considered a Heartwarming Moment.
    • Actually, he's cleaning his ears because he found Nyatta half-drowned in the tub. While Nyatta was half-dead, he spirit-walked outside his body and noticed Jizou taking his sister's soul, took it back, and when his father revived him by pulling him out of the bath, he still had the soul. To add insult to injury, Nyatta's dad is so drunk he doesn't actually even notice Nyatta is still unconscious while he does so; Nyatta only wakes up just before the mother runs in to announce the death of Nyako.
  • Empty Shell: Nyako before Nyatta finds the other part of her soul.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Technically they're pterosaurs, but close enough.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: There's a scene where Nyatta imagines samurai cutting up a fish until there's nothing left of it but its head, bones, and tailfin (that it somehow is able to walk on). Then it swims in the water and ends up on the beach... it's supposed to be symbolic.
  • Eye Scream
  • Fan Disservice: At one point, the camera has a rather lingering view of an ass. Just an ass.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Cats are racist toward the Pigs. In the movie they beat the pig who saved them from the flood by taking them unto his boat. In the show, Nekojiru Gekijou, the Cat children are taught to be racists by their own parents.
  • Free-Range Children: Nyatta, a kitten, is able to travel (with his brain-dead older sister for company) to some utterly bizarre and very dangerous places — and his parents don't seem to even notice.
  • Funny Animal: In a very dark and disturbing way.
  • Gainax Ending: Nyatta ends up erasing all of reality by bring his sister back to life.
  • Grand Finale: Being a Big Damn Movie that concludes with the entire Nekojiru universe (and its viewers) being erased from existence, the film serves as this for the Nekojiru canon.
  • God Is Evil: Subverted, since he seems to be more apathetic than outright cruel. Considering how his main concern was eating a part of a planet, even messing with time and space to do so, this may not be far from the truth.
  • Grotesque Cute: A story featuring two little kittens traveling through hell can't get much cuter or more grotesque than this.
  • Ill Girl: Nyako.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The pig finds it hard to resist Nyatta cooking his own flesh and eventually decides to have a piece.
  • Justified Title: Nyako and Nyatta find themselves in a cauldron of water, making it cat soup.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: Nyatta and the pig. Also Nyako and Nyatta with the man, who feeds them before boiling them in soup.
  • Mature Animal Story: Pretty much.
  • Meaningful Name: Nyatta and Nyako's names start with the Japanese onomatopoeia for a cat's meow.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: A bunch of these reside in a mechanical forest where the flower that contains the other part of Nyako's soul is found.
  • Mind Screw: Symbolism everywhere. Whether Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory or just the Rule of Cool is up the viewer.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The cruel treatment towards the pig is a callback to the original Nekojiru manga, where the characters were prejudiced against pigs for some reason.
    • The sequence where Nyatta hits the pig over the head and consumes the lumps formed from his injuries is also taken from the manga, but it was done to a monkey boy who served them as a specialty item in his family's restaurant.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted twice, possibly symbolically. The first time leads to a visual digression on the circle of life and death.
    • A woman can be seen taking a dump in the middle of the street earlier in the film.
    • Nyatta also took a dump at one point.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The ending theme, to add to the Downer Ending. Sato mentions on the commentary track that this was a recording of a real, custom-made music box.
  • OVA
  • Planet Eater: God appears to do so during the time freezing sequence. He's first shown eating a food with red goop coming out of it, which the commentary describes as a planet. Right before the ending, he's about to eat a planet that looks suspiciously like Earth.
  • Psychopomp: The Egyptian man who takes Nyako away in the beginning. If he's anything like his manga counterpart, he would have just taken her to Heaven had Nyatta not interfered.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: An interpretation of the ending: by rescuing his sister from death, Nyatta broke the laws of nature and consequently erased all of existence.
  • Rebus Bubble
  • Rule of Cool: If the scenes aren't supposed to be symbolic, then they are this.
  • Robotic Reveal: The man who tries to eat the siblings is revealed to be some sort of android when Nyatta pulls the skin of his head off.
  • Saw a Woman in Half: A pretty horrifying version, to say the least.
  • Silence Is Golden: The only audible speech is squeaky-sounding gibberish, although there's a few lines that appear as Speech Bubbles.
  • Suddenly Voiced: While Nyatta is limited to saying "Nyan!" and "Baka!" in the manga and TV series, here he says this line:
  • Surreal Horror
  • Tailfin Walking: In one scene.
  • Time Stands Still: Father Time does this.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Nyatta eats snails and has a Kangaroo Court in his backyard dedicated to killing bugs. Nyako squishes dead animals, and at one point kills a dog by beating it to death.
  • To Hell and Back: In order to find Nyako's soul.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Nyatta doesn't find the pig's head bumps as good as his flesh.
  • Widget Series
  • Word Salad Title: The English title sounds like this — but it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin, at least for one scene.
    • Actually, there's another reason behind the odd title. The movie is based on the works of a comic artist with the pen name "Nekojiru" ("boiled cat stew"). Her works often had "nekojiru" in them - this movie's original title, in fact, is "Nekojiru-sou" ("boiled cat stew grass"). "Cat Soup" is an English pun on "catsup," a spelling of "ketchup," and thus the closest the translator could get to a morbid English food-related cat pun similar to the original.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Everyone dies. Even you.

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