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Anime / Samurai Pizza Cats

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Top to bottom: Guido Anchovy, Polly Esther, and Speedy Cerviche

"A fully functioning, cybernetic, technologically advanced team of superheroes... and nobody's got a flashlight?"
Polly Esther

Would somebody PLEASE cue that description?

Kyattou Ninden Teyandee (キャッ党 忍伝 てやんでえ, "Cat Ninja Legend Teyandee" note ). is an anime from 1990 that got an English Gag Dub the next year in the form of Samurai Pizza Cats. A long-standing rumor says licensor Saban Entertainment either didn't manage to receive transcripts of the original show's dialog, lost the transcripts, or received horribly translated scripts, so the writers had to make up stories and dialog from scratch. (The official story is less amusing: the original production company didn't send the scripts because they had given Saban carte blanche to turn the show into something a Western audience would find funny. Then again, given how Ghost Stories came about...)

The eponymous Samurai Pizza Cats [Nyankii] are the owners/employees of a pizza parlor, the actual "Pizza Cats" of the "dubbed" version's title.note  They defend the city of Little Tokyo [Edoropolis] and the royal family (pushy, spoiled Princess Violet [Usa-Hime], and her demented father, Emperor Fred [Shogun Tokugawa Iei-Iei]) from the machinations of the villainous Big Cheese [Kon-no-Kami, who is actually a fox, rather than the rat the gag dub refers to him as]. Between the giant robots, the ninja crows (known as the "Kara-Kara clan" in the Japanese version) and the...peculiarities of their emperor (or rather, Shogun), this is both harder than it sounds and easier than it ought to be. While the original Japanese show also took a light-hearted and goofy approach to its action show format, Samurai Pizza Cats is chock full of sly references, shameless puns, rapid-fire sardonic humor, and a total refusal to acknowledge the outdated concept of the fourth wall.

In 2013, Discotek Media released a DVD boxset of the original Kyattou Ninden Teyandee in its entirety (uncut and with subs, of course). Discotek also released a boxset of Samurai Pizza Cats in 2013, and followed that up a few years later with a one-disc Blu-ray release (made possible by all the episodes being in standard definition, natch). And as of late December 2015, both versions are available on Crunchyroll for viewers in the US and Canada.

The Samurai Pizza Cats will deliver these tropes in 30 minutes or less:

  • Ambiguously Gay: Lord Kon/The Big Cheese, who is constantly cross-dressing, flirting with everyone, and basically a Paul Lynde expy in the dub.
  • Accidental Kiss: Speedy when he accidentally crashes in Seymour Big Cheese (Kohn-no-Kami). This was also Speedy's first kiss.
    • This was how Seymour and Jerry first met.
  • Achilles in His Tent: In "No Talent Guido," Speedy, Polly and Lucille become music stars, leaving Guido to sulk.
  • Action Girl: Polly Esther and Dee Dee. Francine (Otama) and Lucille (Omitsunote ) had their moments of this.
  • Actor Allusion: Chomoranma No. 1/2, the monster of the day in the Japanese version of "Cold and Crabby in Little Tokyo", was voiced by Megumi Hayashibara, who voiced Ranma Saotome (female). On a side note, Kappei Yamaguchi, who voiced Yattaro, voiced Ranma Saotome (male).
  • Adorable Evil Minions: The Ninja Crows. In addition to being ineffecutual, they are also often portrayed in a sympathetic light, such as when the Big Cheese could no longer afford to pay them, forcing them to get day jobs.
  • Aerith and Bob: Speedy Cerviche, Polly Esther, Guido Anchovy, and...Francine?
  • The Alcatraz: Prisoner Island. Which happens to be a tropical paradise resort.
  • Alien Episode: "Close Encounters of the Pig Kind" and "Unidentified Flying Oddballs".
  • All for Nothing: Happens in Episode 53 of the Japanese series. After Yattarou and Karamaru (AKA: "Bad Bird" in the Samurai Pizza Cats version) return safely after destroying the comet that would have wiped out Edoropolis (AKA: "Little Tokyo"), Omitsu is so happy to see Yattarou alive that she lets out a mega huge missile, which heads toward Edoropolis, blowing it up in the process (ironically, the missile is labelled "Omitsu is so happy ~ !!") The townspeople are seen rebuilding the city in the end of the episode, however, but still.
    • The SPC version of the episode cuts the nuclear missile part,note  but still has the scenes of Little Tokyo being rebuilt, so the tornado that preceded the comet heading towards the town must have caused some damage.
    • In the Japanese version of "Kung Fu Kitty Contest", Speedy wants to get a harem from Princess Vi as his wish. As he was about to make his wish, he accidentally sneezed on Vi, and she makes her call to send him to Prisoner Island. But Speedy ultimately begs for her forgiveness, which unfortunately for him, became his wish, and her order for Speedy's banishment was rescinded.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The Rude Noise (AKA: the "Yami no Nin-shu", or [loosely] "The Four Dark Ninjas") can combine their powers to perform more powerful attacks or to form their own mecha, called the Ninja Crowbot (Macrow).
  • Alternative Calendar: One episode of the Japanese version states the setting as year 1991 of the Mecha era.note 
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese theme song differs greatly from the English version.
  • Analogy Backfire: A Brick Joke version in "Field of Screwballs". Al Dente informs Princess Vi that she's getting her own show, to which she says "It's like I'm in The Wizard of Oz!". Earlier in the episode, she had made an And Your Little Dog, Too! curse at Lucille.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: In "The Cheese Who Stole Christmas," the Big Cheese dresses up as Santa and gives kids masks that won't come off, forcing the Pizza Cats to take action.
  • Angst Nuke: Lucille (Omitsu) and her missiles. extra empathize on the nuke part in the Kyatto Ninden Teyandee version of the finale
  • Animal Superheroes: Cats who work at a pizza parlour, who are also crime fighting samurai.
  • Animated Actors: The English Version, so much. Also happens in the Japanese version, but not until much later.
  • Animesque: Inverted. The show resembles a Golden Age Western cartoon in both artstyle and humor.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: The Gag Dub calls the cats Samurai, but they're actually Ninjas. There is however, one single Samurai in the original Japanese version...
  • Ascended Extra: Yard Bird (Choinah #7) and Cuckoo Bird (Cure-All Bird) show up in various episodes after their initial appearances. Mother and Junior even befriend Choinah off-screen in one episode.
  • Badass Boast: It goes by a little too quickly to have a big impact (due to the show's Rapid-Fire Comedy style), but in Episode 4, Big Cheese gives a surprisingly epic line to show how confident he is about his plan to scam a rich man out of his money.
    Jerry Atric: It seems he wants a private interview with this fortune-telling bird of yours. He's afraid he might lose his shirt if he invests in the stock market, so he wants its advice.
    Big Cheese: (chuckles) I think I'll let him keep his shirt.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Several, most notably the first parts of "The Pizza Cats Are Only Human" and "Bad Bird Uncaged". Though 9 times out of 10 it is either Pyrrhic Victory or the victory is undone in a following episode.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The Japanese opening credits sequence features a scene in which Yattarou (Speedy) engages Karamaru (Bad Bird) in midair combat, the red backpack on his armor functioning as a jet pack. However, this ability is never used in the show itself, and in actuality the fact that the cats cannot fly under their own power becomes a plot point in one episode, necessitating the introduction of their Mecha Expansion Packs.
    • Additionally, Usa-hime's (Violet's) short appearance in the same sequence gives the impression of a much sweeter, gentler character than what is seen in the show itself.
  • Baseball Episode: "Field of Screwballs". A prominent baseball pitcher is mind-controlled by one of the Big Cheese's robots, prompting the protagonists to settle the issue with a game.
  • The City: Little Tokyo (Edoropolis in the original Japanese version, which is supposed to combine the old term for Tokyo, "Edo", with the suffix "-polis", which is usually a modern term to show that something is big. The Japanese Theme Song references this: "A time of the past!/A time of the future!").
  • Clark Kenting: None of the bad guys can see that their main enemies work at a pizza place even though they wear the same helmets. One where Otama / Francine loudly announces they will be fired out of in almost every episode. Apparently it's just a quirk of the show.
    • The original Japanese show initially plays this trope fairly straight, implying serious danger should the heroes' secret identities be divulged. But that only lasts a couple of episodes before they start playing it for laughs instead, lampshading the fact that no one, friend or foe, can see the obvious.
  • Clip Show: "The Cats Cop Cartoon Careers!"
    • In the original Japanese run there were 54 episodes, but Saban only dubbed 52. The two episodes left out were clip shows, hence why they were skipped over in the US.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Emperor Fred (Shogun Yeiyeinote  Tokugawa).
  • Cock Fight: Speedy and Guido have been known to fight over who gets to date Lucille.
  • Color-Coded Secret Identity: The Cats civilian outfits were so similar to their mission gear (and they always wore the same helmets!) that it was often hard for the viewer to tell which they were in, yet the villains of the show couldn't even identify the heroes when in their civvies. The Cat's Transformation Sequence is even designed to show their "clothes" being replaced by nearly-identical armor piece by piece.
  • Colony Drop/Comet of Doom: The big threat of the series finale. After being fired as Prime Minister by Princess Vi, Big Cheese threatened to drop the Love Comet (Harahoro Comet) onto Little Tokyo if he is not made Emperor.
  • Combination Attack:
    • The Wonder Weapon ("Rescue Bomber" in KNT), created by combining the Rescue Team's four backpacks together to fire blistering energy beams.
    • In "Bad Bird Uncaged Pt. 2", the Pizza Cats overwhelm Bad Bird's Armor of Worc by merging their respective finishing moves together into a single blast.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: "Big" Al Dente.
  • Company Cross References: This show makes references to Tatsunoko's other works, including Speed Racer, Gatchaman, and Macross, among others.
    • The Pizza Cats's original Japanese name, Secret Ninja Team "Nyankees", is a nod to Gatchaman.
    • Rude Noise's giant mecha is called "Macrow/Macrow DX", a reference to Macross.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: A shot early in the Japanese version of "Big Cheese's High Definition TV" shows that Speedy has decorated the wall next to his bunk bed with souvenirs from locales visited in previous episodes. Simularly, Guido has pictures of the girls he met.
  • Cool Old Guy: Jerry Atric (minus the cool part).
  • Cool Sword/Legendary Weapon: The Youtou Masamasa/Magical Ginzu Sword. Normally sealed within its sheath, its great power only becomes unleashed when Speedy's righteous fury reaches its peak (although there are instances of it being unsealed by more dubious motives). With it, Speedy is able to perform the Cat's Eye Slash, an attack powerful enough to almost always finish off the Robot of the Week in a single blow.
  • Cover Version: Satomi Koorogi (Otama) and Ai Orikasa (Pururun) once did a cover version of "To Be Yourself" (the ending theme of the original Japanese series). Maria Kawamura (Usa-Hime) did a cover of the show's theme song. All the cover versions appeared on the soundtrack albums.
  • Cultural Translation: Kyattou Ninden Teyandee was packed with jokes and puns that Japanese viewers got. Those were replaced with American jokes and puns instead.
  • Curse Cut Short: In the Fan Club Oath: "So hail to thee, O Pizza Cat/Please ring your little bell/Although you may be pen and ink/We know you'll fight like-" "PIZZA CATS!"
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • The Rescue Team were the main focus in "Pizza Cat Performance Review", when they were promoted to working the main branch, while the Pizza Cats and Francine were demoted to working the Rescue Team's branches due to their constant failures and blunders, and the Rescue Team getting tired of bailing out the Pizza Cats.
    • "Pizza Delivery of Doom!" served as this for Spritz, giving him significantly more screen time than all of his prior appearances combined.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone, but especially Mother Mutt and son (who don't have specific names in the Japanese version; they're just a "mother and son").
  • Decapitation Presentation: Humorously subverted in one particular episode. After the narrator makes a quip at Violet's expense, she declares that his head will be put on public display. Cut to a scene where an actual photo of the narrator's voice actor has been pasted onto the screen. Although this scene was removed from the dub, it is considered one of the series' most memorable jokes among Japanese fans.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Well, more-so multiple defeats and having to save the city than anything, but it ultimately happened with Speedy and Bad Bird, albeit begrudgingly.
  • Dirty Old Man: Nekomata-daisensei (Guru Lou) in the original Japanese version, especially towards Pururun (Polly). He is also this in the English version from time to time, just in a much lesser extent.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In "Kind of a Drag", Big Cheese orders Bad Bird to kidnap Ruby after she discovered him crossdressing; at the time, he was trying to keep his crossdressing a secret. But his efforts was all for nothing; as it turns out, Ruby wasn't wearing her glasses when she accidentally walked into Big Cheese's quarters.
    • Princess Vi would banish those who offend her to Prisoner Island for even the most minor infraction; for example, she banished I. Beam (who designed the Royal Castle) for beating her in a video game (or in the original Japanese version, for accidentally farting in her presence).
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: In "Kung Fu Kitty Kontest", Lucille had to withdraw from her fight against Speedy after she ran out of missiles. As a result, Speedy advanced to the final match by default.
  • The Ditz: Shogun Yetyet / Emperor Fred.
  • The Dragon: Bad Bird could easily be considered as Big Cheese's dragon, as his fighting skills rival, and sometimes surpass those of Speedy (and occasionally the whole team). In fact, in the final episode, Bad Bird shows himself to truly be Speedy's superior in combat. He is also the final obstacle before Speedy can destroy the machine pulling the comet towards Little Tokyo.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Bad Bird actually finds mythical Power Armor for a two-parter and is the big bad, working only for his own goals!
  • Dub Induced Plothole: To make up for runtime lost by cutting some scenes from the original, "Youth is For Exploding" pastes in the stock Transformation Sequence, which features Polly. However Polly was not actually present at that time, having been sent on an elixir-fueled run around the globe earlier in the episode.
  • Dub Name Change: All of the characters get Anglicized names. Which seems out of place in a very Japanese setting, but the show is pretty out there anyway.
  • Dub Species Change: Big Cheese is a fox in the original version, but was changed into a rat in the English version (and all the dubs that were based on it).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The show first appeared on American airwaves in an episode of VR Troopers when Jeb was watching it on the base monitor, about half a year before airing on its own.
  • Elemental Powers: The Samurai Pizza Cats Rescue Team each represented one of these. Meowzma (Gotton) was earth, General Catton (Rikinoshin) was fire, Bat Cat (Mietoru) was wind, and Spritz T. Cat (Nekkii) was water. Similarly, the three of the four Rude Noise members each represent the elements: Cannonball Battery (Bonkaa) represents fire, Ronnie Geissmuller (Wokkaa) represent water, and Mojo Rojo (Rekkaa) represents wind. The lone exception is Bad Max (Zankaa), who represents the darkness.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Bad Bird doesn't tolerate cheating in "Kung Fu Kitty Contest", and even thwarted Jerry's attempt to shoot Speedy with a tranquilized dart.
    • Jerry became disturbed when Big Cheese revealed his plan to drop the Love Comet onto Little Tokyo in "The Big Comet Caper".
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Dee Dee (Madonnanote ) from the New York Pizza Cats proves this. Also Francine.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Possibly the reason the cats were converted from ninja to samurai when dubbed.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Bad Bird's Armor of Worc in the two-part episode, "Bad Bird Uncaged", complete with a flute that transforms into a bazooka or a machine gun (the latter which is only seen in the Japanese version).
  • Evil Counterpart: The Rude Noise (The Four Dark Ninjas) to the Samurai Pizza Cats Rescue Team.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Bad Bird in the original Japanese version and the Spanish dub, as he gets a much deeper voice than just about everyone else in the cast.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The English title. The protagonists are samurainote , they're cats, and they run a pizza restaurant.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The English theme song says it all, running through most of the major characters and espousing the toughness of the Pizza Cats.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Almost all mentions of guns were removed from Samurai Pizza Cats, which includes the following:
    • Bad Bird (in his Armor of Worc) wields a flute that transforms into a machine gun and a bazooka; the former was edited out.
    • Sundance Kid's (Michael's) revolvers: his Finishing Move sequence was edited out.
  • Filling the Silence: Worked to the English dub's advantage.
  • Finishing Move: Speedy's Ginzu Sword attack (or in the original Japanese version, Yattarou's Neko Me (Cat's Eye) Slash attack). Polly and Guido would also gain finishing moves as the series progressed, although theirs were seen far less often.
  • Four-Element Ensemble: The Rescue Team: General Catton is fire, Bat Cat is air, Meowzma is earth, and Spritz is water.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Applies to virtually everyone in the show. This was one of the many rumored reasons for the show's long lack of DVD release that spread among Japanese fans, as Japan has a history of controversy over four-fingered characters.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Pictures of Marilyn Monroe, the cover art of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, and other things can be found hidden in hit flashes.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: On a couple of occasions in the dub. Sake was called "lemonade" at one point, and Guru Lou's drunkenness in one episode is claimed to be the effect of monosodium glutamate in his meal instead.
  • Fur Bikini: Polly and Lucille wore white fuzzy bikinis in an episode. Yet they are already furries.
  • Furry Reminder: Several examples, such as the heroes succumbing to balls of yarn and canned cat food, Bad Bird being attracted to a shiny hairpin, the Rude Noise being scared of eyeball balloons, and Big Al marking telephone poles.
  • Gag Dub: Considered by some to be one of the best uses of this trope, including by Tatsunoko, the actual licensee. This would (unfortunately, depending on who you ask) lead to gag dubs of other anime like Mon Colle Knights, Crayon Shin-chan, Lupin III: Part II, and even a live-action series like MXC.
  • Gatling Good: Lucinda (Honey), Sundance Kid's girlfriend and Lucille's New York counterpart, has a pop-up minigun in her ponytail.
  • Gender Bender: The appropriately-titled episode "Gender Bender Butterfiles" involves a swarm of mechanical butterflies that cause those afflicted to become stereotypes of the opposite gender. Ventures into Ho Yay territory in the Japanese version when feminized Speedy kisses Guido.
  • Genre-Busting: A Gag Series that is part Mecha, part Jidaigeki, part Sentai, and part Funny Animal.
  • Gilligan Cut: In Singing Samurai Sensai-ton:
    Speedy: I'll tell you what Polly, if you've got what it takes to be a star, not only will I admit I'm wrong, I'll climb onto the railing of the town's highest bridge and stand on my tail 'til I've set a new tail-standing world record!
    Francine: Gee Speedy, wouldn't your tail get awfully sore?
    Speedy: Ha! Piece of cake.
    Cut to Speedy tail-standing on the bridge, attracting a crowd of spectators.
  • Gladiator Games: "Kung Fu Kitty Kontest". Princess Vi holds a tournament of the best fighters, with the grand prize being either getting to go on a date with her (in SPC) or anything they want (in KNT).
  • Good-Times Montage: Parodied in the episode "Pizza Bird Delivers". Upon Bad Bird giving his farewell to Speedy before leaving his job at Pizza Cats, a short montage of some of the good times he supposedly spent with the cats plays. In both versions, Speedy expresses doubts that they actually happened.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: The last line of the Samurai Pizza Cats Oath.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Bad Bird late in the series. He even changed his name to "Good Bird", although in the Japanese version, he's still "Karamaru".
  • Hover Mecha: The heroes have jets built into the soles of their shoes that allow them to glide across the ground in place of walking or running. However, they're prone to forgetting this in moments of panic, as the narrator kindly points out.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Supreme Catatonic (Both Nyagosphinx, and it's "fighting" form Nyagoking). The Rude Noise can combine their powers to form their own giant mecha (Ninja Crowbot, AKA Macrow/Macrow DX in KNT).
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Several episode titles will have "cat" in them in the dub.
  • Idol Singer: The Pointless Sisters (aka Mipple in the Japanese version, which is a portmanteau of Omitsu and Pururun).
  • Image Song: In the Japanese version, Yattarou, Sukashii, and Karamaru each have one, as does both Pururun and Omitsu (the latter two as Mipple).
    • All of them were played in the Japanese version of episode 30 ("No Talent Guido").
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: In this world of mechanical animal-people, kimonos are something like the skirt armor of a Gundam, obis sometimes have features such as missile pods and jetpacks built in, ribbons have radiator vents, shoes have hover jets, and skirts have thrusters "for some reason". Heavy power tools are shown to be standard equipment for tailors.
  • Interactive Narrator: The characters and the narrator trade quips frequently, which also happens in the Japanese original, but not as much. Two examples take place in the Japanese version: when the narrator gets hit by Omitsu's missiles, and when Usa-Hime sends his voice actor to Prisoner Island.
  • Interspecies Romance: Emperor Fred, a Panda, married Empress Frieda, a rabbit.
  • In the Name of the Moon: The original Japanese version has a series of Catchphrases recited by the three cats upon their arrival to confront the enemy, as well as a condemnation of the baddies' crime of the week (sometimes including personal grudges) recited by Yattarou (Speedy) before using his Finishing Move. Both are lampshaded and parodied several times.
  • Jaw Drop: Happened to the Pizza Cats in "Samurai Savings Time", after they failed to prevent the Big Cheese from meeting Jerry Atric. Also, in the Japanese version of "Pizza Cat Performance Review", Bad Bird was laughing so hard that his jaw dropped, and he had trouble talking for a while.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bad Bird. Guido to a lesser extent.
  • Just Between You and Me: Parodied in the following exchange that takes place in one episode of the Japanese version. After it has been revealed that two giant robots rampaging through the city are being powered by hypnotized townspeople:
    Karamaru (Bad Bird): (Evil Laugh) You'd like to know how we gathered up those people who are running the mecha, wouldn't you?
    Yattarou (Speedy): Teyandee! note  Now's not the time for that!
    Pururun (Polly): We're trying to figure out what to do, so quit jabbering!
    Karamaru (Bad Bird): (Goes white with shock) LISTEN TO ME!!
  • Karma Houdini: Subverted. The show's main villains, The Big Cheese and Jerry Atric are still afloat (and not in a parade, like Big Cheese thinks) at the end of the English-dubbed series. While they aren’t going to Prisoner Island, they are still clearly exiled and their destination is unknown.
  • Lemony Narrator: This narrator lampshades and talks to the main characters almost as much as Joe.
    • In one episode he actually gives the Cats a piece of vital information, because the episode was running long.
  • Limited Animation: Invoked in the episode, "A Mission in Manhattan", as a nod to Tatsunoko's 1960s show, Speed Racer.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Lucille, would-be love interest of Speedy and Guido, would shoot missiles from her head whenever she got emotionally overexcited. Karamaru even refers to her as "Missile Girl" in the Japanese version.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Even if the Big Cheese's latest scheme somehow succeeds it always carries a huge caveat that renders his win completely pointless. He actually manages to land a starring role in Princess Vi's film... as a Notzilla who gets beaten up by Jerry Atric.
  • Mecha Expansion Pack: The Toritsukkun/Ginzu Goonie Bird armor, which comes in the form of mechanical birds that attach to the cats to form jet packs allowing the Pizza Cats to fly. The Pizza Cats' armored form is called "Mecha/Mega Nyankees" (KNT) or "Super Extra Topping Pizza Cats" (in SPC).
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The show's entire world is populated by robotic anthropomorphic animals (called "Animaloids" in the Japanese version, a portmanteau of "animal" and "android").
  • Merchandise-Driven: Character designer Noritaka Suzuki explained on his blog that the protagonists' flight armor forms actually originated from a toy company involved in the show's production.
    • In the recent official fanbook character designer Hiroshi Ogawa also recounts being told to make characters' feet bigger so their toys could stand properly.
    • Head writer Sator Akahori states in a 1991 interview that in the show's early stages, Bandai sponsors would sometimes step in and demand additions or changes with only one week left before the deadline.
    • Eventually averted due to the fact that the sponsors pulled out partway through the series' run and the staff was essentially given full reign of the series. This resulted in the humor becoming more outlandish (and the ratings climbing) as the series progressed.
  • Midseason Upgrade: About halfway through the show the cats get the Supreme Catatonic mecha, along with bird mecha from it that attach to their armor and give them new powers, like flight.
  • Missing Mom: The reason for Princess Vi's mother not being in the show much is that she's traveling the world to see new cultures. Mainly cultures with good shopping.
  • Monster of the Week: Barring Bad Bird's temporarily power up and the final two, every episode follows this, often using a giant robot.
  • Monster Protection Racket: In episode 14, the Big Cheese is jealous of the fame the Pizza Cats are reaching, so he sends Bad Bird's squad to attack the town in a giant robot before stepping up to "defeat" them in disguise. Just after appearing before the crowd, he unmasks himself to show the crowd who their hero is. It backfires completely, as the Big Cheese apparently has is so Hated by All that the crowd immediately walks away, disappointed, completely forgetting about the giant robot.
  • Mooks: The Ninja Crows, who even sport a Chest Insignia that means "low".
  • Mr. Exposition: The narrator and the "Professor", a bespectacled, fan-brandishing dog who often uses diagrams, maps, and other such visual aids.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: The New York Pizza Cats' Japanese names are as follows:
    • Sundance Kid = Michael, who even does Jackson's dance moves, including his Moonwalk.
      Michael (in Gratuitous English): Hey you! Bad! Bad! You are bad!
    • Dee Dee = Madonna
    • Cosmo = Prince
    • Yard Bird's original name was Choinah/Joyner #7, named after Olympic sprinter Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and even bears a similar hairstyle similar to hers.
  • Named Weapons: In the Japanese version, Yattaro's, Sukaskii's, and Pururun's swords are named "Masamasa", "Pikapika", and "Kirakira", respectively. Karamaru's cloned Masamasa was named "Muramura". Michael's revolvers are called "Nyannyan Magnum".
    • In Samurai Pizza Cats, Speedy's companion Ginzu sword is named "Binky".
  • Ninja: What the cats were in the original Japanese animation. The crows on the other hand maintain their Ninja motif.
  • Never Bareheaded: Curiously, Speedy and Guido never once remove their helmets even while bathing. Polly meanwhile removes hers at various occasions.
  • New Neo City: The Japanese version occasionally features "Neo"-prefixed versions of various Japanese locales. Examples include Neo Nihonbashi and Neo Satsuma.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Robotic samurai/ninja animals.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: This appears as a joke in the American credits along with "Spiritual Advisor: Hogan The Wonder Cat."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dean Hagopian who voiced the Big Cheese, gave him a voice similar to Paul Lynde.
  • No Fourth Wall: The Cats and the narrator talk to each other, often hanging lampshades on plot points or budget saving animation tricks.
    Speedy: I'd do anything for you, Lucille! To other people, you may just be a hand-painted animated character, but you mean a lot more than that to me!
  • Non-Indicative Name: In-universe; in the Japanese version of the episode, "Big Cheese Shows His Filmy Substance", Usa-Hime's movie was titled "The Storm of Love and Youth", which is assumed to be a romance film, but it turns out that it was an action film.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: When Polly finds Speedy in episode 10 she chews him out, but Speedy directs her attention to the child right next to him, prompting Polly to ease up.
  • Only One Female Mold: Most of the female cast has a similar build and facial structure (which is notably more human) compared to the male cast. Though some bit parts (such as Violet's kangaroo maidservant) and extras manage to avoid this, plus Francine is noticeably chubbier than Polly and Lucille. Polly is also the only Pizza Cat capable of removing her helmet, revealing smaller ears and a full head of hair underneath.
  • Only Sane Man: Big Al is probably the only remotely reasonable person in all of Little Tokyo.
  • Opening Narration: Present before each episode of the Japanese version.
  • Palette Swap: The American Pizza Cats' counterpart to Francine is Abigail, who looks just like her except with slightly different coloring.
  • Parental Bonus: Oh yes. Lampshaded in one episode of the Japanese version: The professor who often butts in to explain things refers to the song upon which a character's name is based as being popular "way back when your parents were little."
  • Parody: In the Japanese version, of Sentai shows specifically.
  • Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame: Featured in the following episodes: "The Pizza Cats Are Only Human" (Part 2), "Speedy's Double-Time Trick", "Gender Bender Butterflies", "Bad Bird Uncaged" (both parts), and "The Big Comet Caper" (Part 1). The Japanese version of "Let the Cellar Beware!" features one as well; it was cut out in SPC.
  • Pizza Cats Can Breathe in Space: At least when in their Mecha Nyankee/Super Extra Topping forms. And Bad Bird can apparently do this too, even without special armor. Granted, they are "animaloids" in the Japanese version.
  • The Power of Friendship: The way the Cats were finally able to defeat the upgraded Bad Bird. And how Speedy and Bad Bird were able to defeat the incoming comet.
  • Powered Armor: Their Toritsukkun/Ginzu Goonie Bird armor, which gave them, among other things, the ability to fly. Bad Bird would later gain the Monktector/Armor of Worc in the two-part episode, "Bad Bird Uncaged".
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The original scripts weren't shipped along with the animation, so Saban had to improvise. They improvised very well.
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Rude Noise (Yami no Yon Nin Shu). Although in this case, they're actually Psychos of the Rescue team.
  • Puppet King: A very unusual twice over example: Emperor Fred is the true ruler of Little Tokyo, but since he is a very dim-witted Cloud Cuckoolander it his his daughter Princess Vi who is the power... But she also happens to be a spoiled Royal Brat who knows how to exile people who annoy her, but otherwise can't rule her kingdom at all. As such, she leaves all the important decisions to her court. The main conflict of the whole anime is essentially Big Al and Big Cheese constantly trying to influence the rest of the court and the rulers for the good of Little Tokyo and for his own selfish desires respectively.
  • Punny Name: Quite a lot of the cast, in both versions.
  • Recap Episode: Three of them, "Candid Kitty", "Big Cheese's High-Definition TV", and the Japan-only "Kie! Koon no Kami no Dai Kenkyu (Frightening! Koon no Kami's Big Research)".
  • Removing the Rival: In the Japanese version of "All You Need is Love", Guido suspects that Princess Vi will banish Carla to Prisoner Island if she discovers her with Bad Bird.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Although the show's entire cast is comprised of robots, they still eat, drink, sleep, go to the bathroom, catch colds, have children, etc.
  • Royal Brat: Unfortunately, for the characters of this show, Princess Vi's the real power in the royal family.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The royal family has few screws loose. Except for Emperor Fred. He doesn't have any screws left.
  • Samurai in Ninja Town: The English version, with the changed Samurai fighting Ninja Crows.
  • Samurai Shinobi: The ninja protagonists of Kyattou Ninden Teyandee were called samurai when the show was localized into Samurai Pizza Cats, and as almost nothing but the dubbing was changed the "samurai" still used ninja weapons like shuriken and kunai.
  • Schizo Tech: Little Tokyo has a curious mix of robots, high tech armor, and Shogun era Japan. The Japanese theme song even comments on it "Where the past meets the future!" Items like abacus calculators and palanquin trainsnote  are everyday items in this show's setting.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In the Famicom game, once Dr. Purple's battlesuit is destroyed by the Nyankii, he angrily expresses regret working for Ko'on and takes off for home.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Amazingly averted. Despite his frequent cross-dressing and flirting with his male henchmen, the Big Cheese retains his gender. In fact, the only thing about him that changes is his species - in the original he's a fox, but the dub makes him a rat.
    • In many instances, his cross-dressing is played off as moving around in disguise in the dub, as opposed to a leisure activity as it was originally.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few actually. They've had several references to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bat Cat is a reference to Batman, General Catton is a reference to the real life General George S. Patton, Spritz the Cat is a reference to Fritz the Cat, and so on.
  • Sick Episode: "Cold and Crabby in Little Tokyo". Nearly the entire population of Little Tokyo is suffering from a flu outbreak, and affected Speedy, Emperor Fred, and The Big Cheese.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: For whatever reason, the English version is fond of scoring action heavy moments with calliope music. Some episodes, such as the earthquake episode and the battle between Speedy and Bad Bird in the last arc are scored with more dramatic music.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Speedy Cerviche vs. fanon Speedy Service.
  • Spiked Blood: In the episode "The Big Cheese's IQ Corral": One of Bad Bird's robots uses an "energy assimilator" on a drunken Guru Lou, resulting in the robot acting drunk. In the English dub, due to alcohol references being banned, this was explained as the effects of MSG in the food he'd been eating.
  • Spiritual Successor: Juuni Senshi Bakuretsu Eto Ranger AKA Twelve Warrior Explosive Eto Rangers, since they share the same character designer.
  • Spoof Aesop: "Whoever said 'Violence never solved anything'... wasn't a Pizza Cat!"
  • Stable Time Loop: The Cats end up traveling back in time in one episode and rescue Big Al, giving him the idea to create the Pizza Cats in the first place.
    • In the original show, the Big Cheese encounters his past-self while in drag, which inspires his younger-self to grow interested in doing so as well.
  • Stock Footage Several cases, but most obviously Speedy's Cat's Eye Slash, "Because it's in his contract!"
  • Stock Sound Effects: By virtue of the sound effects in the Japanese version being done by Swara Productions note , you'll hear sound effects from Saint Seiya and Sailor Moon quite a few times, as well as sound effects from various other mecha shows.
    • The Saban dub however replaces these effects with different (more generic sounding) ones. The original effects can occasionally be heard, albeit faintly.
  • Super-Deformed: Due to being part of the SD Mecha trend that was popular in Japan at the time, the average character is about 2.5 heads tall. In one panel of the Tatsuya Souma manga, Otama/Francine laments that her hands can't reach the top of her head.
  • Super Robot: The Supreme Catatonic (a.k.a. Nyagoking in the original Japanese version.)
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In one episode, the Rescue Team switch their positions with the main Pizza cats and become the guardians of Little Tokyo. They are able to hold their own for a while, but when they come across a much stronger foe they quickly find out why they are the back-up and not the main force.
  • Take That!: A lyric in the English theme song says "They've got more fur than any turtle ever had."
    • Also in the first episode "Stop Dragon My Cat Around" there's a mention of a retirement home for aging Ninja Turtles.
      • Big Cheese's "Of course there's another way. We could elect the dragon vice-president, that way we'd never hear from it again!" Could be aimed at all vp's, could just be aimed at then incumbent Dan Quayle.
  • There Was a Door: In one episode Polly gets SO TICKED off she runs right through the wall of the pizza place- even though the door was right across from her!
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Before he uses his Finishing Move, Yattarou always recites a condemnation of the baddies' crimes of the week that ends with this. On the rare occasion he doesn't have time to recite the full lecture, he'll skip straight to this.
    Yattarou: Anyway, UNFORGIVABLE!
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Speedy Cerviche, Polly Ester, and Guido Anchovy.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: In "Emperor Fred Does Hard Time", Big Cheese was made Acting Emperor of Little Tokyo after Emperor Fred became shipwrecked following his banishment by Princess Vi.
  • The Vamp: Dee Dee/Madonna, complete with a dominatrix getup (mask and high heels), a whip, and Noblewoman's Laugh.
  • Verbal Tic: In the original Japanese version, Yattarou (Speedy) says "Teyandee!" a lot, which becomes his Catchphrase. Emperor Fred in the English/Spanish dub says "Fred" a lot.
  • Victory Pose: Once the Monster of the Week is defeated, all three Pizza Cats will strike a pose after Speedy reminds them that its that time again. Sometimes they are joined by the Rescue Team if they lent a hand.
    Speedy: Come on, time to do our pose, guys!
  • Wasted Song: "Mikazuki Connection,"Pururu and Mipple's second idol song, only gets a few seconds played in the show itself. Fortunately the full version exists on the second soundtrack CD.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: One scene in Bad Bird Uncaged Part 1 has Bad Bird attempting to attack a floored Speedy. Speedy repels him by lifting up his feet and activating the hover jets in the soles of his shoes.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Karamaru (Bad Bird) and the cats. They're on good terms again in the finale.
  • West Coast Team: The New York Pizza Cats branch based in America, carrying a different weapons loadout from the Little Tokyo branch but possessing a similar team dynamic and opposing a member of the Big Cheese's family. Their Mission Control even looks much the same as Francine.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: When the Cats go to Guru Lou to see about getting a giant robot of their own, Guido off-handedly remarks, "If he's such a wise guy, what's he doing working on our stupid show?"
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: To quote Guido: "What's the matter, did that last joke hurt?"
    Daisensei: Does no one making this show take their jobs even the least bit seriously?!
  • You Are Number 6: In Kyattou Ninden Teyandee, when the Pizza Cats are in their battle gear, Yattarou (Speedy) is known as "Nyanki #1", Sukashii (Guido) is known as "Nyanki #2", and Pururun (Polly) is known as "Nyanki #3".
    • The Karakara mecha all follow a "Name #<number>" convention, often forming a pun of some sort.

Ladies and Gentlemen: the Samurai Pizza Cats Fanclub Oath:
Big Cheese: The Pizza Cats are Samurai, and I’d like to note,

Jerry Atric: Their antics take your breath away,

Big Cheese: Like fur balls in your throat.

Speedy Cerviche: We kittens are a special breed, we never call retreat,

Guido Anchovy: Whenever Big Cheese knocks us down,

Polly Esther: We land upon . . . our feet!

Narrator: So hail to thee, o Pizza Cats, please ring your little bell, although you may be pen and ink, we know you’ll fight like . . .

Speedy, Guido and Polly: PIZZA CATS!