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Video Game / Neko Atsume

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A typical kitty-filled day in the player's yard.note 
Meow Loading...

Neko Atsume (ねこあつめ) or Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector is an Idle Game for Android and iOS, developed by Hit-Point.

The game consists of laying out food and toys in order to bring cats to the player's yard. However, cats don't show up when the game is in play; they only visit whenever the app is closed. If the player opens the app again while cats are present, they can watch the visiting cats play with the various laid-out toys and take photos of them. Once a cat leaves, it will leave a gift of fish, the game's currency. Fish come in two flavors: standard grey fish and special "gold fish", the latter of which can also be bought with microtransactions. The fish can then be used to purchase other toys and food, some specific items being necessary to attract "rare" cats.

The game was released internationally on October 20, 2014, but was only available in Japanese until an English-language version of the game was released on October 30, 2015.

The success of the game has led to a large variety of official merchandise, a companion webcomic, as well as official stickers/stamps for use with the LINE messenger app. There is also a live-action movie, Neko Atsume no Ie, released in April 2017. A virtual reality spinoff for the PlayStation 4, Neko Atsume VR, was released on May 31st, 2018 in Japan.

Neko Atsume contains examples of the following:

  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: While pretty much every other cat is normally colored, Chairman Meow stands out for having camo-green on his fur.
  • Ambiguous Gender: All of the cats look alike, and most have gender-neutral names, so it's usually difficult to tell. (Although if you're aware of cat genetics, the calicoes and tortoiseshells are female, and the orange ones are most likely male.note )
    • One exception is Caramel who has a ‘tomboy’ personality, a descriptor reserved exclusively for females.
  • Animals Lack Attributes: Averted. The cats have anuses, with the art style making them simply look like small X's.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The Thrifty Bitz food item. While it is the lowest-quality food you can serve, it also never runs out, in the event that you end up with too little fish to buy even Frisky Bitz (the next weakest food item) and don't want to or can't buy gold fish.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Billy the Kitten's personality is nihilistic, but is just as cute and nice as any of the other cats.
  • Bakeneko and Nekomata: Saint Purrtrick is one of these, hence his two tails and "Ethereal" description. His Japanese name is even "Nekomata-san".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Dottie is described as "Friendly", but has a power level of 195, the second highest out of any normal cat (behind Caramel, who has a power level of 205).
  • Bilingual Bonus: Some of the cats' English names.
    • "Macchiato", an Italian word meaning "stained" or "spotted". Though it can also refer to the popular espresso drink.
    • "Melange", or "Mélange" - a French word meaning "mixed".
  • Big Eater: Tubbs. Unlike the other cats, who will take a few nibbles of your food and spend the rest of their time playing with your toys, Tubbs eats the whole bowl at once and then lounges next to the bowl while his meal digests.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • The various cats include tabbies, calicos, and a calico tabby (also known as a caliby).
    • There's tortoiseshells, tabbies, and tortoiseshell tabbies (also known as torbies).
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Gold fish can be earned by paying basic fish for them (500 for 10 golds), receiving them as gifts from cats leaving your yard (although they are quite rare), or purchasing them via microtransactions. Regular fish are under this trope too, as you can exchange 10 gold fish for 250 regular fish. It's possble to collect everything and discover every cat without ever paying a single cent; paying simply accelerates progress.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: "Lazy" Misty has a power level of 160.
  • Casual Game: The game is designed to be simple enough for players who don't have a lot of time for video games every day. Just swap out goodies as you see fit, and keep the bowls stocked with food. The worst that will happen if you neglect the game is that cats won't visit, which is fixed simply by—again—restocking food.
  • Cat Ninja: Whiteshadow, who randomly pops into the background in the yards and depending on the model is either "Scouting" or doing "Espionage".
  • Cats Are Magic: Hermeowne, a black cat with a witch hat and cape. Her memento is a bottle of magic powder (probably catnip), that when used, summons cats to an empty yard.
  • Cats Hate Water: Averted with the Zen remodel; there's a island in the middle of the pond that you can put goodies on that clearly requires a leap to get to, but cats who play around on the island don't seem to express any issue about it.
  • Cooldown: You can use Hermeowne's Memento to instantly summon cats to an empty yard, but afterwards you must wait a few days to be able to use it again.
  • Cowardly Lion: Pepper may have the "Shy" personality, but their power level is 165.
  • Cultural Translation: The "Nyaw Loading" prompt, a play on "Now Loading" and "nya" (Japanese onomotopeia for a cat meowing) was changed to "Meow Loading" for the English-language localization.
  • Cute Kitten: The entire point of the game is to bring them to your yard.
  • Dressed to Plunder: Bengal Jack is a cat in a pirate costume and the only way to lure him into your yard is with the Luxury Treasure Box, even if another cat is inside.
  • Dub Name Change: The cat's names in the English translation were changed from Exactly What It Says on the Tin to common cat names. (i.e. Shironeko, which means "white cat", to Snowball)
  • Extreme Doormat: Pickles, the only cat with a power level of zero.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Tubbs's eyes are always closed, giving him a relaxed face as he either lets his meal digest or lounges on the Big Cushion.
  • Food Theme Naming: Many of the kitties share their name with various types of food:
    • After produce: Pumpkin, Pickles, Peaches, Spud, and Apricot.
    • After spices: Ginger
    • After sweets or coffee: Marshmallow, Cocoa, Ganache, Macchiato, and Chocola
    • Pasty and Chip might also count, considering that one definition of pasty is a type of meat pie. Chip's name might refer to 'chocolate chip,' considering he has black spots on a white coat.
  • The Gadfly: Spots is described as a "Joker". One strip in the manga has Snowball weighing itself and Spots secretly pushing down on the scale to make Snowball look heavier.
  • Genki Girl: Sassy Fran's personality is listed as "Enthusiastic".
  • Gingerbread House: The "Sugary Style" remodel patterns the yard, interior decor, and some goodies after a gingerbread house and sugary pastries.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: Downplayed. If you stop playing for a while, cats will stop visiting your yard as a result of your food bowls depleting, but that is the worst that will happen and you can just put out food to get them to come back.
  • Handicapped Badass: Whiteshadow the ninja is a blue-eyed white shorthair. In real life, these are often deaf due to a genetic mutation.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The cats all come pre-named, but you're free to rename them. If you leave their names set to defaults, they'll change across language settings, but once you set names of your own, they'll persist regardless of in-game language.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Whiteshadow has white fur and a light blue ninja costume.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The hitboxes for cats will sometimes not align with the cat's graphic correctly. This happens most often with rare cats, as they will often be positioned in a manner inconsistent with regular cats, but will have the latter's hitboxes; for example, Mr. Meowgi is positioned behind and to the right of the tree stump, but to click on him properly you have to click in front and to the right because that's where regular cats do their scratching on the stump.
  • Holiday Mode: On select days in winter, it will snow in your yard and the music will change to a music box version of the usual BGM.
  • Idle Game: You can only get cats to appear if you close the game and come back later.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tubbs does down the entirety of your outdoor food bowl whenever they show up, depriving other cats of food, but if you leave them alone until they leave voluntarily, they'll give you a lot of fish. Also if you have the large cushion out, Tubbs will sometimes lay on it and only take the usual small amount of food. Finally, their memento is a food item (fish jerky) that they give to you rather than just eating it for themselves.
  • Level Ate: The Sugary Style remodel definitely counts as this - all background furnishings and objects get a pastry based makeover. You can take it up to eleven by placing the various sweets-themed goodies, such as the Cardboard Cafe and the Tower of Treats.
  • Lovable Coward: Pickles. He's Faint-hearted and has zero power level (the lowest in the game), but is still really adorable like the other cats.
  • Maneki Neko: Miss Fortune, one of the rare cats, looks like this. Fittingly, she gives out the most fish of any cat in the game.
  • Market-Based Title: The English-language version appends the Cat Collector subtitle.
  • Meaningful Name: Many of the cat's default names are based on some aspect of their appearance or personality - some are obvious, like "Snowball" and "Patches" (an all white cat, and a white cat with orange patches), but others not quite so obvious, like "Ganache" (a chocolate coloured cat - "ganache" is a glaze, icing, sauce, or filling for pastries made from chocolate and cream).
  • Meido: Sassy Fran, a cat in a maid outfit. She shows up occasionally if you have the Cardboard Café item laid out.
  • "Miss X" Pun: Ms. Fortune is a cat based around the maneki-neko, the "waving cat" figurine common in East Asian stores since it's thought to bring good luck.
  • No Fair Cheating: Downplayed. If you manually change the time on your device (instead of just leaving it on network time) and then open the game up, the game will freeze updates if device time is earlier than the game was last closed.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Xerxes IX has a more rectangular shaped head along with a frown instead of the typical cat face.
  • Painting the Medium: How does the game simulate the shyness of real-world cats? By having them come to your yard only when the app is closed.
  • Palette Swap: All of the regular cats are the same shape and size and can only be differentiated by their colors. Many cats have the same pattern of splotches and stripes.
  • Picky Eater: Tubbs will never eat Thrifty Bitz. He'll only eat your food if you had to pay for it. His personality is "finicky feaster".
  • Play Every Day: The game offers a daily password with each new day. Registering it will give you a small bonus of fish. For every five days of daily passwords that you collect, you'll get a free can of fancy food.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Macchiato and Melange. They're identical lynx point cats with Macchiato being a seal lynx while Melange is a blue lynx. Their personalities are also total opposites: Macchiato has a high power level with a "Sourpuss" personality while Melange is "Calm" with a low power level. Even their mementos are two different collars: Macchiato gifts a leather choker and Melange gifts a cotton scarf.
  • Potty Failure: The description of the yellow pillow talks about it not showing stains.
  • Premium Currency: The game has two types of fish-based currency: Normal gray fish and gold fish. Both types of fish can be obtained from cats as gifts; however, gold fish is remarkably rarer and can be bought with real money. You can also exchange 500 normal fish for 10 gold fish.
  • Proper Lady: Sapphire is a Siamese cat in a pristine white dress with a purse and hat and is attended to by her butler Jeeves, who wears a monocle and Waistcoat of Style.
  • Punny Name: Some of the English names for the rare cats stray into this territory, like Billy the Kitten and Joe DiMeowgio. Bengal Jack's name refers to the Bengal Cat, a recently developed cat breed with some genetic contribution from the wild Asian Leopard Cat.
    • Ms. Fortune's name is a play on "misfortune". Also doubles as an Ironic Name, as she was designed after the Maneki-neko, a Japanese figurine that is believed to bring good luck to its owner, and is anything but bad luck.
  • Random Power Ranking: The cats' power levels are more unique traits to each of them, but they don't serve any in-game purpose.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: All of the cats!
  • Shout-Out: Several of the English-language special cats' names refer to famous people or fictional works:
    • Billy the Kitten refers to Billy the Kid.
    • Chairman Meow refers to Mao Zedong.
    • The chef-themed Guy Furry refers to Guy Fieri.
    • Jeeves refers to archetypal English butler Jeeves from the Jeeves and Wooster series.
    • Joe DiMeowgio refers to the famous baseball player Joe DiMaggio.
      • Though it's lost in the cultural barrier, Joe's outfit is one to a Japanese professional baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers.
    • Lady Meow-Meow refers to Lady Gaga. (There is a well-known burlesque performer and actress called Meow Meow, but she probably isn't being referred to.)
    • Mr. Meowgi refers to Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid films.
    • Señor Don Gato refers to the Spanish title of Puss in Boots.
    • Bengal Jack is perhaps a reference to "Calico Jack" Rackham.
    • Xerxes IX is named after several ancient kings of Persia names Xerxes; there was no Xerxes the ninth, but the number likely refers to the common saying that cats have nine lives. It also resembles a real life Persian cat, and appears to be wrapped in a Persian carpet.
    • Gozer, though not a rare cat, is named after the main antagonist from Ghostbusters. His personality is even described as "sore loser"!
    • The witch-themed cat is named Hermeowne.
    • While it's likely a coincidence, Tubbs' appearance is described as "Fluffy".
  • Series Mascot: Snowball seems to be this - its face is featured on the app's menu icon, it is the cat seen on the loading screen, and is the first cat who will visit you after completing the tutorial.
  • The Slacker: Apricot is described as a "Slacker" and Misty is also described as "Lazy".
  • Supreme Chef: Guy Furry, the cat chef who makes ice cream sundaes with glass vases and cooks pizza on top of a kerosene heater.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Lexy's personality is given as "expensive tastes" and many of the toys they play with are quite expensive, but they regularly give some of the largest fish rewards of any non-special cat.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: The entire point of the game, really - especially if you go out of your way to give the cats the nicest possible food and toys.
    • Tubbs can be annoying, as he regularly shows up to eat up all the food you have put out, and no food means no cats will come. You can shoo him away by putting out a fresh bowl, but if you leave it empty and let him stay until he decides to leave on his own, he will leave you a very generous amount fish as a gift, far more than almost any other cat.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: As cats come to visit, they'll eat the cat food you have out in the yard's cat bowls. If your food runs out, you'll have to refill the bowls to get more cats to show up.

The movie adaptation provides examples of:

  • Book Ends: The movie opens with young Sakumoto sleeping on his patio and Smokey wandering up to the house. It ends with him dreaming the same memory and Smokey meowing at him.
  • Caffeine Failure: Sakumoto drinks so much Red Bull in an attempt to stay awake to write, but it's useless as he's so exhausted that he still passes out asleep in his bathroom.
  • The City vs. the Country: As a way to escape Michiru's badgering and his writer's block, Sakumoto retreats to a house in the countryside. Unfortunately for him, his writer's block has followed him.
  • Empty Fridge, Empty Life: Sakumoto's apartment is so sparse that it's practically empty and his refrigerator contains nothing but cans of Red Bull.
  • Executive Meddling: invoked The newspaper that publishes Sakumoto's serial fiction asks him to change the genre of the story from romance to apocalyptic zombie horror. Michiru has the unfortunate task of letting him know that the paper is cancelling his serial due to low popularity.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Sakumoto takes a shining to the local stray cats that hang around the house. He gradually buys more and more toys to put out in the yard for them. He stops short of going full Crazy Cat Guy as Michiru and his landlady have to remind him that he does need to pay his bills.
  • Out of Focus: The cats themselves, since the film is from the perspective of the yard owner, although several of the regular cats do show up. Cocoa shows up most frequently, as it's the first cat that Sakumoto sees, and Smokey is the little black cat from his childhood dreams.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Because it would be extremely difficult to replicate the game as a live action movie, the movie instead takes on the perspective of the yard's owner. The yard itself, the toys, the location of the food bowls, and even the gameplay of taking pictures of the cats is replicated in a believable fashion.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Sakumoto and his editor, Michiru, occasionally have some lingering glances each time she visits him to check on his writing progress. Their relationship remains strictly professional, as she tells him that she's going on maternity leave because she and her husband are expecting. This surprises Sakumoto because he didn't even know she was married. The movie concludes with Sakumoto sending her his completed manuscript.
    • Yoko, the local pet store owner, likes winding him up and offers him a part-time job so he could pay his bills.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Sakumoto gets so caught up watching zombie movies that he doesn't see Michiru sitting at his stoop with a stern look on her face.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: All that Sakumoto is seen eating and drinking is copious amounts of Red Bull energy drinks and an occasional snack or coffee.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Sure, Sakumoto would rather spend his time watching the cats play in his yard, but his income is dwindling and his landlady has to remind him that rent is due.
  • Writer's Block: Masaru Sakumoto's first novel made him a promising up-and-coming literary sensation. He subsequently struggles to follow up on it and is reduced to writing crappy serial fiction to pay the bills. His writer's block breaks at the end and he manages to submit a second manuscript to Michiru.

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