In a world where people often adopt cat girls as pets, Kashou Minaduki tried his best to get away from his at first, along with the rest of his family. Fed up with their demands, he decides to open his own bakery. However, Chocola and Vanilla, his sister's "pets" of sorts, sneak away in his luggage and beg to stay with him, thwarting any plans he had for a peaceful life.
As such, the challenge of opening a successful business with two clumsy, affectionate cat girls constantly running around begins.
The series' release list is as follows:
- NEKOPARA Vol. 1: Soleil Kaiten Shimashita ("[La] Soleil Has Opened") (2014)
- NEKOPARA Vol. 0: Minazuki Neko-tachi no Nichijou ("The Minazuki Cats' Daily Routine") note (2015)
- NEKOPARA Vol. 2: Shimai Neko no Sucre ("The Sister Cats' Sugar") (2016)
- NEKOPALIVE note (2016)
- NEKOPARA Vol. 3: Neko-tachi no Aromatise ("The Cats Make It Fragrant"note ) (2017)
- NEKOPARA Extra: Koneko no Hi no Yakusoku ("The Kittens' Day Promise") note (2018)
- NEKOPARA Vol. 4: Neko to Patissier no Noel ("The Cats' and Patissier's Noel") (announced for Spring 2020)
Created by Chinese-born artist Sayori (currently living in Japan) under the name NEKO WORKs, NEKOPARA is an eroge visual novel series based on a series of doujinshi also created by NEKO WORKs. Censored versions of Vols. 1, 2, and 3 are available to purchase on Steam, with the 18+ versions (and corresponding Steam patches) being available on dlsite, Denpasoft, and NEKO WORKs' own download site; the 18+ patches were later added on Steam as DLCs after they were allowed by platform policy. Vol. 0 and Extra are available only on Steam in "all-ages" form, and NEKOPALIVE is free-to-play through Steam.
A Kickstarter for an animated OVA adaptation was announced in December 27th, 2016 and went live two days later. After launch, the kickstarter reached it's $100,000 goal within an hour, and finished a little shy of $1,000,000. A second campaign for those with PayPal and Stripe was launched a few days later, taking the total past that final stretch goal. The OVA was released ahead of schedule on December 21, 2017 due to an accidental early leak to some Kickstarter backers.
A music video that was uploaded on 13 Febuary 2018 revealed that KOTOKO has been roped in to making music for future content. A spin-off TV series was teased in mid-2019, with the first episode premiering on July 6 at Anime Expo. The complete series aired starting in January 2020. A mobile game titled Nekoparaitennote is being developed by Yostar.
The NEKOPARA series provides examples of:
- Alternate Universe: The series is set in a world where Nekos exist alongside humans.
- Bleached Underpants: The OVA and anime place more focus on the interactions between the catgirls and downplay romantic or sexual relations with Kashou from the visual novels.
- Bowdlerise: The non-eroge version of Vol. 1, which was released on the Nintendo Switch with an M rating from the ESRB for "Sexual Themes", wasn't enough for Sony. Their version was originally rated E, the biggest jump down in ratings between consoles in history. note The Censor Steam was increased and the breast jiggle feature was removed among other changes.
- Cat Fight: Puns aside, it happens a few times across all volumes. Azuki is involved in all of them.
- Cat Girl: It's not called "NEKOPARA" for nothing!
- Cat Smile: Zigzagged between the cast. Most, if not all the girls have demonstrated it at least once, but Chocola, Azuki and Coconut almost have it as a default expression.
- Censor Steam: Used in the all ages version when Chocola and Vanilla bathe with Kashou in volume 1 and when all the Minaduki catsisters bathe together in volume 0.
- Fanservice: A good chunk appears in every installment of the series, usually in the form of a playful risque scene or two. Unless you use the 18+ patches; then it's just porn.
- Fish out of Water: Most catgirls start out this way, and must be trained in the ways of the human lifestyle.
- Gratuitous English: From a few characters.
- Vanilla is occasionally prone to this a little, with phrases like, "Let's go!" and "All green."
- At the end of Vol. 2, after Kashou gets his fourth catpanion, Shigure says, "Hey, brother! Let's say, Neko Paradise!"
- And after the last one joins the harem in Vol. 3, Shigure tearfully declares, "I wanna be Neko!"
- Gratuitous French:
- One word in the title of each of the main volumes (1 through 4). Sayori seems to have a thing for French, as seen also in the name of the patisserie (that also being a French word itself), and that the name of one of the catgirls is a French wordnote .
- Most of the main volumes have alternate French subtitles: Des soeurs filles-chat tres gentilles for Vol. 2, Aromatiser des filles-chats for Vol. 3, and Noël avec les filles-chat et Patissier for Vol. 4.
- Humanlike Animal Aging: Inverted as a case of Animallike Human Aging, all catgirls grow and age like their real life counterpart, the most absurd example goes to Coconut, being a Maine Coon, she has the body of an adult woman despite being 1 year old. Dialogue during the series seems to imply that once they reach maturity they have normal human lifespans, but this may be conjecture at best.
- Improbably Female Cast: The first line of dialogue just happens to be from a man, and the protagonist is a man (though with a typical lack of voice acting and a face we rarely see).note Other than that, it's not just the main characters; every other person who says anything—catgirl, adult human, or child—is female. Well, until Vol. 3, that is. In that one, a couple of small roles do end up being men.
- Interspecies Romance: The central premise of Nekopara is Kashou starting romantic relationships with the catgirls he works with. It's not a shameful relationship in the setting, to the point where there's a common word for it ("koineko" in Japanesenote ; "catpanion" in the English translation).
- Jiggle Physics: While a common feature in Japanese H-games, this feature was a shock to a lot of people discovering the game on Steam, especially as it was the all-ages version. It is also an adjustable feature in this series. For Vol. 3, the better engine allowed them to make the physics even more jiggly.
- Little Bit Beastly: The Nekos, of course. However, they're biologically much closer to cats than humans, with similar growth and age rates and even estrus cycles.
- Mate or Die: Chocola and Vanilla trick Kashou into believing this is the case for their species. When he finds out otherwise, he's a bit irked. Particularly when he finds out it was Shigure's suggestion.
- Officially Shortened Title: Nekopara is the shortened title of Sayori's illustration series Neko Paradise.
- One-Gender Race: There are no catboys.note
- Only Sane Man: Azuki, Kashou and to a lesser extent Maple are this to the other catgirls.
- Please Don't Leave Me: At the prologue chapter of Vol.1, Kashou told Chocola to leave for the sake of her, she outright refused and urged him to keep her and Vanilla.
- Police Are Useless: The Lawful Stupid police officer in Vol. 1 who completely ignores Chocola and Vanilla trying to explain that Kashou is sick, and only cares about having them detained for being outside without their bells. And then when he shows up, obviously sick and exhausted, rather than show any concern for his well-being, she only acknowledges the bells and walks away. The officer does mention that she's run into a lot of catgirls who try to pretend that they have a bell, which may explain why she ignores the two's explanation, but there's no excusing her just walking off after Kashou is clearly in a poor condition.
- Potty Dance: Episode 1 has Cinnamon doing this while waiting for Maple to get out of the bathroom.
- Real-Place Background: Though the café itself is almost certainly fictional, the setting is Yokohama, Japan's 2nd most populous city. Places featured include:
- Yamashita Park which looks out into the port and Tokyo Bay, though the view featured here is that of the central business district, Minato Mirai 21 with its famous Yokohama Landmark Tower (second tallest buildingnote in Japan, and where two of the characters have dinner in Vol. 2) and Cosmo Clock 21 (tallest Ferris wheel in the world when it was built in 1989).
- An amusement park called Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise, though they changed the name to "Hyakkeijima".
- In Vol. 3, some of the characters go to "a[ musical] instrument store near [Yokohama] Station".note The background is a drawing of the area of the Minami-Saiwai bridge over the Saiwai river from the intersection of Pal Nerd St. and 5th Avenue. The neighborhood beyond has at least five music stores, so it's not clear which one they might have been thinking of.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: For whatever reason, this series loves to have its characters speak sound effects (and Unsound Effects, this being Japanese and all). Frequent examples being "gorogorogoro" (purring) and "nadenade" (petting). The latter is used both in sentences and as an Unsound Effect, as are some others.
- Seldom-Seen Species: Or at least, breed. It's not too often cats are differentiated by breed in media, and when they are it's usually Persians, Siamese, or Sphinxes (and even then those are typically used as stand-ins for other cats who lost their hair). This game has catgirls based off of Maine Coons, Munchkins, American Curls, and Scottish Folds.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: The series has 3 pairs:
- Chocola and Vanilla: Chocola is energetic, cheerful and innocent while Vanilla is calm, collected and has a sarcastic streak.
- Coconut and Azuki: Azuki is the eldest sister, excels at everything she does and is the shortest catgirl out of all Minaduki sisters. Coconut is the second-youngest, tallest and often makes a mess of things.
- Maple and Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a Loveable Sex Maniac who turns a lot of things into sexual innuendos and gets lost in her fantasies. Maple is a no-nonsense catgirl with a calm head. They even happen to be breeds of cat whose ears curl in opposite directions.
- Shout-Out: This hand of mine burns red! Its loud roar tells me to defeat the butterfly! ERUPTINGGGGG AZUKIIIII FINGERRRRR!!!
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Take a wild guess. Let's just say the scenes that aren't advertiser-friendly.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: From Cinnamon at least a couple of times in Vol. 3, regarding her perverted thoughts and interests. Says she wants to look at—er, look up—something on Kashou's computer; but it's not anything weird or perverted. Later, when caught surreptitiously following him and Maple, she claims she didn't think they were doing anything lewd.
- Twin Threesome Fantasy: Chocola and Vanilla initiate this with Kashou. This ends up having a negative effect on him when he collapses from exhaustion towards the end of volume 1.
- Unsound Effect: See example for Saying Sound Effects Out Loud.