The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mayoi Neko Overrun!

Title: Mayoi Neko Overrun!
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Company: AIC
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 6 Apr 2010 – 29 Jun 2010

Synopsis: High-schooler Tsuzuki Takumi lives alone with his stepsister Otome after being found abandoned as a baby. He has a close relationship with his childhood friend from his old orphanage, Serizawa Fumino. One day, Otome takes in a naive cat-like girl named Kiriya Nozomi from the streets. She quickly befriends Takumi and Fumino. The group later encounters a rich student named Umenomori Chise who ropes them into forming a school club to help other “stray cats” like Nozomi.

The Highlights
Pacing: Heavy on comedy, slow with plot.
Character designs: Drawn by popular visual novel artist Peco.
Characters: Sometimes charming, often times stale.
Fanservice: The perfect amount.

Mayoi Neko Overrun is uncanny in that it actively attempts to be unique in small ways while falling back on trite comedy and plot devices in larger ways. As an adaptation of a standard rom-com light novel, the show has only one unusual quirk: the story is episodic, with each episode having its own director (including a few notable names like Sato Junichi). The structure leans more toward eccentric comedy than brief heartwarming chapters, and it provides little continuity to cover for the characters’ hijinks. It’s more sitcom than rom-com since the character chemistry is more crucial than any sort of overarching development and the plot quickly gives way to each episode’s unusual adventures.

Often times this works out for the better. The series’ lack of overall seriousness is nothing to decry: from the bits and pieces of story that seep through, it seems that the source material is the standard genre fare, and it would take a lot to turn the inevitable clichés into something palatable. Rather, the fact that the show makes light of itself is a blessing. The most enjoyable episodes are the ones that throw the characters into bizarre situations and play off of their personalities, with a few meta-jokes thrown in for good measure.

Despite its attempt at originality in a stale genre, the show ultimately falls victim to the very clichés that it tries to avoid. A large part of the problem is the fact that on some occasions, it simply isn’t funny. The mischief is present and the characters are posed to exude their idiosyncrasies through amusingly over-the-top dialogue (even if said idiosyncrasies result from no more than bland personality archetypes), but the comedy doesn’t always happen. Either the staff fall back on the unoriginal jokes that permeate the genre or the antics lean too far on the side of rapid-fire gags to be engaging, so the show simply ceases to be entertaining. This is a deal breaker in comedy. It’s when you stop laughing that you realize how iffy the rest of the production is.

At its core, Mayoi Neko Overrun is utterly mediocre, and this spectre haunts it even when it’s at its best. The scattered moments of ingenuity and originality are golden (one episode revolves entirely around a game of Jenga), but on a larger scale, they’re eclipsed by what is ultimately a trite—and occasionally dull—piece of fiction. The bits of drama are forced, and while there are certainly a handful of charming moments, the character interaction usually fails to evoke any sort of emotion. The disarming moments are too brief to overcome the looming threat of uninspired dialogue between characters that are only appealing as archetypes.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: Eternal

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