Nekopara: Cat Paradise Lost

By: Andrew Erickson

Nekopara

Nekopara is the worst thing I’ve read since my last insurance bill. It’s so singularly bad that I’m convinced it’s a labor of hate directed at literacy itself, because it couldn’t possibly have been intended to entertain anyone. This isn’t even a matter of trying and missing the mark; this is a bad story in the same way that a backscratcher is a bad substitute for a passenger airliner. I hate myself so much for reading it, I feel like writing a Nine Inch Nails album.

“But what is Nekopara?” asks the unaware reader. Imagine a naked prisoner in a secret CIA prison. He’s held fast against waterboarding, hypothermia, sleep deprivation. An agent enters the bare concrete cell, laptop in hand. A Steam library looms in the only open window. The prisoner’s from Yemen, he doesn’t understand English. But he does understand the universal language of Japanese voice acting that sounds like squeak toys being run over by steamrollers. Nekopara – or, more accurately, NEKOPARA Volume 1, titled such because the developers were so certain in their success that they decided their product should carry the implicit threat of a continuation – is viscerally unpleasant in a way that most horror games don’t succeed at.

I can’t comment on the music, which is drowned out by the Alvin and the Chipmunks philharmonic that Nekopara calls voice acting. I can’t be entirely sure, because there’s no male voice to use for comparison. This is due to the protagonist being the lone male character and everyone else being either his sister or a catgirl (so as to better facilitate the accumulation of a harem). At least there’s a button next to each voiced line that can be clicked to replay it for the benefit of anyone who wanted to get some Youtube Poop in their visual novel. But the crown jewel is the “e-mote” system used to animate character sprites. In most VNs, the only movement on-screen is text scrolling in, so having fully animated characters should be more visually interesting than static sprites. It sounds like a minor thing, but has the potential to truly improve the “visual” aspect of VNs. Just think how much more effectively characters could emote if they didn’t have the same stock sprite the majority of the time.

nekopara

Oh… or they could use it for that, I guess. Did you know there’s a button specifically for shaking the screen on demand? Now you do. In fact, after that image and that sentence you know everything you need to about Nekopara. But I’m going to continue anyway because I’ve read Nazi memoirs with more sympathetic characters than this VN. At least those don’t feature bestiality, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The story follows a young Japanese man with no defined age or character traits or in-game model. He does have a name, which is the full extent of the writers’ pretense that he isn’t an amorphous specter standing in for the reader. The story finds Audience Stand-in Man preparing to open a new bakery, only to find two mysterious boxes mailed to him by his sister. They contain twin catgirls Chocola and Vanilla, which is actually a clever bit of misdirection: they’re both plain and boring. The catgirls in Nekopara, incidentally, aren’t people with cat ears like you might assume. The VN explains, in no uncertain terms, that they’re cats genetically engineered to resemble human beings and have something approaching (but generally below) human-level intelligence. They are, for all intents and purposes, people-shaped animals. They still have cat instincts and behaviors such as the flehmen response.

One of these instincts, it seems, is to constantly announce what they’re doing, with repetition that made me wonder if this began development as a Dora the Explorer game. The alternative is that “fidget fidget fidget… twitch twitch twitch” is just the baseline level of writing that can be expected from a VN now. Maybe so, considering that such lines make up a considerable chunk of the dialogue in Nekopara, which is great if you ever wanted to know the Japanese words for “stare” (gii) or “beep” (beep) or “maybe Marx was right if capitalism allows products like this to be made and sold” (nyan).

Nekopara

At any rate, Audience Stand-in Man puts the catgirls to work in his bakery. This may be illegal, considering catgirls aren’t allowed in public unescorted by a human unless they pass a government exam. I don’t know, my constitutional law classes didn’t cover catgirl jurisprudence. There’s definitely something unethical going on, especially once the two catgirls go into heat.

I was given the censored version, so the ensuing scene was fortunately skipped over. It could have skipped some more, though, given that the following segment of the three in bed features the protagonist musing, “There’s a lot to raising catgirls.” Oh, is that the key to raising cats? Is bestiality a valid pet care strategy now? I had no idea. Thanks, Nekopara! But he isn’t finished… “They were like daughters… and even lovers. Those feelings mixed together.” Because if you’re going to go for bestiality, why not spice it up with some incest overtones? Go big or go home.

Nekopara

That… that wasn’t a serious suggestion.

“If Chocola and Vanilla weren’t going to accept you, I would have myself. I may be your sister, but even before that, I am a woman. It would be very difficult to turn down Nii-sama’s affection.” A page must have been missing from someone’s Japanese-English dictionary, because “nii-sama” is never rendered as brother. That or not even the translators cared enough to do their job, which I honestly can’t fault them for. After all, here I am reviewing it, and I can’t be bothered describing the story in any detail. Does it really matter when the story exists as rickety scaffolding built around contriving a scenario where it’s somehow acceptable for a man to have a threesome with twins whose age is still in the single digits? It doesn’t deserve scholarly analysis. It doesn’t deserve to be on Steam. It doesn’t even deserve to exist. Nekopara is the worst Japanese export since World War II and my life has been diminished for having read it.

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  • Suicide cat girls might’ve softened the blow of Pearl Harbor.

  • Devin Wolfe

    Seemed pretty good for me.

    • Guest

      What a surprise!

      • I’ll wait until the 100% off sale to play this.

        • Max-Vader

          If someone were to offer to kick you in the dick for zero bucks, it’s still be a shitty deal, I’d say.

        • Devin Wolfe

          Don’t bother the Steam version is censored just find a torrent with the 18+ version and play it.

          • the inability to recognize sarcasm…

          • Devin Wolfe

            I know it’s sarcasm but you know think what you want.

          • you’re a terrible liar

          • Devin Wolfe

            Again think what you will.

          • I also think that you absolutely missed what I was saying.

          • Devin Wolfe

            You where saying that you won’t give any money towards something like this because you don’t like it for such and such reason am I right?

          • “You where…” – Right here!

            I will pretend to understand what you wrote. I wrote this:

            “I’ll wait until the 100% off sale to play this.” How else would one interpret this? A negative statement or a positive one?

          • Devin Wolfe

            A. You have no money and want the game free.

            B. You have no intention of buying it and want to crack jokes on something you don’t find appealing.

          • One of those is a big bingo.

          • Andrew Erickson

            I only pirate hentai for the story.

          • Devin Wolfe

            Your point?

          • The point was comedy, friend.

          • Devin Wolfe

            If that’s comedy I’m the former princess of Marocko.

          • It might not be comedy to you because you are often found to be the butt of the joke.

          • Devin Wolfe

            Nah it’s not comedy because it’s trying too hard to be funny or witty.

          • No, it wasn’t done with much effort.

            I find Andrew to be the least funny guy on the podcast (hey, it’s math more than disrespect) but that was a definitely funny line from him.

          • “Marocko”

            i cant stop laughing someone send help

          • If I pointed out every word he misspelled, I would be seen as a horrible human being. It’s not like web browsers have native spell check or anything.

          • Devin Wolfe
          • SUUUUUUUUURE. Is English your second language?

          • Devin Wolfe

            Nope but this is the way I’v seen it spelled and it is right but the wrong language so it’s still valid.

          • Oof. OK. Alright.

          • Dude, he’s got, like, quadruple autism. Don’t bother with him.

          • B-but the Swedish- ::SIGH::

          • Devin Wolfe

            It’s always autism this or mental disorder that with you. Is that all you have in your arsenal? Come on you must have something better than that because if not you have went beyond scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel and are now digging a hole to china.

          • I’m sure that the people ’round here are not the only ones who find you odd, and may think you have more of a problem than just grammar issues.

          • Devin Wolfe

            I type the way I speak for the most part but because of the ADHD before I can finish one thought it’s on to the next picture it like this you’re in a room with hundreds of thousands of TVs and all of them are on. But that doesn’t mean my comments are any less valid. I’m not stupid by any stretch of the imagination I just come to different conclusions compared to neurotypicals who only think in a linear fashion.

          • Being autistic or asperger’s doesn’t mean you’re stupid.

          • Devin Wolfe

            From the way Cody throws the word around it’s quickly becoming that way. Just like how jailbait is now under the pedophile umbrella because people like to throw it around so much hell a 18 year old can be going out with a 17 year old and it’s considered pedophilia now.

          • How do the developers of such catgirl fuck games gain the funds to get your cock hard if you’re just torrenting all over the place?

          • Devin Wolfe

            I get the feeling I’m one of the only people that bought and played it for the story.

          • I don’t get that feeling, because you just recommended me to get the uncensored version? Who needs porn when you’ve got a deep and engaging story?

          • Devin Wolfe

            I hate censorship so I played the game the way it was meant to be played. This is the same reason I didn’t watch Terraformars as the censorship is ridiculous and the reason I’m waiting for the BD of Tokyo Ghoul.

          • Did you PURCHASE? the uncensored version?
            They did away with the censorship in Terraformars. Read the news! Not that it makes Terraformars worth watching. I haven’t watched that thing in months.

          • Devin Wolfe

            I tried but none of the sites that had it took Paypal. Didn’t they only release the first 3 episodes uncensored on CR?

          • If they don’t take paypal, just break out your credit card. What’s the big deal?

            All the Terraformars episodes from then on were uncensored. The censorship was incredibly ridiculous. It was a major blunder.

          • Devin Wolfe

            “Did you PURCHASE? the uncensored version?”

            Where you talking about Nekopara or Terraformars here?

            Edit: I saw you edited your comment disregard this.

          • Nekopara. I don’t think there is any Terraformars anime to purchase.

          • Devin Wolfe

            Last time I used my card on a a site like this It got found by some fake company in Korea and I had to get another. I thought it was only going to be the first 3 episodes will look into it now and yeah it was blacking out half a screen takes one out of a show.

  • Max-Vader

    “Nekopara is the worst Japanese export since World War II”
    Excuse me, but World War II was created in Germany with German Engineering and German Science which as we all know is THE BEST IN THE WORLD, so I can’t just let this stand. Should have said Pearl Harbor instead. 0/10

  • Aythya

    I’m so confused about Chocolate’s hair bows. I have to assume one person behind this said to another, “I don’t know, something seems off…just throw in some hair clips or some shit like that, see what you can do!” and they took it to an extreme.
    Also, being in heat doesn’t actually affect cats in any way. If they wanted that excuse, they should have used ferret-girls, who actually will fall ill and die if they don’t get pregnant or get spayed. The more you know!

  • Bonglorio

    Devin has so many brain problems piled on top of each other that I have to wonder what part of his cerebral cortex functions properly. He keeps popping in obsessively to gibber at us dumb neurotypicals for not liking child porn and he doesn’t fucking stop.

    This must be what the editor to newspapers feel like when they look at each new stack of letters to the editor written by an unmedicated janitor in Alabama who thinks the government is run by homosexual space jews who are also lizards.

    You shouldn’t debate that kind of mental defective. All you can do is laugh and throw peanuts at them because society has already tried and failed to make them into functioning people.

    Great review Andrew btw.

    • Devin Wolfe

      “popping in obsessively”

      If I was obsessive wouldn’t that imply I commented on every podcast on this site?

      As for the lolicon thing I’v said my piece on that and you can say and think what you want it doesn’t change the reality that it’s just fiction.

      • You basically have commented on at least every TOS podcast.

        • Devin Wolfe

          About half of them I have.

          • I imagine that the TOS crew value all of their listeners, but they also wish that some of them would die in a fire while falling in a bucket of AIDS blood.

      • Guest

        BUT CAN LOLIS MELT STEEL BEAMS???