Neko and Catgirl Anime
Neko and Catgirl Anime and Cartoons
Here are just a few examples of Neko and Catgirl in Japanese anime (plus a couple American cartoons for contrast), organized from oldest to recent; most of these anime originally began as a manga.
While there are certainly far more Japanese anime featuring cat-girls or Neko, I’ve chosen to list the ones where Neko played a key role, along with a link to a video for your viewing pleasure. For those of you wanting a more comprehensive listing (without the video clips), check out…
This website: which has a long list covering various forms of media (thanks to Kylie!).
This Nekojin List: with all sorts of references to movies, TV series, and an extensive list of anime in which Neko made select “guest appearances” in specific episodes.
This Wikipedia page: with the most extensive List of Catgirls I’ve found to date.
Wato no Kuni Hoshi / Star of Cotton Land / Cotton Star / Planet of Cotton
Writer: Yumiko Oshima
Director: Shinichi Tsuji
Note: This anime featured a small cat who sees herself as a catgirl, even through she looks just like an ordinary cat to the humans around her.
Dominion – Tank Police
Author: Masamune Shirow
Studio(s): Agent 21 / JC Staff / Doga Prod.
Note: This anime includes two catgirl characters named AnnaPuma and UniPuma
Cat Girl Nuku Nuku (made for TV)
Creator: Yuzo Takada
Comments: “This is a classic anime comedy. If you’ve been searching far and wide for a super-powered, super-likable cat girl with a heart of gold, you’ve hit the jackpot.”
Dragon Pink (made for video)
Comments: DragonPink is most definitely a hentai anime — a very adult fantasy (though some reviewers say it’s more ecchi than hentai by today’s standards).
Totsuzen! Neko no Kuni Banipal Witt / Catnapped!
Writer/Director: Takashi Nakamura
Producers: Taro Maki, Yoshimi Asari, Hiroaki Inoue
Note: The children in this anime turn into Neko when they visit a magical land of cats.
Tenku no Esukafurone / The Vision of Escaflowne – made for TV
Escaflowne – full length anime
Author: Katsu Aki (TV series) / Kazuki Sakine and Ryota Yamaguchi (anime)
Studios: Sunrise and Bandai Visual on both
Year: 1996 (TV series); 2000 (anime)
TV Series Info: wikipedia.org/Escaflowne _TV
Anime Info: wikipedia.org/Escaflowne_Anime
Note: Characters in this anime include the cat-girl Merle (pictured at left), and two leopard-girl sisters Naria and Eriya. The full-length anime differs greatly from the TV series.
Hyper Police (made for TV)
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Note: One of the key characters in this anime is a girl named Natsuki who resembles a Bakeneko more than a Neko — when angry or scared, her tail splits in two.
Di Gi Charat (made for TV)
Video 1: youtube.com/watch?v=1hhhsdwgG3E
Note: Episode #1 features an adorable Neko spaceship… want!
Tenshi ni Narumon / I’m Gonna Be An Angel (made for TV)
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Video 1: youtube.com/watch?v=qE6IOXPfKtQ
Video 2: youtube.com/watch?v=wNpfF0uJt-g
Note: The Neko / catgirl character is named Miruru; she and the vampire Gabriel share more than just a love of the dark…
Magical Nyan Nyan Taruto / Magic Cat Girl Taruto (made for TV)
Note: Similar to the heroine in Cottonland, Taruto and any other cat-person appears to be nothing more than a normal animal in the eyes of other humans in this anime.
Neko no Ongaeshi / The Cat Returns
Author: Aoi Hiiragi
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Note: This was the anime that inspired my “History of Nekos in SL” story. :-)
Tokyo Mew Mew (made for TV)
Author: Mia Ikumi
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Note: After an earthquake, the characters in this anime were exposed to a strange light, which gave them special powers to transform into animal superheroes, including a catgirl (Ichigo).
UFO Princess Warukyure / Valkyrie (made for TV)
Studio: Media Factory Inc.; TNK
Video 1: youtube.com/watch?v=z5umOLaMR0M
Video 2: youtube.com/watch?v=EHs1Q_ygZog
Note: They may not look like typical neko ears, but Valkyrie is definitely a catgirl, as are all the members of the Catgirl Maid Army in this anime.
Rizelmine (made for TV)
Author: Yukiru Sugisaki
Note: While some might argue, I believe this character’s mannerisms and “nya” qualify her as yet another catgirl, despite her very unique “ears”
Da Capo (made for TV and video)
Video 1: youtube.com/watch?v=UR4FglYUoJk
Video 2: youtube.com/watch?v=1NiXiNMqHmo
Video 3: youtube.com/watch?v=Mt6BQqfEisU
Video 4: youtube.com/watch?v=dNcBrSmFga8
Note: The catgirl in this anime is little Yoriko, who becomes the household’s maid. There are so many excellent videos of Yoriko on youtube, I couldn’t choose just one, but the first video of her dreaming is definitely my favorite.
Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase (made for TV and video)
Author: Keitaro Arima
Video 1: youtube.com/watch?v=DnePyq8PHPw
Note: This anime features an adorable little vampire Neko (though it’s clear that her ears aren’t organic…) ^.~
Loveless (made for TV)
Studio: J.C. Staff
Note: All children in this movie have Neko ears and a tail until they lose their virginity.
Utawarerumono / Songs of Legend (made for TV)
Studio: Oriental Light and Magic
Note: Aruruu and Eruruu… catgirls or doggirls? Depends on which fan you ask. Reviews of this 26 series anime are equally divided… from “one of the best I’ve seen, if you are patient enough to let the story develop,” to “one of the most disappointing, with little to hold your interest.”
Shining Tears x Wind (anime inspired by a Playstation game)
Studio: Studio Deen
Note: Mao is a ninja catgirl who enters the “real world” from her alternate world “end earth,” in order to look for her friend Xero. While there she accidentally sends two real world people back to her world… one of them the main character Souma, who develops a bond with Mao when he’s able to extract a soul blade from her that becomes his favorite weapon.
Shugo Chara! (made for TV)
Info 1: http://shugochara.wikia.com/wiki/Ikuto_Tsukiyomi
Info 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shugo_Chara!
Note: As one of the main characters in this anime, Ikuo Tsukiyomi is a teenage boy with a tiny catboy guardian named Yuro and the ability to transform into a Black Lynx. During character transformation, Ikuo grows a pair of cat ears and a tail, and gains cat-like reflexes and moves. He can also form virtual cat claws from his hands, created to form the “Phantom Claw” attack (but not while he’s in character transformation).
Kyouran Kazoku Nikki / Frenzied Family Diary (made for TV)
Note: The Neko / catgirl character in this TV anime series is named Kyouka
Soul Eater (made for TV)
Author: Atsushi Okubo
More Info: wikipedia.org/wiki/SoulEaterCharacters
Note: “Blair” is a black cat with magic powers that allow her to turn into a sexy, purple-haired catgirl
Strike Witches / Strike Witches II (made for TV)
Authors: Noboru Yamaguchi, Yoshiyuki Kazumi, Kadokawa Shoten, Hidehisa Nanbo, Kyogoku Shin
Studios: Gonzo / AIC Spirits
Year: 2008 / 2010
Note: Two light novels and three manga series all written by various authors were eventually translated into two seasons of TV anime. When drawing upon their magical powers, each Strike Witch will sprout ears and a tail that reflect the animal spirit from which their power is sourced. Strike Witches (pictured above) include Lynette Bishop (left), Miyafuji Yoshika (center) & Perrine-H Clostermann (right).
Draw With Me (a beautiful 3 minute video)
Story and Animation: Mike Inel
Music and Sound: Daniel James
Note: This is not a full-length anime, nor is it a TV series. It’s just a beautiful 3 minute video created by a very talented animator, featuring a little neko girl.
Bakemonogatari (made for TV)
Author: Nisio Isin (light novel series in 2006)
Note: The neko in this movie is named Tsubasa Hanekawa (sometimes called Black Hanekawa after being possessed by a bakeneko during a stressful period of her life), and she is respected by Koyomi more than anyone else. There’s a sequel to this TV anime series called Nisemonogatari, and a prequel called Kizumonogatari is soon to be released.
K-On! / けいおん! Keion! (made for TV; film released Dec. ’11)
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Note: When Azusa Nakano tries on a pair of cat ears and meows “nyan,” her friends nickname her Azu-nyan. She eventually becomes a member of the Wakaba Girls band.
Mayoi Neko Overrun! (迷い猫オーバーラン! (made for TV)
Note: One character in this anime, Nozomi Kiriya, has a tendency to say ‘Nya,’ has hair that looks strangely like cat ears, and is often referred to as a large cat by her fellow roommates.
Anime in which a catgirl plays a minor part (not a main character):
Kannazuki No Miko / Priestesses of the Godless Month
Studio: Rondo Robe
Note: The catgirl that appears occasionally in this anime is called Nekoko; she is one of six evil “worshipers” of the anime’s central villain, Orochi.
Shikkoku no Hana / Darker than Black
Author: Yuji Iwahara
More Info: http://darkerthanblack.wikia.com/wiki/Kiko_Kayanuma
Note: This catgirl character is Kayanuma Kiko, the otaku-obsessed assistant to Kurasawa Gai, a detective in the anime. It’s only in this one episode that she is seen with cat ears, though. Thanks to Gurra for providing this information!
American cartoons featuring humans with cat traits:
Josie and the Pussycats (made for TV)
Creators: Dan DeCarlo, Richard Goldwater, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears
Note: Although it’s interesting to note that this is the first time that catgirls appeared in a cartoon, a full 14 years before the first catgirl anime in Japan, these catgirls were just humans wearing catgirl costumes; no “neko transformation” took place.
ThunderCats / CosmoCats (American cartoon made for TV)
Creator: Rankin/Bass Productions
Note: The humanoid characters in this cartoon transformed into superheroes with big cat traits (tiger stripes, puma ears, cheetah spots, etc.).
Anime / cartoons featuring characters that are more cat than hybrid:
Ribon No Kishi / Princess Night (made for TV)
Creator: Osamu Tezuka
Video 1: youtube.com/watch?v=vE4ddTZU4Yk (character seen at 3:50 – 5:20)
Video 2: youtube.com/watch?v=_ghbIdO4-XQ (character transforms into a cat)
Notes: Technically this is the first anime in which a catgirl appears (frame 2 of the above image), but only as a momentary stage of transformation from human to a four-footed cat (with what appears to be a furry in the middle); the end result is not a catgirl / human-cat hybrid.
Ginga Tetsudo no Yoru / Night on the Galactic Railroad
Author: Kenji Miyazawa wrote “The Celestial Railroad” in 1934
Writer: Yumiko Oshima adapted Miyazawa’s story to animation
Director: Gisaburo Sugii
Note: The characters in this beautiful anime are cats that walk upright, wear clothes, and talk/behave like humans.
Samurai Pizza Cats
Studio: Tatsunoko Productions, Sotsu Agency
Video 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXiJYcK4-GU
Video 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFv2z4qR9eY
Notes: These characters are cats that portray human behavior — standing upright, walking on two feet, wearing clothes and talking like humans.
Studio: Hanna Barbera
Notes: Just like Samurai Pizza Cats above, these characters are cats who stand, walk and talk like humans.
Catgirls (and Catboys) in Video Games (thanks to user “Bangayo” on YouTube!)
Blade Kitten 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgPCFIEbmjM
Blade Kitten 2: (thanks Myriam!): Article on Rock Paper Shotgun
BlazBlue / Taokaka: info page / youtube of Felicia and Taokaka fighting
C.A.T. Cyber Attack Team: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgpQ4wwpewo
Fire Emblem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWaXPqDtDYU
Kiss Me! Me! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r85BOd1Ayt4
Kitty on Your Lap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYUP75fzHZs
Maiden Breeder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-jsOWs2TWw
Relict 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZsaK9Ce6Ec
Steam Hearts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8erv0SsigPU
Tail Concerto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q51XUSJtfGA
Tail Tale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi1AorqiomE
Wanko to Kurasou: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDk0rR3ERbg
Compilation of Various Neko / Catgirl Images
This video contains multiple anime clips, many of which depict catgirls:
This video contains multiple static images of Neko and catgirl: