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AICN Anime - Cat Shit One

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Column by Scott Green

Anime Spotlight: Cat Shit One
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Available on DVD and Blu-ray from anima, Inc. / IDA, Inc

With an expletive in its name and that image of American soldiers as bunny rabbits, Cat Shit One has the dead-halt audacity that counts for a lot in the internet age.

Cat Shit One began with Motofumi Kobayashi's manga chronicling Botasky, Packy and Rats, otherwise known as the recon team "Cat Shit One" during their service in the Vietnam War. A pun prompted the American armed forces to be depicted as anthropomorphized rabbits. USA GI = usagi, Japanese for rabbits. The Vietnamese were depicted as cats. Japanese as primates. Koreans as dogs. Russians as bears. Chinese as pandas. French as pigs. English as rats and so on. This survey of the conflict went three volumes, which ADV released in North America as "Apocalypse Meow." In 2008, Kobayashi followed this up with Cat Shit One '80, in which the group gets involved with various terrorist incidents, the Iran hostage situation and cold war proxy conflicts.

Now, Kazuya Sasahara has begun adapting Cat Shit One as a CG animated series, featuring variants of Packy and Botasky in post Cold Wars Middle Eastern conflicts. The first episode features the pair serving as private military contractors in an operation to rescue hostage from camel Arabs.

What's essential to recognize about it, is that Cat Shit One is not Maus. It's not Watership Down. It's not a fable. Though Cat Shit One the manga and Cat Shit One the anime are for different sorts, both are for military enthusiasts.

The manga is for war history geeks. It's full of dates, maps, tactical diagrams and foot notes. The narrative is a sense of what the conflict was like and its story is shaped to cover a great deal of its scope.

Cat Shit One '80 was no different. It embellishes on the lives of the CSO team, and there's firefights, but it's mostly jumping around, describing why and how gunfire was being exchanged in 1980: geopolitics, counterterroist infiltration diagrams, hijacking routes and the like.

The new Cat Shit One animation is not like the manga. The extent of the offered context is the opening sentences informing the audience that following the end of the cold war, some veterans took work in the employ of private military companies. Antithetical to the character of the manga, no year or nation is specified. And, what follows is shooting and not history.

It's not Rambo or Hurt Locker or like conflict movies from any decade either.

What the animated Cat Shit One resembles is a modern warfare video game. Packy and Botasky go in, quip, move like highly trained forces, and kill a score of adversaries. There's an objective: rescue the hostages and stay alive long enough for everyone to be extracted. There's a battle field. There's even cover mechanics. Avoiding real politics or events, the adversaries are just there to kill the protagonists. When more armed Arab camels arrive by truck, it's as if the game was spawning them in.

The appeal is still drawing from the viewer's military enthusiasm, whether that's Botasky's pride in his gun, Packy screwing on a silencer or cutting a throat, or the pair making a tactical run through a battle field. More than any character or plot driven moment, a scene like Packy firing off an RPG is supposed to be a high spot.

What sets Cat Shit One apart from video game cut scenes is the novelty of seeing rabbit soldiers kill camels. That starts up a unique dynamic. It's not as if they're hopping like bunnies. I'm not a military buff, but it looks like there's an attention to details here that suggests trying to capture reality. I can't say whether it succeeds or whether someone who knows the subject better than I would be rolling their eyes or pulling out there hair. I can say that the impression is often intended to be of highly trained, heavily armed soldiers and not rabbits. It's not that the novelty of the rabbits and the details of the military action are at odds with each other, so much as that there is no justification offered as to why they should be complementary. The mind volleys between the two notions... it's Peter Cotton Tail goes to war... it's a CG rendering of fire arm tactics... back and forth.

The appeal of the animated Cat Shit One is seeing the violent demonstration of military details. It certainly isn't G.I Joe. There isn't that much military animation produced, and especially not much like this, but, I don't think its landing in that near empty niche counts for much
Cat Shit One has the novelty of rabbit as soldiers, but for viewers who aren't military enthusiasts, I don't see much of note beyond that novelty. There's none of the history of the manga and little varnish of character or narrative. For the Call of Duty fans, the novelty of the rabbits will set the CG animated work apart from cut scenes, but I'm not sure that that's enough. In the scheme of all entertainment competing for an audience's attention and money, I'm not convinced that being one of the only military animated series, and being a novel one at that is enough to draw from a crowd all ready well served by video game. It'd would have to be transcendant and not just an eye drawing curiosity and Cat Shit One is not transcendant.

Cat Shit One has long tried to interest international audiences. Pre-2000, the manga had English excerpts online. This anime made its presence known to international audiences/market early in its production cycle, then offered the first episode on Youtube for two weeks, while being sold on DVD/Blu-ray. In theory, success of the first episode will fund more. Specially as a fan of Japanese animation, I'd like to see this quirky, internationally minded endeavor snow ball. The problem is, I suspect that what's here doesn't go beyond a passed around link to a trailer featuring armed rabbits under the sweary title "Cat Shit One." At it's core, it's a lot like Afro Samurai: an attention flagging incongruous bundle that makes for an interesting action figure. In this case, the novelty might sell those figures, but the anime itself lacks the sustaining "you have to check this out!" appeal of the snap shot. Unlikely to grab either the military interested or uninterested, Cat Shit One doesn't seem liable to break out beyond that widely linked to trailer.




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Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 13, 2011, 10:56 p.m. CST


    by seabiscuits

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 10:57 p.m. CST

    looks like the prequel to meet the feebles

    by seabiscuits

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 11:29 p.m. CST

    thank you, SIR!

    by frank cotton

    my bro and i will be watching it tomorrow, rest assured. many, many thanks, Mr. Green. please keep up the good work. this is pfc frank cotton, signing off, SIR.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Cant' view...

    by Kurgan

    ...thanks to copyright stuff. To who do they wish to sell the DVDs, again?

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:31 a.m. CST

    Let the shitting cat jokes begin!

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:03 a.m. CST

    Holy shit this is glorious!

    by nico_laos

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:39 a.m. CST

    I call total bullshit on your review.

    by elgato73

    You obviously didn't get the message that this is episode 1 of a 12 episode series. I thought Packy and Botasky made that clear when they broke the fourth wall before the episode started up on youtube. They made the announcement that the episode was being given away for free to stimulate interest so people would buy the DVD and Bluray so more episodes could be funded. There is a lot more story to tell here. You don't even fucking mention that in your review. You make anybody who hasn't seen this on youtube or read anywhere else, that this is nothing but a one-off exercise in viewing. You're a fucking moron Green just like a lot of the reviewers on this site. You obviously despised the thing but instead of coming out and just saying it, you dance around it and it's like your exclaiming, "well it's not really going to find an audience so I don't think, you or I should really fucking care and so maybe it will just fucking go away." You're a cunt Green just like the legions of idiots on this stupid ass site. This is so why if you check my post count on this site, I rarely post and why slashfilm has become my go to site for views and stories. Here's the deal Green--stop fucking reviewing anime or anything else for that matter until you can actually figure out what's going on in the world.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:47 a.m. CST

    Now for anybody who cares read below.

    by elgato73

    Go and watch Cat Shit One on youtube and then go to Amazon like I did and buy the bluray. As Packy and Botasky mentioned before the episode started on youtube, every little bit helps to get this series funded. It's supposed to be 12 episodes long and you can ascertain, there is a lot of story left to tell. Scott Green in his absolute bullshit review DOES NOT mention this. It's almost like Green wants this series to fail which would not be surprising knowing his fucking track record. My advice--fuck this Green guy up the ass. Buy this series and watch it. It will be like the equivalent of Packy hunting down Green in his apartment, creeping up on him and then slitting his fucking throat while his family watches. Good times.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:10 a.m. CST


    by UncleScrewtape

    What he said^

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:10 a.m. CST

    What's with the hatred Green?

    by btc909

    How about a review as to why you want this to fail so badly Green? "I'd to see this quirky, internationally minded endeavor snow ball." That is a nasty a$$ comment. I watched this ONE TIME, never read any of the books, I was aware CSO was coming out last year. I watched the preview months ago. My disappointment was the DVD/Blu-Ray is only one episode. Give me three episodes, not one. Otherwise I thought this was great, reminded me of current video games. Loads of attention to detail. Wasn't impressed with the voice acting. Didn't like not having a shot of the hostages at the very end which would have tied the mission to being a success.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 3:44 a.m. CST

    You know, if he wanted it to fail, he wouldn't have reported it at all

    by Pop_aristocrat

    He says the he likes it and wants it to succeed in his review, just that he doesn't think it'll find a wide audience. That's a valid opinion. Personally, I share the opinion. I think its a great exercise in animation, but there's not a lot here for me, when narrative and character are what I tend to watch movies for. This comes off as too generic as anything other than a great piece of indy animation. And maybe Green didn't go talking about the other 11 episodes (though he does allude to their being more produced if the thing does well, which I would think would be satisfactory) because it took two years just to produce the one episode (production start press release 3/09), so it might be a while before we see anymore, at that rate.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 4:36 a.m. CST

    Scott Greens Mom Wears Underwear with Dick Holes

    by PleaseWipeMyAss


  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:16 a.m. CST

    that's fuckin great

    by Mysterious_Volvo

    would love to see an english dub. possibly jason statham as packy.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:20 a.m. CST

    Who in the world

    by d_fens1969

    Really gives a cat shit about this?

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:11 a.m. CST

    Not sure what the reviewer has against this?

    by The Outlander

    but I found CS1 to be surprisingly engaging and well made. Mabe he doesn't like cute bunny rabbits?

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:24 a.m. CST

    I'd love to see more...

    by ron2112

    I've had this on my hard drive since last summer, and have shown it to just about everyone I know. If buying the DVD will help get more made, then great. But the fact that it's available for free at the Internet Archive might not help (

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:28 a.m. CST

    This is really cool, and totally worth my time

    by Citizin_insane

    Thanks for showing this to me. There's something so different about this. So original.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:31 a.m. CST

    It's like MGS4, but with rabbits

    by Johnno

    If they want my advice, they ought to make a third person shooter of this game with multiplayer. They can tell the entire story in a game, and people will love the idea of pwning each other online and camo wearing rifle toting kawaii bunny rabbits. It'll make money, I guarantee it! Also someone ought to make a CG movie on Blacksad.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Just wating for Ep.2

    by s0l

    Seen this months ago... And I'm waiting for the next episode. (which was to have it's release date announced in November last year but nothing came out...)

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:35 a.m. CST

    it's hard to justify 1 episode on bluray for $29.99

    by VonThunderballs

    if i do pick this up i will be getting it on dvd. $10 cheaper. sad thing is it won't be in hi def.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:46 a.m. CST

    My review...

    by bubcus

    I love the animation and the character design. The look of the film is fantastic! The voice acting and the dialogue, however, are not. It sounds very much like a typical American English dub. And almost like Seth Rogen is doing the voice of Packy. The jokes fall flat and the dialogue is stiff. Thankfully, based on what I see in the film credits, there is a Japanese track that I can fall back on. This would ensure I buy this as a series but is this blu-ray/dvd release for just one episode? If so, that's frustrating.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1 p.m. CST

    Good but

    by NoahTall

    I'll buy it when the pricing is reasonable. One episode priced at what an entire 20 episode season of some other series would go for. Or even a British 13 episode series. I'll pay that much for a single episode when I start going to see movies where tickets cost $200. These guys don't get it. Price what you have reasonably and geeks will buy it up by the ton. Price it astronomically high and geeks will pirate it by the ton and you'll get a couple hundred buyers.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:45 p.m. CST

    "Video not in your country..."

    by blackflowerX

    Fuck it then.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 4:20 a.m. CST

    Blackwater Bunnies / Rambunny

    by justmyluck

    Yet another armchair kill fix for anyone wanting to see "Arab" stereotypes getting offed in a variety of "authentic" ways. This stuff is great for the next generation of international cannon fodder who will, of course, sign up across the world and create the next generation of wars for the rest of us. Enjoy your Blu-ray, kiddies.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Predictable, boring cat shit.

    by Kirsan

    I mean there was nothing there that you couldn't see coming a mile away. It was a nothing little film that told a predictable story in a predictable way but covered up every so slightly by making the characters bunnies and camels.

  • Feb. 16, 2011, 12:28 a.m. CST


    by MrMajestic

    Fuck the haters! Cat Shit One rocks! No really people, watch this, the video made me deliriously happy. If this won't play for you hit any torrent site and you'll probably find a copy. This is a must-watch for any genre fan and I don't even like manga.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:36 p.m. CST

    Premise sucked me in - but it was all hype.

    by SirGaryColeman

    It was very much like watching your friend play a first person shooter. There was nothing of note here. This is just a buncha hype with no substance.