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Live-Action Neko Atsume Movie Trailer Reminds Us That Cats Need More Media Love

The internet loves cats; that much is for certain. Where else are you going to be able to find an unlimited supply of cat fail compilation videos to watch at 3 in the morning? While not all cats are created equal, they certainly have a collective reputation among feline fanatics. The average stereotype of a cat will take the unwavering love provided by their owner and repay that kindness by being reclusive, resistant to cuddles, and fiercely independent. This is a glaring contrast to how we view dogs–labeling them as “man’s best friend” and praising them for their unwavering loyalty and willingness to play fetch without glaring at us.

Canine companions take center stage when it comes to being the protagonists of media, like games or live-action movies; they’re often featured as the focal point and regarded as “positive”. Cats are usually the sidekick or villain, serving as a sassy companion or antagonist to compliment a dog’s inherently good nature. Cats are clearly marketable, but their portrayal in cinema fails them. The 2001 title Cats & Dogs paints an antagonistic view of its housecats, with the plot revolving around their evil plan to make humans allergic to dogs. The sequel follows the same formula, with a different way for the cat-agonist to be a menace to dog-kind.

When it comes to film, it doesn’t help the cats are harder to train for the camera. This could be in part to their more self-reliant nature, whereas dogs instinctively run in packs and obey the alpha (the trainer). I’m not sure about you, but I’m more likely to have my dog come running toward me after I call her name as opposed to my friend’s cat, who decides when and at what time she’d like sit on my hand. Was I trying to play Dungeons & Dragons? Too bad, because I have a cat on top of my character sheet now.

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In popular games that feature animals, the cats are always left out or are featured in such a small way that it’s hardly worth including them to begin with. Take the 3DS title Nintendogs. Gameplay consists of picking out a pup from a wide variety of breeds and then proceeding to take care of and train it for competitions. The +Cats attached to the title in later installments is a clear afterthought, with far less cat content than dog. There are more options presented to a player who chooses a puppy as opposed to a kitten. You can pick between standard, oriental, or long hair at the shelter…but there are more than 9 options presented to dog lovers.

And then there’s Neko Atsume. This mobile app game published in 2014 changed how cats are portrayed and received. They’re chill with different personalities. You start with a completely empty house, void of any four legged friends. You set out food and then slowly, over time, a variety of cats will come to take over your environment. There’s no hissing, clawing, or dogs in sight. Plus it casts a light on the softer side of cats, where they do like us humans. It highlights the cats out there who are big softies. The mobile game is relaxing as it is addicting, and has spawned merchandise for its more popular cat characters that stand out from the litter. 

Because of its success as a game,  Neko Atsume is getting a Japanese movie slated for release sometime in 2017. Although there are no English subtitles for the trailer or any plans to release the film domestically, the premise of the movie follows a successful novelist who retreats to the country in hopes of getting over his writer’s block. Then come the cats. Hoards of them. They’re cute, relaxed, and ready to change this man’s life in a positive way.  The trailer for the upcoming film adaptation reminds us why people hoard cats. It’s because they’re purr-fect just they way they are.

Are you excited for the Neko Atsume movie? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Images: YouTube/AMG Entertainment 

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