Sunday, February 06, 2011

Lazy Sunday # 157: Cat Shit One


On a day when the primary theme of television will be the King Kong vs. Godzilla clash between macho football titans named after muscular professions (Steel Making and Meat Packing) their respective home towns don't do so much of anymore -- why should mercenary bunny rabbits seem out of place?

About a year ago, this weird little snippet of animation entitled "Cat Shit One" appeared around the web, featuring said mercenary bunnies in a Middle East setting, doing -- well who knows what, because the whole thing was in Japanese.

Many dismissed it as another whack-job Japanese imitation of American memes that end up getting lost in translation. But within the two minute trailer there were also indications of heart and humanity which combined with an obviously very professional animation style suggested it might be something more.

"Cat Shit One" first appeared in 1998 as a Manga comic book. It followed the adventures of three American grunts in Vietnam named Botasky, Packy and Rats. Like all the other Americans in the story, they were depicted as rabbits. Other nationalities were represented in other animal forms. The Vietnamese were cats, the French were pigs and the Chinese were Pandas.

Like Art Spiegelman's "Maus", the only comic book to ever win a Pulitzer prize, "Cat Shit One" used its animal creatures to access truths we humans tend to clutter with our pre and misconceptions of other nationalities.

And now "Cat Shit One" has made the transition from comic book to animated series as well as from Japanese to English. And in an attempt to reach a wider audience, it has been updated from the Vietnam conflict and was released online yesterday, in the hope that those seeing it will want to own the DVD version.

It's a high quality and attractive piece of work, well worth a half hour of your time. Those mercenary bunnies really do manage to burrow under your skin.

Blue Ray DVD is available here. Episode One is offered for your viewing pleasure below.

Enjoy your Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, Jim, but although the animation and direction are great, it looks like an overlong video game with little plot or character development.

DMc said...

Yes, Jim, like most of the examples that get used for these sorts of things, this isn't actually a "wide appeal" TV thing. If you go to the website or Amazon it's all sorts of geek boys loving the fact that the weapons and suppressors and such are all really accurate.

The story is very slight. It still seems like most webseries projects -- to me -- are stuff that are narrow appeal and fetishistic like video games -- for Micro audiences like The Guild, or wannabe TV projects that would be better on TV.

The YouTube star phenomenon -- where you do short vids on the cheap for advertising partnerships and hits, and complete it with vlogs and stuff to give you a "personal" audience...still seems to be to be the only true internet model to have emerged -- and even that isn't making anybody rich. It's more like subsistence farming.

Blazing Cat Fur said...

I like it cause it has the word "cat" in the title.

Anonymous said...

I tried watching this clip and the first episode of the show (it's available online on most of the anime stream sites). I couldn't get past the cute rabbit characters for the Americans and the generic camels for the Iraqis.

At first bite it tasted like American (by way of Japan) propaganda. War is hell and it is complicated, and you can describe it with cute characters but it should be done equally and with integrity and honesty. I got no sense that any of this was contained in this show, so I passed.

However, that said, perhaps it gets better and more honest, but it certainly doesn't look that way at the moment. Though I'd be happy to discover later that I was wrong and reconsider this show.


Blazing Cat Fur said...

I would like it much less if it had "camel" in the title.