Cat Soup: A Surreal and Psychedelic Kitten Adventure

Cat Soup: A Surreal and Psychedelic Kitten Adventure

Cat Soup

Cat Soup is a 2001 short experimental anime film directed by Japanese director Tatsuo Satō. The film follows Nyatta, an anthropomorphic kitten who travels to the land of the dead in an attempt to save his sister’s soul.

This surreal film was inspired by the works of manga artist Nekojiru. Cat Soup was a direct-to-DVD film released in Japan on February 21, 2001. It was released in the United States on September 9, 2003.

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The Plot

Nyatta’s sister, Nyāko, is lying very ill on her bed. While going to the bathroom, Nyatta accidentally drowns in the tub. She is clinically dead and then she sees his sister walking out of the house holding hands with Jizou, which is the Japanese version of  Ksitigarbha.

Nyatta tries to get his sister back but Jizou would not let go. Nyatta manages to split his sister’s soul in half, escaping with this half. Meanwhile, Nyatta is brought back to life by his father. Nyāko dies and Nyatta walks into his sister’s room and places her soul back through her nose.

Nyāko comes back to life but is still semi-catatonic. They both go on an adventure to get Nyāko’s other half-soul back.

The Characters of Cat Soup

The main characters of the film are the siblings, Nyatta and Nyāko who go on a quest to try to retrieve Nyāko’s soul. But they find some other characters on their journey:

  • A penguin-like big bird from the “Big Whale Circus“. This bird causes this huge flood that fills everything and sends the siblings to end up in an Ark-like boat.
  • This pig that Nyatta and Nyāko are in the boat with and they begin to eat.  After God drains the oceans, this pig bites off Nyatta’s arm, which is repaired by this desert man who makes dolls out of other cats’ pieces.
  • A man invites them in their house and offers them food.  After they are full, he tries to turn them into cat soup attacking them with a scissor.  The cats manage to make him fall in the cauldron inside which they cut him in pieces.
  • Father Time restores time after God accidentally made it stop and disrupted space.


The short film received several awards:

  • Excellence Prize (Animation Division) at the 2001 Japanese Media Arts Festival.
  • “Best Short Film” award at the 2001 Fantasia Festival.
  • Silver Award for Animation 2003 New York Exposition of Short Film and Video.

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