Home > Asobi ni Iku Yo!, Episode Reviews, First Impressions > Asobi ni Iku Yo! Episode 1 – Catgirls…from Space

Asobi ni Iku Yo! Episode 1 – Catgirls…from Space

Asobi ni Iku Yo! is a show about a scantily-clad, large-breasted catgirl from a highly advanced alien civilization with ridiculous similarities to Earthlings, down to speaking Japanese and calling their planet Earth, too, who came to Earth to do research, and have fun.

And it’s the best new show this season. There, I said it.

Eris is the typical catgirl in every way. She is good-natured, fun-loving and kinda ditzy. In other words, nothing like an actual cat

I don’t even mean that as an insult to this season, which has been pretty uninspiring thus far. Asobi is pretty entertaining. And, much as I wish there was a Tatami Galaxy-level show every season, most of the time you have to settle for shows that are merely a lot of fun to watch, and Asobi completely fits the bill.

Kio Kakazu is your typical anime everyman protagonist, who has a ditzy alien catgirl (appropriately named Eris) come to live with him. Kio lives in Okinawa, the island home most of the U.S. military’s Japanese bases.

You know, it's kind of weird that I can even say a character is a 'typical' catgirl. Sometimes I forget how weird anime really is. Anyway, this is to balance out the close-up of Fumiaki's junk in the Occult Academy review

The American presence in Hokkaido is important, because various forces are aware of Eris’s existence, and want to keep it a secret.

One of them is the CIA, who employs Kio’s next door neighbor, whose daughter desperately wants to be a spy herself. She routinely spies on Kio, given her massive crush on him, so she gets the scoop on Eris and warns the Agency.

Another is the group for a Beautiful Contact, a bunch of militant hard science-fiction nerds from the Internet who are willing to go to any lengths to ensure that mankind’s first contact won’t be with a race of aliens that not even Gene Roddenberry could take seriously. One of Kio’s teachers is a member. Uncoincidentally, she is the teacher who heads up the film club that he belongs to at school.

The Beautiful Contact chat room is very reminiscent of Evangelion's SEELE meetings. Appropriate, since the BC are kind of a parody of them

Finally is an as yet unknown organization who employs Aoi Futaba to pilot a high-tech combat suit that can materialize weapons out of thin air. Aoi, unsurprisingly, is also a member of the film club and, even less surprisingly, has a huge crush on Kio.

This may seem too fortuitous to be coincidental, and it totally is. The thing is, though, Asobi is tongue-in-cheek enough to cop to it. This is a show that does not take itself seriously. It playfully mocks its heavy use of genre tropes and conventions while weaving a tale that abuses them to their full extent for sheer ridiculousness.

The shot lingers here for a couple seconds. Product placement doesn't come more blatant than this

Being self-aware enough to know how silly your premise is isn’t enough to make a show good, though. There are plenty of shows that are well aware of how dumb they are and use that as an excuse to be dull and typical in every other regard. But shockingly, Asobi ni Iku Yo! is good enough to stand on its own.

It starts off with a bang, showing a girl I assume to be Aoi single-handedly attacking a cargo ship full of armed combatants for an as-yet unexplained reason. The action was well-directed, the animation was sharp; it’s certainly not the way you expect a catgirl fan service show to start.

Wait, did Kio just name drop Koyaanisqatsi? And an artsy Japanese documentary? This show was made by serious film nerds

And while there is fan service in Eris’s skimpy outfits and the typical awkward coincidences of these kinds of shows, it’s not the focus of the show and doesn’t appear without serving a joke, even if it’s a bad one. This isn’t a particularly funny episode, but from its slyly self-aware attitude and its goofy premise, there are plenty of opportunities for comedy later.

Really, what seems likely to be the star is the plot. Three organizations fighting over Eris offers plenty of room for intrigue, and the personal connections Kio has with each of them only ups the ante. The characters may be stock for the genre, but they seem to have enough depth to stay interesting. This isn’t a high-brow, serious drama, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as it doesn’t get caught up in the endless asides and ditherings that eventually bogged down the Haruhi Suzumiya series, another, vastly more popular light novel series with a similar premise, there’s enough material there to easily keep a show going for 13 episodes.

Koi is only too happy to let his classmate get picked up by a creepy-looking middle-aged man in a car. Fortunately, Aoi can take care of herself...

Asobi ni Iku Yo! is a show that revels in all the things I usually hate in anime: the half-naked girls, the genre archetypes for characters, the ridiculous contrivances in plot and premise. But its tongue-in-cheek attitude and the sheer amount of attention that has been lavished on every aspect of this show have sold me. It’s silly and over the top in a way that most shows try for, but fall short of.

It’s just goofy fun. And, thanks to the magic of the Internet, I’ve seen the second episode, and it’s even better.

This guy is the personification (felinification?) of Eris's ship, and the requisite cute animal character

The first episode can be seen here.

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