Image source: TVアニメ「ノラと皇女と野良猫ハート」 on Twitter

Think for a moment about the worst possible giant robot team you could possibly imagine. How ridiculous would it have to be? Continuing in its established tradition of absurd parody, Nora, Princess, and Stray Cat sets out to answer this question with hilariously unreliable characters and entirely useless robot designs.

Nora, Princess, and Stray Cat is a short-form absurdist comedy series based on visual novel game by developer Harukaze. The nominal premise is that Patricia, a princess from the underworld, has come to the surface to learn about humans. Instead she ends up at a high school with very abnormal students and turns a male classmate into a cat. While everyone is supposed to be helping to change him back, honestly, no one really cares to do so.

Image source: TVアニメ「ノラと皇女と野良猫ハート」 on Twitter

Instead, every episode is another independent absurd adventure. Examples include tank wars on the beach, a quiz show that makes SNL Celebrity Jeopardy seem full of smart contestants, and an entire episode of live-action goats. Yes, goats. Given the short-form nature of the series (each episode is only a few minutes in length), Nora, Princess, and Stray Cat jumps into each episode premise immediately with no explanation or exposition. We’re on our own and at the mercy of the insanity of the characters.

When Anime Becomes Live-Action Goats

In the most recent episode, we come upon the scene of a Godzilla-like monster destroying the city (presumably Tokyo). Patricia stands tall leading her classmates into battle. We come in just as she is asking the girls to “fuse” with her to form a giant robot that will take down the invader. Unfortunately, while the fusion happens via Patrica’s demigoddess magic, all of the girls on the team have to think strongly in their minds about forming a formidable robot.

It doesn’t work out.

Image source: TVアニメ「ノラと皇女と野良猫ハート」 on Twitter

A continuous source of amusement in the series is the previously mentioned fact that none of Patricia’s classmates are normal. Most of them are not only incredibly quirky, they also have short attention spans, weird ideas, or are… let’s say… less than intelligent. As I’ve previously said, whatever Patricia is learning from her peers, it won’t help her out in the wider human world.

So as you can imagine, someone’s going to screw up Patricia’s fusion magic. And indeed, it is the red haired Asuhara Yuuki. Although many high schools have regulations against it, it’s common for teens to have part-time jobs, and Asuhara tends to think about work at very inopportune times. This is something of an issue when all of the girls must think together to create something worthy of the long tradition of awesome giant robots.

In the middle of fusion, she can only think about convenience store clerks, and so, Patricia’s magic ends up producing a robot in the shape of a—you guessed it—convenience store clerk. It is quickly destroyed by the monster, who seems, at best vaguely bored by the attempt to counter it. Patricia, annoyed that her magic was wasted, and apparently running low on power, admonishes the team to do better. Asuhara promises she will.

Image source: TVアニメ「ノラと皇女と野良猫ハート」 on Twitter

Of course, Asuhara fails spectacularly, instead immediately going into a monologue about the difficulties of dealing with cell phone stores. This produces a giant robot in the form of–yes, yes, you guessed correctly again–a cell phone store associate. Sensing the weakness, the monster charges with a giant cell phone, taking on the form of a “monster customer” everyone who has ever worked in retail hates and fears. In true Japanese tradition, the monster is defeated only when the team has activates the robot’s hospitality and service protocol, apologizing profusely to the monster until it explodes.

Nora, Princess and Stray Cat is easily my favorite comedy series of the season. It’s short enough that the parodies and jokes maintain their comedic punchlines. Ideally suited to the short-form, because any longer and the concepts would be less funny, because they’d drag on too long. Absurdist comedy, served in short piping-hot bursts.

Nora, Princess, and Stray Cat can be seen on Crunchyroll.

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