Samurai Pizza Cats
"A fully functioning, cybernetic, technologically advanced team of superheroes... and nobody's got a flashlight?"
Samurai Pizza Cats is The English dub of Kyattou Ninden Teyandee (キャッ党 忍伝 てやんでえ, "Cat Ninja Legend, What Are You Talking About"), licensed by Saban Entertainment, who didn't manage to get transcripts of the original anime dialog (or just horribly translated scripts, according to the writer). As such, the writers had to make up stories and dialog out of whole cloth. It seems to have worked fairly well, all things considered. The show pretty much got turned into a really well-written Gag Dub, and the series is actually better known around the world as "Samurai Pizza Cats" than the original source.
As for the plot: the eponymous Cats are the owners/employees of a pizza parlor, who defend their city and the royal family (pushy, spoiled Princess Violet [Usa-Hime], and her demented father, Emperor Fred [Shogun Tokugawa Iei-Iei]) from the machinations of the villainous Big Cheese (Kon-no-Kami). Between the giant robots, the ninja crows and the, um, peculiarities of their emperor, this is both harder than it sounds and easier than it ought to be.
While the plots can be a bit formulaic, most of the show's appeal comes from the humor and the lame puns (some main characters being Speedy Cerviche [Yattarou], Guido Anchovy [Sukashii], Polly Esther [Pururun] and "Big" Al Dente [Wanko-no-Kami]), and an astounding number of running gags.
The show is notable for being perhaps the only heavily edited, rewritten and hacked-up anime dub which international fans actually prefer to the original. While the original show also took a light-hearted and goofy approach to its action show format, the English Pizza Cats is chock full of sly references, shameless puns, rapid-fire sardonic humor, and a total refusal to so much as acknowledge the fourth wall.
Despite what you may have heard, it is not a lame Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rip off, but a decent cartoon that can stand on its own merits. (It was, however, licensed as part of a TMNT Follow the Leader movement.) To quote the theme song, 'These 'Cats have more fur than any Turtle ever had!'
There's a character sheet if anyone is interested.
- Absolute Cleavage: Polly and Francine in their fur bikinis.
- Accidental Kiss: Speedy when he accidentally crashes in Seymour Big Cheese. This was also Speedy's first kiss.
- Achilles in His Tent: The Episode "No Talent Guido."
- Action Girl: Polly Esther and Dee Dee. Francine and Lucille had their moments of this.
- Adorable Evil Minions: The Ninja Crows.
- Aerith and Bob: Speedy Cerviche, Polly Esther, Guido Anchovy, and...Francine?
- The Alcatraz: Prisoner Island Which happens to be a tropical paradise resort.
- All for Nothing: Happens in episode 53 of the Japanese series. After Yattarou and Karamaru return safely after destroying the comet that would have wiped out Edoropolis, Omitsu is so happy to see Yattarou alive that she lets out a mega huge missile, blowing up Edoropolis in the process (ironically, the missile is labelled "Omitsu is so happy ~ !!") The townspeople are seen rebuilding it in the end of the episode, however, but still.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese theme song differs greatly from the English version.
- An Asskicking Christmas: "The Cheese Who Stole Christmas".
- Angst Nuke: Lucille and her missiles.
- Animal Superheroes
- Animated Actors
- Asskicking Pose
- The Bad Guy Wins: Several, most notably "The Pizza Cats Are Only Human" and "Bad Bird Uncaged".
- Barefoot Cartoon Animals
- Baseball Episode: "Field of Screwballs".
- Beach Episode: "The Terror of Prisoner Island". Turns out Prisoner Island isn't nearly so scary.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Never make Lucille angry or upset if you know what's good for you.
- Big Applesauce: When they go to visit their American Counterparts.
- Big Bad: The Big Cheese.
- Boss Subtitles: The Monster of the Week's name is shown in the Japanese version.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Princess Vi.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: This is almost a guarantee in every episode.
- Casual Danger Dialog: This happens a lot.
- Camp Gay: The Big Cheese, naturally.
- Canon Foreigner: Introduced first in the NES game based on the series, Dr. Purple never made it to the actual show, despite the fact that he is still at large by the end of the game.
- Catch Phrase: "Teyandee!" for Yattarou/Speedy. He says it out of frustration or determination.
- Chewing the Scenery: Big Cheese during the Clip Show. According to Jerry Atric, he even swallows it!
- Chick Magnet: Guido
- Christmas Episode
- The City: Little Tokyo (Edoropolis in the original Japanese version, which is supposed to combine the old term for Tokyo, "Edo", with the suffix "-polis", which is usually a modern term to show that something is big. The Theme Song references this: "A time of the past!/A time of the future!").
- Clark Kenting: To the extent that none of the bad guys can see that their main enemies work at a pizza place even though they wear the same helmets.
- Comet of Doom: The big threat of the series finale.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Emperor Fred.
- Cock Fight: Speedy and Guido have been known to fight over who gets to date Lucille.
- The Commissioner Gordon: "Big" Al Dente.
- Cool Old Guy: Jerry Atric.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
- Cultural Translation: Kyattou Ninden Teyandee was packed with jokes and puns that Japanese viewers got. Those were replaced with American jokes and puns instead.
- Curse Cut Short: In the Fan Club Oath: "So hail to thee, O Pizza Cat/Please ring your little bell/Although you may be pen and ink/We know you'll fight like-" "PIZZA CATS!"
- Cut and Paste Translation: As discussed in the intro, this turned into one due to a lack of useable Japanese scripts.
- Cute Bruiser: Polly.
- Deadpan Snarker: Everyone, but especially Mother Mutt and son.
- Defeat Means Friendship
- Dirty Old Man: Daisensei (Guru Lou) in the original Japanese version, especially towards Pururun (Polly).
- The Ditz: Emperor Fred.
- The Dragon: Bad Bird could easily be considered as Big Cheese's dragon, as his fighting skills rival, and sometimes surpass those of Speedy (and occasionally the whole team). In fact, in the final episode, Bad Bird shows himself to truly be Speedy's superior in combat. He is also the final obstacle before Speedy can destroy the machine pulling the comet towards Little Tokyo. If that's not a dragon, I don't know what is.
- Dub Name Change: All of the characters get Anglicized names. Which seems out of place in a very Japanese setting, but the show is pretty out there anyway.
- Elemental Powers: The Samurai Pizza Cats Rescue Team each represented one of these. Meowzma was earth, General Catton was fire, Bat Cat was wind, and Spritz T. Cat was water.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Dee Dee from the American Pizza Cats proves this. Also Francine.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Subverted, Princess Vi is a spoiled brat and the real power in Little Tokyo.
- Evil Chancellor: The Big Cheese.
- Evil Counterpart: The Rude Noise to the Samurai Pizza Cats Rescue Team.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Bad Bird in the original Japanese version and the Spanish dub, as he gets a much deeper voice than just about everyone else in the cast.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Expository Theme Tune: The theme song says it all.
- Fiery Redhead: Polly Esther and Princess Vi so very much.
- Finishing Move: Speedy's Ginzu Sword attack (or in the original Japanese version, Yattarou's Hissatsu Neko Me Slash attack).
- Five-Man Band:
- The Hero: Speedy
- The Lancer/The Smart Guy: Guido
- The Big Guy/The Chick: Polly
- Fourth Ranger: Francine
- Five-Bad Band: Technically more than 5 bad guys.
- Follow the Leader: Accidental one at that. The approach they used for the new scripts worked so well it went to influence later shows (released for the US market) like Crayon Shin-chan, Lupin III, and even MXC!!.
- Fully Dressed Cartoon Animals
- Funny Animal
- Fur Bikini: Polly and Lucille wore white fuzzy bikinis in an episode. Yet they are already furries.
- Gag Dub: One of the best uses of this trope, by the actual licensee. This would lead to gag dubs of other anime like Digimon, Mon Colle Knights, Flint the Time Detective, Crayon Shin-chan, Lupin III, and MXC!!!!.
- Gatling Good: Lucinda (Honey), Lucille's New York counterpart, has a pop-up minigun in her hairdo.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Several jokes in the show tend to fly over the kids' heads. Example: The rabbit pellet joke by Guido.
- The episode "The Gender Bender Butterflies"...which didn't get past the radar in the US.
- The Big Cheese constantly refers to female characters as hussies
- Plus, y'know, the homosexuality and crossdressing.
- The American Pizza Cats doing their pre-fight intro, and The Vamp-y one calling the villains "bad boys" and saying she'll punish them with her whip in a husky voice.
- After she does in fact, punish a group of Ninja Crows with her whip, the now beaten and wounded crows all look at her with fear, begging her to stop. However, one of them has hearts for eyes. Phew.
- Glasses Girl: Ruby.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: The last line of the Samurai Pizza Cats Oath.
- Heel Face Turn: Bad Bird late in the series. He even changed his name to "Good Bird."
- Heroes Want Redheads: Speedy for Polly and Guido for Ruby.
- Hot Mom: Empress Frieda.
- Hot Springs Episode.
- Humongous Mecha: The Supreme Catatonic.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Several episode titles will have "cat" in them.
- Idol Singer: The Pointless Sisters (aka Mipple in the Japanese version, which is a portmanteau of Omitsu and Pururun).
- Image Song: In the Japanese version, Yattarou, Sukashii, and Karamaru each have one, as does both Pururun and Omitsu (the latter two as Mipple).
- All of them were played in the Japanese version of episode 30 ("No Talent Guido").
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Almost every episode.
- Interspecies Romance: Emperor Fred who's a Panda married Empress Frieda who's a rabbit.
- In the Name of the Moon
- I Will Wait for You: Carla to Bad Bird.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bad Bird. Guido to a lesser extent.
- Karma Houdini: The show's main villains, The Big Cheese and Jerry Atric are still afloat (and not in a parade, like Big Cheese thinks) at the end of the series, although their destination is unknown.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: To date, there is no DVD release for the show, and none appears to be in the works.
- There was a bootleg box set of the first half of the series made available. It's now out of print, although if you're lucky it'll turn up on eBay and Amazon from time to time.
- There was also a super rare VHS "movie" that consisted of the first episode and the last two episodes of the series edited together.
- France has released all the episodes on DVD. Those lucky French bastards.
- As of March 13, 2012 an DVD release of both the english dub and a subbed version of the original Japanese anime is in the works. Later on, Japan is following suit too, but this time as a DVD-Box set with all the episodes and a confirmed release date: August 8, 2012.
- Lampshade Hanging
- Large Ham: Big Cheese in all three dubs. Bad Bird in the Spanish dub.
- Lemony Narrator: This narrator lampshades and talks to the main characters almost as much as Joe.
- In one episode he actually gives the Cats a piece of vital information, because the episode was running long.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Lucille, would-be love interest of Speedy and Guido, would shoot missiles from her head whenever she got emotionally overexcited.
- Karamaru even refers to her as "Missile Girl" in the Japanese version.
- Meganekko: Ruby.
- Mechanical Lifeforms: The show's entire world is populated by robotic anthropomorphic animals (called "Animaloids" in the Japanese version, a portmanteau of "animal" and "android").
- Megaton Punch: Polly does this on friends and foes alike.
- Merchandise-Driven: Character designer Noritaka Suzuki explained on his blog that the protagonists' flight armor forms actually originated from a toy company involved in the show's production.
- Missing Episode: Two, actually. Although the episodes in question are Clip Shows.
- Missing Mom: The reason for Princess Vi's mother not being in the show much is that she's traveling the world to see new cultures. Mainly cultures with good shopping.
- Monster of the Week: Often a giant robot.
- Barring Bad Bird's temporarily power up and the final two, this is every episode.
- Named After Somebody Famous: The New York Pizza Cats' Japanese names are as follows:
- Sundance Kid = Michael, who even does Jackson's dance moves, including his Moonwalk.
Michael (in Gratuitous English): Hey you! Bad! Bad! You are bad!
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot
- No Animals Were Harmed: This appears as a joke in the American credits along with "Spiritual Advisor: Hogan The Wonder Cat."
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dean Hagopian who voiced the The Big Cheese, gave him a voice similar to Paul Lynde.
- The singer of the theme song does a hauntingly accurate impression of Lynde.
- No Fourth Wall: The Cats and the narrator talk to each other, often hanging lampshades on plot points or budget saving animation tricks.
Speedy: I'd do anything for you, Lucille! To other people, you may just be a hand-painted animated character, but you mean a lot more than that to me!
- Palette Swap: The American Pizza Cats' counterpart to Francine is Abigail, who looks just like her except with slightly different coloring.
- Panty Shot: During the transformation sequence.
- Parasol of Doom: Guido's Samurai Sunspot Umbrella.
- Parody: In the Japanese version, of the Super Sentai genre.
- Pizza Cats Can Breathe in Space: At least when in their Super Extra topping Forms.
- And Bad Bird can apparently do this too, even without special armor. Granted, they are "animaloids" in the Japanese version.
- Politeness Judo
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The original scripts weren't shipped along with the animation, so Bandai had to improvise. They improvised very well.
- The Psycho Rangers: The Rude Noise (Yami no Yon Nin Shu). Although given their designs and weapons they're actually Pyschos of the Rescue team.
- The Power of Friendship: The way the Cats were finally able to defeat the upgraded Bad Bird. And how Speedy and Bad Bird were able to defeat the incoming comet.
- Punny Name: Quite a lot of the cast.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Rude Noise again.
- Rapid-Fire Comedy
- Recap Episode: Three of them, "Candid Kitty", "Big Cheese's High-Definition TV", and the Japan-only "Kie! Koon no Kami no Dai Kenkyu (Frightening! Koon no Kami's Big Research)".
- Clip Show: "The Cats Cop Cartoon Careers!"
- Rhymes on a Dime: Francine [Otama], when she launches the Cats from a gun.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Polly, Francine and the Ninja Crows.
- The Rival: Bad Bird
- One of the KNT soundtracks even has a track titled "The Rival" for him.
- Royal Brat: Unfortunately, for the characters of this show, Princess Vi's the real power in the royal family.
- Royally Screwed-Up: The royal family has few screws loose. Except for Emperor Fred. He doesn't have a single screw
- Schizo-Tech: Little Tokyo has a curious mix of robots, high tech armor, and Shogun era Japan. The song even comments on it "Where the past meets the future!"
- Sexy Secretary: Francine.
- She's a Man In Japan: Amazingly subverted. Despite his frequent cross-dressing and flirting with his male henchmen, the Big Cheese retains his gender. In fact, the only thing about him that changes is his species - in the original he's a fox, but the dub makes him a rat.
- Shout-Out: Quite a few actually. They've had several references to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bat Cat is a reference to Batman, General Catton is a reference to the real life General George S. Patton, Spritz the Cat is a reference to Fritz the Cat, and so on.
- Sixth Ranger: The Rescue Team. By the end, also Bad Bird.
- Slices, Dices And Cuts Through Giant Robots!
- Spell My Name with an "S": Speedy Cerviche vs. fanon Speedy Service.
- Spiritual Successor: Arguably, Juuni Senshi Bakuretsu Eto Ranger AKA Twelve Warrior Explosive Eto Rangers, since they share the same character designer. YMMV.
- Spoof Aesop: "Whoever said 'Violence never solved anything'... wasn't a Pizza Cat!"
- Stable Time Loop: The Cats end up traveling back in time in one episode and rescue Big Al, giving him the idea to create the Pizza Cats in the first place.
- Stock Footage Several cases, but most obviously Speedy's Cat's Eye Slash, "Because it's in his contract!"
- Super Mode: Their "Extra Toppings" armor.
- Evil Costume Switch: Bad Bird's Armor of Worc in the two-part episode, "Bad Bird Uncaged", complete with a flute that transforms into a bazooka or a machine gun (the latter which is only seen in the Japanese version).
- Super Robot: The Supreme Catatonic (a.k.a. Nyago King or Nyago Ou in the original Japanese version.)
- Take That: A lyric in the theme song says "They've got more fur than any turtle ever had."
- Also in the first episode "Stop Dragon My Cat Around" there's a mention of a retirement home for aging Ninja Turtles.
- There Was a Door: In one episode Polly gets SO TICKED off she runs right through the wall of the pizza place- even though the door was right across from her!
- They Fight Crime
- Those Two Guys: Mother Mutt and Junior.
- Three Amigos: Speedy Cerviche, Polly Ester, and Guido Anchovy.
- Time Travel
- Expository Title Theme Tune: "Sa-mur-I Piz-za Cats!" "As soon as someone finds the script, we might begin the show!"
- To the Batpole: The top of the pizza parlor is actually a giant revolver, and the ovens are used to load the cats into it.
- Training Montage
Guido: (to Speedy) You may be an ungrateful, self-centered little jerk, but you're still a Samurai Pizza Cat.
- Tsundere: Polly. In one episode she attacks Speedy for surviving what looked like a fatal attack and invalidating all their emotional distress.
- Two Guys and a Girl: The main team of Speedy Cerviche, Guido Anchovy, and Polly Esther of course.
- Two-Timer Date: "Speedy's Double-Time Trick."
- The Vamp: Dee Dee/Madonna, complete with a dominatrix getup (mask and high heels), a whip, and Noblewoman's Laugh.
- Verbal Tic: In the original Japanese version, Yattarou (Speedy) says "Teyandee!" a lot, which becomes his Catch Phrase. Emperor Fred in the English/Spanish dub says "Fred" a lot.
- Villainous Crossdresser: The Big Cheese.
- West Coast Team: The Rescue Team, and the American Team.
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: When the Cats go to Guru Lou to see about getting a giant robot of their own, Guido off-handedly remarks, "If he's such a wise guy, what's he doing working on our stupid show?"
- Who Writes This Crap?: To quote Guido: "What's the matter, did that last joke hurt?"
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Lucille.
- You Are Number Six: In Kyattou Ninden Teyandee, when the Pizza Cats are in their battle gear, Yattarou (Speedy) is known as "Nyanki #1", Sukashii (Guido) is known as "Nyanki #2", and Pururun (Polly) is known as "Nyanki #3".
- You Can Say That Again[context?]