Samurai Pizza Cats
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|Samurai Pizza Cats|
Saban's Samurai Pizza Cats logo.
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kunitoshi Okajima|
|Produced by||Ippei Kuri|
|Music by||Kenji Kawai|
|Licensed by||Saban (1991-2002), Discotek Media (2012-present)|
|Original run||February 1, 1990 – February 12, 1991|
Samurai Pizza Cats is an anime series produced by Saban as an English dub of the series Kyatto Ninden Teyandee, produced by Tatsunoko Productions and Sotsu Agency. Saban picking up the North American rights to the series, which originally aired in Japan on TV Tokyo from February 1, 1990 to February 12, 1991, for a total of 54 episodes in 1991, and produced an English dub that became a cult hit among anime fans due to its rapid-fire pop culture references and more farcical nature.
Saban's rights to the series expired in 2002. Discotek Media currently holds the North American home video license to the series.
The series is set in the mechanical city of Little Tokyo, a mechanical city which fuses feudal Japanese culture with contemporary culture, and is populated by cybernetic anthropomorphic animal androids. The city is notionally led by Emperor Fred, but as he is a doddering eccentric, the city's actual leadership lies in the hands of his daughter Princess Violet and a council headed by the ambitious prime minister Seymour "The Big" Cheese, a fox who constantly plots to overthrow the Emperor with the help of his trusted advisor Jerry Atric, and Bad Bird, the leader of an army of ninja crows.
Unknown to the prime minister, council member Big Al Dente, the commander of the Palace Guard, learns of his designs on leadership, but is unable to prosecute him for treason because of the plausible deniability he maintains. Instead, Al Dente enlists the services of Speedy Cerviche (Yattaro), Polly Esther (Pururun) and Guido Anchovy (Sukashii), three cyborg cat samurais who work in the city's pizzeria, along with their operator Francine. Known collectively as the Samurai Pizza Cats, they are assigned to stop Big Cheese and his evil henchmen's plans to take over Little Tokyo.
The theme song for the English dub naturally differs from the original, a common practice for dubbing at the time. In keeping with the parodic nature of the show, the lyrics of the new theme song make a number of references to American pop culture. For example, the line "they've got more fur than any turtle ever had" references the similarly themed cartoon series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while the line "they're stronger than old cheese, stronger than dirt" refers to an advertising slogan once used for the industrial cleaner Ajax. The theme song also contains the line "As soon as someone finds the script, we might begin the show", which can be interpreted as a reference to the lack of proper translations given to Saban for production on the American version.
Michael Airington, a writer for the series, also sang the theme song (in an impersonated Paul Lynde voice), being credited as "Singing Sensation: Googie Gomez". According to Andy Thomas, Airington had a few drinks before the recording session for the song started, and as a result, accidentally stuttered on one line ("this cat gets down down with a love hangover"). The mistake was left in the final version of the theme.
When Saban licensed the series, proper translations of the original Japanese episodes were either of poor quality or non-existent, so it was decided to write completely original dialogue for the English dub, playing the show as a wacky, Animaniacs-esque comedy in contrast to the less farcical original version.
Of the 54 episodes that were originally produced in Japan, 52 were translated into English. The two untranslated episodes were clip shows that did little to further the series' plot.
Some episodes of the dubbed version were never aired in the United States for censorship reasons.
Samurai Pizza Cats has been broadcast in Australia and New Zealand, as well as various countries in Africa, Eurasia and the Americas, most notably the United Kingdom, India, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Poland, Greece, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Chile, Peru, Panama, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, Israel, Kenya, South Africa, Sweden, Armenia, and the United States, from 1991 onwards.
Video release 
Discotek Media is releasing the Japanese original under the name "Kyatto-Ninden Teyandee" on April 30th and the Saban dub is set for release on July 30th 2013.
Video game 
In 1991, Tecmo published a video game based on the original Japanese version, Kyattou Ninden Teyandee, for the Famicom. It was released as a Japanese-only release, but was bootlegged outside Japan under the title Ninja Cat. Players take the role of the three main cats and otasuke (Rescue Team) members, of whom can be switched to at any time and have their own special abilities to progress through the game. The game features most of the characters in the series as well as an additional villain, a mysterious scientist named Dr. Purple (Dr. パープ) who shows up later on in the game and appears to ally with Ko'on-no-kami (the Big Cheese). The creators of the TV series stated that Dr. Purple was going to appear in a new season of the show and was meant to replace Ko'on-no-Kami as the new main villain. It was supposed to happened after Ko'on-no-Kami and Karasu Gennarisai left Edoropolis after the comet incident (episodes 52-53). However, it never happened since the show only ran for one season and was cancelled soon after. Although the game was never officially released in the West, three complete English translations are available via a fan-made ROM patch. A standalone handheld LSI game (similar to Nintendo's Game&Watch) was also made.
The main characters of the series were also intended at one point to appear in the Wii fighting game Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars. The game's producer, Ryota Niitsuma was quoted in an interview as saying, "One of the main anime we got more requests for than any others was Samurai Pizza Cats... I wanted to see that, but we couldn't reach an agreement."
- Action figures for the Samurai Pizza Cats and the Rescue Team. The Japanese originals came as model kits comparable to today's Gundam toys, while the European figures came pre-assembled.
- Both large and small (Gachapon-sized), rubber-like figures.
- Playsets for the smaller figures, including the Great Catatonic and the pizza parlor.
See also 
- Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia. California: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 1-933330-10-4.
- Cats Legend Teyandee
- Chipman, Bob. "Found in Translation". Escapist Magazine. The Big Picture. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- Kyatto Ninden Teyandee (NES)
- Samurai Pizza Cats NES game translation patch
- "Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Producer Niitsuma Discusses Characters". Anime News Network. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
- "The Lost Characters of Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom". Kotaku. Retrieved 1 April 2012.