Komaneko: A Cat Who Loves to Animate

Posted by Rebekah Cook on

Say "Hello" to a clever Kitty in this sweet, impeccably animated film-within-a-film by director Tsuneo Gōda.

Stop motion is produced frame by frame. "Koma" is Japanese for "frame," and "neko" means "cat." Hence the name "Komaneko." First released back in 2006, Komaneko: The First Step was a finalist at the Melbourne International Animation Festival, the London International Animation Festival, and the 8th Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival.

Komaneko - First Step

This creative, curious cat appeals to all ages. It's an adorable change from reenacted battle scenes and brick landscapes, but don't let the cuteness fool you: this animation series has it's own set of complexities. The film's notable following is further cultivated by it's own wonderfully interactive kid's app, where young fans can personalize stories, solve puzzles and games, and even create their own simple animations with the characters.

Komaneko herself is impressively expressive. Her twitching ears, lidded eyes, movable mouth, and exquisite eyebrows work together to communicate the exact mood and imply each thought without a single word. The designed contrast between Komaneko and her puppet creations, the personality exuding from her human-like postures, and the glistening tears of frustrated ambitions help us relate to her animating troubles. (All animators will be familiar with her dilemma at 1:28)!

Good storytelling like this makes us care about the characters, and want to see more. Fortunately, there's more where this came from! You can check out other Komaneko shorts on radibo's Youtube channel. Here is another of our favorites:

Komaneko - Koma and Radibo 

(If you're wondering why you hear "Nyan" said so often, this is what cats say in Japan, instead of "Meow").

Finally, it's worth noting that the creator of Komaneko (Tsuneo Gōda) is also the director of stop motion films featuring Domo, that brown furry monster who looks somewhat like a mailbox with teeth. Maybe you've seen him somewhere!