Neko Rahmen (猫ラーメン Neko Rāmen?), also known as Neko Ramen, is a Japanese four-panel comic strip manga created by Kenji Sonishi. The comedy centers around a cat (Taishō) and his encounters while running a ramen shop.
The yonkoma series has been adapted into a TV flash anime produced by Think Corporation, with 26 episodes to date. The original yonkoma is still being published in the monthly Japanese manga magazine Monthly Comic Blade. Neko Rahmen was the most watched short animation series on Yahoo! Japan official streaming site in August 2007.
The series is also noted for being the first anime series to be licensed exclusively by a US IPTV company, Vuze, and made available as a free download without digital restrictions. Vuze also subtitled the first 13-episode season of the series into English. Director Minoru Kawasaki ("The Calamari Wrestler," "Executive Koala," "Crab Goalkeeper") has completed filming of a live-action adaptation for Tornado Film titled "Neko Ramen Taishō," that utilizes both real cats and plush puppets.
- Taishō, voiced by Rie Nakagawa
Taishō (大将?, "boss" or "chief") is the entrepreneurial ramen chef and sole proprietor of Neko Rahmen, the only restaurant in Tokyo run by a cat. His primary goal is to make money and expand his ramen business, with a secondary plan of customer satisfaction, or at least entertainment. He was a former kitten model, who ran away from home and had a hard life on the streets before being saved by kind ramen shop owner who later served as Taishō's mentor. He takes pride in his noodles and is easily angered when customers are dissatisfied. Taisho also has a medical license and a driver's license. He and his family seem to be the only cats in the series who actually can talk.
- Kōichi Tanaka, voiced by Atsushi Yamada
Kōichi Tanaka (田中康一 Tanaka Kōichi?), who usually goes by as Tanaka (田中さん Tanaka-san?), is a young Japanese business man who is the only regular customer at Neko Rahmen, despite rarely receiving a decent meal. Tanaka plays the straight man to the easily excitable and scheming Taishō. He is extremely diplomatic and polite, but will try to intervene to soothe Taishō when he gets agitated.
A "youngster" hired by Taisho to help him run his shop. As she is a cat, she usually will be sleeping instead of working.
A kleptomaniac bum who worked for Taisho. Taisho seems oblivious to when Shige-chan steals from the register or from customers.
- Taisho's father
A successful kitten model drawn with very wide cute eyes and a bow on one of his ears. He tried to make Taisho follow in his footsteps, but seems to accept his son's ramen shop. Because of his cuteness, Tanaka first thought he was a girl.
- Mariko (まりこ?)
Tanaka's girlfriend. She finds Taisho amusing, and continually ticks him off with innocent comments like being a dog person or seeing ramen as hobo food.
- ↑ Vuze Inks Exclusive Distribution Rights for Popular Anime Series Never Before Available Outside Japan(BusinessWire):(2007-12-10)
- ↑ Vuze Debuts English-Subbed Neko Rahmen via Download(AnimeNews):(2007-12-07)