Visual novels are what I do, man. They come in, I read them, I write them up, Popzara is enriched, the world keeps turning and one day the sun explodes and we’re all space dust. Today we’re talking about Nekopara Vol. 0, a prequel to 2014’s Nekopara Vol. 1, a game about catgirls working at a bakery and vexing the proprietor. We’re going to add to the sum of human knowledge today, folks. Let’s indulge.
We don’t have a review of Nekopara Vol. 1 here on Popzara, but don’t fret – I’m here to help with a quick executive summary: protagonist Kashou Minaduki opens a bakery but is sidetracked a bit when he finds that a pair of catgirls from his family’s home have mailed themselves to work as his assistant. The catgirls, Chocola and Vanilla, cause the expected degree of anime nonsense and fanservice as they do their best to “help” Kashou.
Vol. 0 is a prologue taking place while Kashou was still living at home before the whole bakery thing, so the focus is entirely on the cats. If you’re familiar with harem anime at all, you know exactly what to expect and whether or not you’d appreciate this game, so, uh…enjoy! The catgirls fawn over Kashou and do the usual anime catgirl nonsense, including allowing you to pet them. They’re cats, after all. It’s completely innocent. Right.
This isn’t an especially involving visual novel and appears to be intended largely to hold over hardcore fans of the original until Vol. 2 is finished and released. Don’t expect any intense emotional involvement, as much like the first this is a comedy. You also shouldn’t expect any wild diverging paths as it’s a kinetic novel and thus you’re dragged along the rails to the same ending as everyone else.
The presentation is essentially identical to Vol. 1, which includes slightly animated character art that reminded me a bit of style in recent Disgaea titles. It’s not exactly a graphic novel or anything, but it’s cute and helps set this visual novel apart from the big-eyed, colorful-haired crowd. I’ve seen some reviews say that this is distracting, but I didn’t find it especially bothersome either way.
Anyway, that’s that. Nekopara Vol. 0 is cute, the art is nice and it’s largely devoid of any intellectual content, so it’s a fairly standard harem visual novel. Fans of the original game should drop the cash, people who haven’t played it should do so if the content interests them, people who didn’t care for it can move on. Vol. 2 will probably come out at some point and I get the feeling I’ll say much the same!