Samurai Pizza Cats

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The Samurai Pizza Cats. From left to right: Polly Ester, Speedy Cerviche and Guido Anchovy

Samurai Pizza Cats is an anime produced in 1990 in Japan by the Sotsu Agency under the name Kyattou Ninden Teyandē (キャッ党忍伝てやんでえ). It was introduced to western audiences in 1991 by Saban. The eponymous stars of the show are three jūjin samurai cats who protect the city of Little Tōkyō from crime while posing as pizza restaurant employees. The series combines action with humour.



The setting of the show is Little Tokyo (Edoropolis in the Japanese version), a town where the traditional meets the futuristic. It is populated by all sorts of jūjin or "animaloids" ("animal androids"), many of whom feature cybernetic body parts.

The ruler of Little Tokyo is supposedly Emperor Fred (Shōgun Tokugawa). Unfortunately, the Emperor is insane due to his wisdom teeth having been removed. Therefore, Little Tokyo is actually ruled by the Emperor's daughter Princess Vi (Usa Hime) and a council. Heading the council is Prime Minister Seymour "Big" Cheese (Kōn no Kami), who constantly tries to overthrow the government and become Emperor of Little Tokyo.

Only Al Dente (Wanko-no-Kami), commander of the Palace Guard, has caught wind of The Big Cheese's underground plans. Having insufficient proof to expose the Big Cheese for what he is, Al Dente's only choice is to prevent his efforts from ever succeeding. To that end he recruits three young cat warriors, the Samurai Pizza Cats (Nyankī, a pun of nyan ("meow") and Yankee). Each one has unique skills and weapons that help them keep the citizens of Little Tōkyō safe from Seymour Cheese's plots, which usually take the form of a giant robot.


The Samurai Pizza Cats

  • Speedy Cerviche (Yattarō): the leader of the Samurai Pizza Cats. As his name implies, Speedy is nimble and fast on his toes, a trait which comes in handy both when delivering pizzas and fighting crime. He wields the magical Ginzu sword, whose power is unleashed in almost every episode as Speedy's special attack, the Cat's Eye Slash. Speedy is very self-confident and loves to pose to the camera after each victory. He wears white armour. "Cerviche" is a different spelling of the world "service", but is pronounced sir-VEE-chay, as "service" would be pronounced as spelled in Italian.
  • Polly Esther (Pururun): Polly is the only girl in the team. Although Speedy is the leader, Polly does her fair share of bossing her teammates around in the pizza restaurant. She has a fiery temper and a dynamic, independent personality. Polly battles evil with the power of love: she plays a flute when going into battle, her projectile weapons are heart-shaped and she can charm foes to make them move in the range of her razor-sharp claws. She wears red/pink armour. Her name is a play on the word polyester.
  • Guido Anchovy (Sukashii): Guido is the resident cool guy and ladies' man. Tall, dark (-furred), handsome and a smooth talker, he is often seen chasing after girls, although he actually has little success in romance. Guido's weapon of choice is the Samurai Sunspot Umbrella which can fire rings, fire a heat beam, be spun to hypnotise bad guys and be used as a club. Its handle conceals Guido's sword. Guido wears blue armour. His name is a reference to the anchovy fish.
  • The New York Pizza Cats: Little Tōkyō is not the only city under the protection of a Pizza Cat team. One episode involved the Samurai Pizza Cats travelling to the city of New York and meeting their counterparts:
    • The Sundance Kid (Michael)
    • Deedee (Madonna)
    • Cosmo (Prince)

Other Good Guys

  • The Narrator: always unseen, the Narrator voiceovers the episodes as well as interacts with the characters. He often makes witty and/or sarcastic comments, many of which spoof plot holes and cliches.
  • Francine (Otama): the cat owner of the Pizza Cat Restaurant. She does not actively participate in missions, but still plays a vital role. Whenever the Samurai Pizza Cats are needed somewhere, either to deliver a pizza or to battle evil, she operates a gun-like launch mechanism which blasts the heroes in the air. She also handles communications, and is known in the English language version for always speaking in rhyme.
  • The Rescue Team (Otasuke Ninja): whenever the Samurai Pizza Cats are in serious trouble they ring the bell on the collar around their necks, alerting Francine to call part or all of The Rescue Team into action. The Rescue Team comprises of four more cats, each with a different ability:
    • General Catton (Rikkinoshin): a play on real life's General Patton, Catton has a pair of flamethrowing cannons on his back. He is the leader of The Rescue Team.
    • Bat Cat (Mietoru): this cat uses a wing and propeller device to become airborne.
    • Meowzma O' Tool (Gotton): this member of The Rescue Team has drills on his gloves, helmet and tail to burrow under the earth.
    • Spritz T. Cat (Nekki): contrary to most cats, Spritz loves the water. He uses high pressure water jets. The "T." stands for "the".
  • Lucille (Omitsu, Omi-chan): a ram and owner of a tea house. The main object of both Speedy's and Guido's affections and only cause of controversy between them. Her hairstyle and shoulderpads conceal lots of homing missiles, which are launched whenever she is emotionally upset.
  • Big Al Dente (Inuyama Wanko-no-Kami): a dog. Chief of the Palace Guard, boss of the Samurai Pizza Cats and assigner of their missions. His name is a reference to the al dente pasta cooking method.
  • Emperor Fred (Shogun Tokugawa Iei Iei): legal ruler of Little Tōkyō. He does not hold any real power because he is insane and believes he is a scat singer. The only word he utters is his own name ("Fuh-RED!")
  • Princess Vi (Usako Hime Tokugawa): full name Violet. The young rabbit daughter of Emperor Fred and unofficial ruler of Little Tōkyō. She is rather spoilt and temperamental and has a tendency to banish all who displease her to Prisoner Island. Later when Prisoner Island becomes too crowded, she banishes people to Extras Island.
  • Momma Mutt and Junior (Itsumono Oya and Ko): a small but constant part of the show, this canine mother and her son appear every time the Samurai Pizza Cats blast off to a mission and make a silly comment.


  • Seymour Cheese (Kitsunezuka Ko'on-no-Kami): more often referred to as The Big Cheese. In the Japanese version he is a fox, but in the English version he identifies himself as a rat. Arch nemesis of Little Tokyo and the Samurai Pizza Cats. He always tries to seize control of the city but is invariably thwarted by the heroes or his own incompetence. He has the bad habit to literally explode with anger every time he is disappointed at his failure, which pretty much happens in every single episode. The Big Cheese is a flamboyant showoff, prone to overacting, crossdressing, and flirting with male subordinates.
  • Bad Bird (Karamaru): a crow. First among The Big Cheese's army of Ninja crows and rival of Speedy. Bad Bird executes most of The Big Cheese's plans.
  • Jerry Atric (Karasu Gennarisai): an elderly crow. The Big Cheese's trusted advisor and leader of the Ninja Crows. His voice of reason counterbalances The Big Cheese's impulsive nature. His name is a play on the word geriatric, which refers to the medicine of old people.
  • The Rude Noise (Yami no Yon Nin Shu): a heavy metal band of four crows that is sometimes hired by The Big Cheese. It is the bad guys' equivalent of The Rescue Team. The Rude Noise is comprised by:
    • Bad Max, AKA Crow Magnon (Zankaa): Leader of The Rude Noise. His name is a play on the prehistoric man of the Cro Magnon caves.
    • Cannonball Battery (Bonkaa)
    • Mojo Rojo (Rekkaa)
    • Rony Guisemore (Uokkaa)


As in almost all cases of anime translation, the product released to the western market was quite different from the original Japanese cartoon. However, the case of the Samurai Pizza Cats dub is special.

First of all, the difference in translation was one born out of necessity. When Saban bought rights to the show, the translators were supplied with the tapes of the series in Japanese, but not with any transcripts. Furthermore, the show was apparently chock full of esoteric Japanese cultural and linguistic references. Under these circumstances, Andy Thomas, the Saban producer, decided to have brand new scripts written to match the animation. As a result, the show ended up being something of a spoof of its own self (much as if it was the target of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode).

Secondarily, Samurai Pizza Cats may be said to be one of the few anime shows whose majority of followers feel that its translation has not been detrimental to its value. The creativitity of the new scripts and the fact that even the lip-synch was modified to match the new lines, together with the show's good-natured silliness and tendency to make fun of itself and others have proven to be popular with viewers.

The Samurai Pizza Cats has been broadcasted in various countries of Europe and America, most notably England, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada and the United States, from 1991 onwards. Of the 54 episodes that were originally produced, 48 were translated and as little as 40 have been shown in some countries due to censorship or other issues.

See also

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