February 22 is Neko no hi or Day of the Cat in Japan. The Japan Pet Food Association founded this day. In Japanese the number ‘2’ is pronounced as ‘ni’ and the 22th of the second month can be written as 222, which made the Pet Food association think ‘hey, 222 sounds like nyan nyan nyan, just like a cat’s meow, so let’s name the day Neko no Hi! On this day the Pet Food Association even release the 10 most popular cats and so far the winner is the ‘Neko Bus’ from the My Friend Totoro anime movie by Studio Gibli.
Cats are taken very seriously in Japan and there is even a Neko Jinja (Cat’s shrine) in Kagoshima where Shinto priests can pray for a pet’s health, longevity and happiness on February 22.
Special events are held all over Japan this day to honor every one’s favourite feline. In a land where there are cat cafés, cat shrines and even a cat island, such events must each be a sight to see.
Cats are often characters in anime series too. Like the Neko Bus in My Friend Totoro there are also cats and cat-like beings in anime series like Ranma ½ (Shampoo), Sailor Moon Crystal (Luna and Artemis), Soul Eater (Blair), Fairy Tail (Carla and Happy), Digimon (Gatoman), Dragon Ball (Korin), Trigun (Kuroneko) and also in movies like The Cat King in The Cat Returns.
So do you have a favourite cat or catlike being in an anime?
Here is a nice trailer of ‘The Cat Returns’ by Studio Gibli: http://goo.gl/VVa1eO