Today, February 22, is National Cat Day in Japan, and it has apparently been so since 1978. The reason? The date 2/22, when pronounced in Japanese, sounds a bit like “nyan nyan nyan”. Kind of. Sort of. As if you (or Japan) needed an excuse.
In celebration of National Cat Day (in Japan), we thought it a fine time to contemplate the best catgirls in all of gaming. So here are some of the best catgirls from the interactive entertainment medium, be they more conventional video game or visual novel.
I feel like someone would almost certainly have my hide if I didn’t include Felicia in here, as she’s one of the most well-known catgirls in all of gaming, perfect to kick off these National Cat Day celebrations.
First appearing in first Darkstalkers game Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (also known as Vampire: The Night Warriors in Japan), Felicia has appeared in every Darkstalkers game to date. She also frequently appears in crossover and spinoff games, including Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. In fact, she only lags behind Morrigan in terms of number of appearances outside the series she originated from.
Fun fact: in the original (somewhat dodgy) English localisation of the first Persona game, the catgirl-type enemy Nekomata was named Felicia, presumably in homage to our girl here.
Faris Nyannyan (Steins;Gate)
Another classic character, although arguably not a “catgirl” in the traditional sense… or is she? Faris is a widely beloved character with good reason; she plays an important role in the narrative of Steins;Gate and, in keeping with each of the series’ characters having their own distinct… quirks, she has plenty of her own interesting little idiosyncracies. She’d also have a lot of time for National Cat Day.
While mostly playing a role for the sake of her job in a moe-themed café, Faris makes use of her “Faris Nyannyan” persona as a means of escaping reality and hiding behind a simplified, more comfortable form of herself. This not only allows her to disengage herself from potentially tricky situations, it also makes her extremely likeable — even if the aspect of her that people are developing affection for isn’t her “real” self.
Oh, she also claims she can see into your heart simply by looking into your eyes. She calls this The Cheshire Break. No wonder she and Okabe get along so well.
Nicole Mimi Tithel (Mana Khemia)
Nikki from Gust’s ninth Atelier game, Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis on PS2, is a great character. Many aspects of her appearance are obviously based on big cats — particularly lions — but a lot of her mannerisms display a somewhat more domestic feline nature, making her a worthy companion for any National Cat Day celebrations.
In other words, she’s lazy, she enjoys positive attention and adoration when she’s good and ready for it, and when she sets her mind to something, she can be highly motivated and determined — even if her motivation can sometimes stem from selfishness.
In the world of Mana Khemia, the race of “beast people” to which Nikki belongs are fully integrated into society rather than being used as an allegory for real-world racism. Instead, exploring Nikki’s personal narrative provides us an opportunity to explore another culture that is a little different from what we might consider “the norm” — particularly when it comes to the matter of choosing a mate!
Y’shtola Rhul (Final Fantasy XIV)
Something of a contrast to the other characters on this list, Y’shtola is a character who just happens to be a catgirl — or more accurately, a member of the proud Miqo’te race — rather than someone who makes “being a catgirl” a core part of her identity. Consequently, don’t expect any cat puns or “nya nya nya” out of Y’shtola’s mouth — in fact, should you suggest such a thing, you can expect to find yourself on the end of a withering look and a pithy remark. I somehow doubt she celebrates National Cat Day, either.
Y’shtola is a character who has been present in Final Fantasy XIV since the very beginning of the now-defunct 1.0 incarnation of the game, and has been a consistently popular character with fans. She is commonly used as the “representative” character of Final Fantasy XIV when appearing in other works — notably, she has appeared in numerous spinoffs including Final Fantasy Dissidia NT, Final Fantasy Opera Omnia, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call and plenty more besides.
She’s also changed appearance quite a bit over the course of Final Fantasy XIV’s complete narrative — but as for the reasons why? Well, those who know, know; I’ll leave the rest of you in the dark for now.
Honestly, I could put any character from Nekopara here and probably start a fairly serious altercation with someone, so I’m going to go with my personal favourite Maple. It is, after all, National Cat Day, a time for love and peace, not blazing arguments.
Maple is a polite, refined catgirl who enjoys the finer things in life and doesn’t so much believe herself to be better than everyone else as she simply proves it repeatedly. She’s the one who tends to be able to stay in control in stressful situations; she is the one who can usually keep her feline tendencies most under control; she’s the one who often has words of wisdom to share with her peers and protagonist Kashou.
On top of that, she’s a gifted singer — her rendition of Grandfather’s Clock in Nekopara vol. 3 can make a grown man cry in less than ten seconds — and devastatingly attractive. What more could you want from a catgirl?
There are plenty more catgirls out there, and we love them all. Who are some of your favourites? Celebrate National Cat Day with us by letting us know in the comments, or via the usual social channels below!
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