Based on the Japanese anime Kyatto Ninden Teyandee, Samurai Pizza Cats is one of those shows that simply oozes with totally rad 90s energy. A show about a trio of cyber-enhanced cats that fight to protect the futuristic city of Little Tokyo, as they deal with the ins and outs of cartoonishly incompetent politics.
When it was first brought to America, Samurai Pizza Cats took some liberties adapting the story of its source material. Now that revivals of all sorts of old TV shows are in vogue, it seems like the time might be right to bring these cats back for another ride – this time, however, in live-action.
Maybe it’s time for a Samurai Pizza Cats movie.
Saban and its Franchises
Back in the 90s, anime was still considered a very niche form of media. Before One Piece and Naruto took America by storm, the complexities of anime storytelling weren’t as widely appreciated as they’re now. That’s why Saban Entertainment decided to change some elements from Kyatto Ninden Teyandee and turn it into the Samurai Pizza Cats we know and love.
Perhaps most importantly, the original show – produced by Tatsunoko Productions – took itself more seriously. It was a comedy, sure, but it wasn’t as absurd as its American counterpart. Thanks in part to the copious amount of pop-culture references, and the popularity of shows like Animaniacs, Samurai Pizza Cats proved to be a huge success with younger demographics.
The name “Saban Entertainment” is key to understanding why a Samurai Pizza Cats live-action film makes sense. While Saban, as a company, was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2002, it’s safe to say that it became one of the most prominent entertainment companies in the 90s.
Saban produced the American versions of Big Bad Beetleborgs, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and Samurai Pizza Cats. Considering that Power Rangers, one of their leading franchises, already got the feature film treatment in recent years, there’s no reason to not give Samurai Pizza Cats the same chance.
Rise of the CGI Partners
Recently, there’s been a curious rise in the popularity of a certain movie subgenre – we’re talking, of course, of films where some live-action lead interacts with a CGI partner. Detective Pikachu took the first steps, and 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog perfected the formula.
A movie where the Pizza Cats find themselves in our world would be a safe way to make a family-friendly movie that both millennials and younger audiences can enjoy. Even then, we can’t deny the possibility that, given the cartoonish nature of the Pizza Cats, they could be better used in a high-budget animated Illumination film.
As the release of the Super Mario movie draws closer, we might see an uptick in the popularity of CGI animated films, even if they come from the same guys who made The Minions. Coincidentally, Saban also owned the rights to the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, so there’s some precedent as far as licenses go.
Perhaps the strongest reason to bring the Pizza Cats to the silver screen has to do with the status of one of their closest rivals: a certain team who’s also been known to consume inhuman amounts of Italian food.
It’s no secret that the Samurai Pizza Cats American show rose as a direct competitor to the huge popularity of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Seeing as the turtles have already made it to the big screen at least five times, we say it’s high time we give the other pizza-eating 90s anthropomorphic animal squad a chance. After all, cats are much more popular than turtles anyways.