Officially, Nuku Nuku's name is Natsume Atsuko. Virtually no-one ever calls her this, and she says her real name is Nuku Nuku. That sounds strange enough, but consider this - the name Nuku Nuku means something like 'Snuggly Wuggly.' It also has an echo of 'neko,' the Japanese word for cat. Isn't that just cute enough to rot your teeth? *^.^*

Nuku Nuku has another name, to which she responds equally readily - NK-1124. This is really her serial number from Mishima Heavy Industries, where her robot mainframe was constructed. What makes Nuku Nuku special from a technological point of view is that she has the brain of a cat - presumably significantly augmented by some kind of neural net doohickey. Hence her, uh, interesting mannerisms.

In terms of personality, Nuku Nuku is basically a sweet, perky, curious, friendly kitten. She is very protective of Ryunosuke (her designated function is big sister and bodyguard) and looks up to Kyusaku as her 'papa-san.' Despite the vexed situation between Kyusaku and Akiko, she accepts Akiko as family and loves her as 'mama-san.' Although Nuku Nuku would really like to be friends with everyone she meets, she can fight like a tiger when necessary. It's just that she tends to see most fights as a game.

Nuku Nuku is someone who enjoys life 100%. She likes bike-riding (which she does like a bat out of hell), all sorts of sports, and playing in the water, although she can't swim without special equipment, because her robot body won't float. Her main hobby, though, is basking in the sun.

Her favourite thing to eat is mackerel and horsemeat catfood, but she also likes grilled sardines, taiyaki pancakes (shaped like fish *^.^*) and Kentucky Fried Chicken. She's a good cook, too.

Despite appearing scatterbrained sometimes, and not always knowing the 'normal' way to behave in a situation, Nuku Nuku can be very efficient when necessary. She was a competent and charming waitress (until the restaurant, through no fault of her own, blew up) and cheerfully and deftly organises Kyusaku and Ryunosuke through their daily routine - although even she can't get Kyusaku to go to bed when he's feeling inspired.

Because Nuku Nuku is so goshdarn adorable, with a figure of the kind that causes construction workers to fall off their scaffolding, she attracts a lot of attention from the men she meets - attention to which she appears almost entirely oblivious. She's very innocent, and a lot of the comedy of the show comes from how foolishly these smitten guys behave around her. If anyone ever did get too fresh with her, she would be entirely capable of putting a stop to it.

Nuku Nuku's long-term goal is the same as that of many robots and androids in fiction: in the words of Edward Furlong in T2: Judgement Day, 'to be more human, and not such a dork all the time.' She doesn't always manage it, but even her screw-ups are more endearing than dorky.

Cute detail: Nuku Nuku wears a cat collar, with a bell on it, as a bracelet. I recently saw a picture in a magazine of Mick Jagger's daughter Jade wearing cat collars this way at a fashion show. I hope it's going to catch on in a big way!

Lovable and loving, powerful and gentle, a cross between Hello Kitty and the Terminator's little sister: that's Nuku Nuku!

Omake for Otaku

Nuku Nuku's voice actress is Hayashibara Megumi, a remarkably talented and versatile woman who has brought to life such characters as Ayanami Rei in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Lina Inverse in Slayers and Ranma-chan in Ranma 1/2. The other really cool thing about Megumi is that she had (still has?) a radio show called Tokyo Boogie Nights. And my cat is named after her. I just wanted to air that! *^.^*

If you aren't already convinced that she's the coolest person in the world next to Sarah Michelle Gellar, she was the original voice of Musashi in Pokémon - English-speakers may know her better as Jessie of Team Rocket. Of course her voice got dubbed over for that character, but you can still hear her doing the 'Pijooo!' scream for Pidgeotto.

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