Pizza Hut Japan Pizza Cat shop franchise

In Japan, there’s the phrase “neko no te mo karitai” (literally “want to borrow even a cat’s hand”), meaning that you’re so busy, you even want the cat to help. Well, Pizza Hut took this idiom to heart in its new campaign, hiring four rough-and-tumble cats to manage a franchise called Pizza Cat! As you’ll see in the dramatic “movie trailer,” these cats are fired up and can’t wait to rescue people who’re too busy to prepare dinner.

Read on to learn more about the comical and kawaii campaign, and to watch a few of the 15-second promotional videos that reveal what would happen if cats really lent a paw. Plus, if you live in Japan you may even have a chance to win a Pizza Hut hat for cats. So are felines one opposable thumb away from world domination, or are we slowly approaching a utopia in which pets will fetch us pizza? And hey, didn’t Samurai Pizza Cats already get started on both?

▼ The official “movie trailer.” (Translation: An urgent notice from Pizza Hut! For people who even want a cat’s help, this gang has finally arrived in order to deliver delicious pizza ASAP!)

All four employees that you saw above come with full profiles and loaded back stories, as one would expect from Japan (think Sanrio characters and regional mascots). Here’s a brief summary of the colorful kitties!

1. Tenchō, “The Manager”
Pizza Hut Pizza Cat campaign, Tencho

The ringleader is four-year-old Tenchō, who was born in Arakawa Ward, Tokyo to a poor but loving family. As a “teen” he fell in love with Pizza Hut’s “Gochisō (feast) Harmony 4” and knew that he had to be a pizza chef. He recently realized his dream of owning a pizza parlor by opening the Pizza Cat, and now lives with wife Ponzu and their quintuplets.

2. Hime, “Princess”
Pizza Hut Pizza Cat campaign, Hime

Feisty Hime was born to American parents in the shadowy corner of a now-defunct brokerage firm on Wall Street; their meows have quite the New York accent. When she was two years old, she ended up moving to Tokyo due to her owner’s job transfer. One night she got in a fight with a hooligan cat behind a bar in Yotsuya, Shinjuku, but Tenchō happened upon the scene and broke it up. The two became friends and later decided to open up shop. Like Kikuko Inoue and many an idol, she declares that she’s eternally 17 years old (in human years, that is).

3. Dora, “The Layabout” (His name comes from the term dora-neko which in turn comes from dora-musuko, meaning “good-for-nothing idler son” or “profligate son.” Did you catch him yawning at the end of the trailer?)
Pizza Hut Pizza Cat campaign, Dora

My favorite is hungry-eyed Dora, a brazen ruffian who led a wild life on the streets of Ōsaka until he was two years old. Despite his turbulent past, about which he stays quiet, his love of pizza had reached far and wide and this ultimately led to an invitation from Tenchō. Currently 24 human years old, his gruff craftsman-like demeanor often results in claw fights with the other workers; his motto is “Don’t mind me, mind the pizzas.”

4. Detch, The Apprentice/Shop Boy
Pizza Hut Pizza Cat campaign, Dora

Detch was born behind a gas station in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture. A leader of a biker gang called The Cats, he was feared by all delinquent felines in the region. All this changed when he was one year old, after meeting a Pizza Hut delivery man who told him, “I’m carrying happiness as well as pizza on this bike.” At 21 human years old, he started working at Tenchō’s shop so that he could ride the same bike that moved him in his youth; he boasts a zero-accident record and has never been late.

The campaign’s official site along with its YouTube channel include eleven shorts that record the daily goings-on of Tenchō’s franchise. Unexpectedly, these shorts don’t follow the over-the-top mood of the trailer or rely on CGI in order to animate pizza-tossing kitties. Rather, the cats are just being cats and its quiet, mockumentary-like vibe is reminiscent of The Office or a Maru video. Here are some samples!

▼ #1. “Let’s move out, ya bums!”

▼ #4 “Shut up and leave the phones to me!” Do all electronics send cats into a state of euphoria?

▼ #5 “The spreadsheet demon!” This includes classic moves like keyboard-sitting, plant-chewing, and lip-smacking.

▼ #7 “I can’t forgive even a speck of dust, see?” Another classic: pets on Roombas. I’m surprised Detch takes the bumps and turns so well, and is this the secret to mugumogu’s sparkling floors?

▼ #9 “Whenever I see handles it makes me wanna drive. Makes ya laugh, huh?”

▼ #10 “Hey kid, don’t you want change?” Oh, Hime and her electronics.

The website also informs us that if you buy either the “Pizza Cat! Set A” or “Set B” between now and October 26, you can enter to win a kitty hat as seen in the videos. Each pizza is divided into four zones and the recipes are on the fancy side, like Genovese and Avocado Shrimp, but delivery pizza in Japan sure looks pricey! A promotional price of US$21 for a 10-inch specialty pizza (a size medium in Japan is smaller than a US one) and two drinks?

Pizza Hut Japan, Pizza Cat shop franchise campaign, special set menu

In any case, those videos leave me a little worried for the Pizza Cat franchise. We can safely say, though, that Tenchō and the gang seem to lack the drive to do anything as laborious as take over the world. Or, perhaps this campaign is simply proof positive of feline domination? If you have a favorite Japanese pizza flavor or a have had a unique experience at an American-born fast food joint in Asia, let us know in the comments section!

Sources: NariNari, Pizza Cat
Images: Pizza Cat
Videos: YouTube