Collect all five and create your own “Nyanko Museum!”

These days, the capsule toy industry puts out more than 200 different kinds of toys every month, and even though they make awesome designs like mini retro gaming controllers and adorable figures like animals weighing themselves, with so many coming out all the time, we aren’t going to want to buy all of them…right? Right?!

Still, when a capsule toy collection like this one captures our hearts so thoroughly we just can’t help but throw a few coins at it. It’s the Nyanko Museum (“Cat Museum”), famous artworks that have been reimagined to have cats as their main subjects, and they’re so cute and clever that we couldn’t help but laugh out loud when we saw them.

There are altogether five different works of art starring cats, each of which costs 300 yen (US$2.72). For that price you don’t just get one toy, you get both the painting redone with the cat as its star and a separate figure of the cat doing the artwork’s pose.

Both the painting and the figure are really well-constructed and high-quality. For example, just look at this reimagination of Edward Munch’s “The Scream”. The painting is copied down to the finest detail, and the figure has been replicated perfectly, including the wiggly nature of the body, its hands on its cheeks, and its mouth opened in shock. The only difference is that the figure is a cat!

Though Munch’s original intention behind the piece–to depict the anxiety of being human–is a little dark and unsettling, when we put a cat in place of the figure, it becomes more lighthearted. It looks more like a cat in shock when it notices its food bowl is empty, which is absurdly funny.

The figure of the cat is adorable too. It’s painted in painstaking detail, has textured fur, and is shaped realistically, even with the funny pose.

The parody of “The Birth of Venus”, or should we say, “The Birth of Meownus”, features a white and ginger cat, who is mimicking Venus’ pose by clutching its ginger tail to preserve its modesty. Its figure comes with its own seashell for the cat figure to stand in, as Venus does in the original painting.

It looks so good…even the fact that its fluffy butt is overflowing around its little feet has been carefully constructed. Looking at the bottom of it is like looking at a cat sitting on a glass table from underneath.

It even has the same look of pure innocence that Venus has in the painting. Too cute!!

The third Nyanko Museum toy that we managed to get baffled us a little. It’s hard to tell what it is at first.

But then we looked carefully at it. The black thing on its head–could that be a chonmage top knot?? The head is jutting forward slightly, and the eyes look intense…so this must be a Sharaku wood-block painting of a Kabuki actor! (Or should we say “Cat-buki actor”?)

When we think about famous artworks, European art might come to mind first. But there is a lot of really beautiful Japanese art, too, which is also perfectly worthy of being recreated with cats as their subjects.

The detail on this one is also amazing. They’ve given it the customary eye makeup kabuki actors wear on stage, and its little grasping hands are adorable.

We couldn’t get our hands on the “Meowna Lisa” and “Cat with a Pearl Earring”, which is a shame because we really wanted a Vermeer painting of a cat. Still, since each painting comes with its own little stand, and all of the paintings and the figures feel very stable when set up, we were really impressed by the quality and wouldn’t mind throwing another 300 yen in the machine to see if we get a new one the next time we pass by it.

The Nyanko Museum capsule toys are produced by toy company Bandai, which might explain why they are so excellent. Apparently, the idea came from the TV Tokyo variety TV show “Kyou Kara Yaru Kaigi”, and each of the cats featured in each work of art also has an actual real-life model. We wish dearly we could meet them.

In any case, we can’t wait to see which artworks they’ll do next! We fully plan to collect them all and establish our very own Nyanko Museum.

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