Nekopara (or “Cat’s Paradise”, if you prefer) is a series of catgirl-centric visual novels that has become a genuine worldwide phenomenon since its launch in 2014.
Since the release of first game Nekopara vol. 1, developer Nekoworks has brought out roughly one new installment a year, beginning with the short fandisc prequel Nekopara vol. 0 in 2015 before continuing with vol. 2 and vol. 3 in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Unusually for a visual novel, the whole Nekopara series has seen simultaneous worldwide releases since its inception rather than releasing in its native territories first then localising later. This has helped fans across the world enjoy its lightweight slice-of-life comedy together, and has almost certainly been a huge contributing factor in making it so popular in both the East and West.
We’re going to start our look at the series with a broad exploration of where the catgirl phenomenon as a whole came from, and how Nekopara fits in with all that.