Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Cat City

Whenever I have to show people something Hungarian that has nothing to do with alcohol, unhealthy food or traditional embroidery, sooner or later I always wind up with Cat City.
Here is the ultimate truth: Hungarians are good at animation. Like, really good. And Cat City is an all-time classic.

Cat City (Macskafogó, literally, Cat Trap) premiered in 1986. It tells the story of a secret agent of the Intermouse, trying to help mice oppressed by feline crime syndicats (see what I did there?!) to fight back with the invention of a Japanese mouse scientist. It is essentially a parody of James Bond - type secret agent movies. I have never been on particularly good terms with cats (I was raised as a dog person), but I suspect most of my concern about feline pets could be traced back to this film.
The film itself is chuck full of linguistic and visual puns, and also not-very-well-concealed criticism of certain political systems. Some of it is very specific to the humor of people who lived in Eastern Europe during Soviet times, but from what I hear the movie is still very enjoyable to Westerners.
They also made a sequel in 2007, aptly titled "The Cat of Satan" but I have not seen it yet. I am always suspicious of sequels to grand classics.

And the good news? Cat City is not only available in English (with a fairly well done dub), it is also on YouTube. You can check it out here. The opening sequel in itself is definitely worth a watch (one day Disney will descend upon our country for this...).

(Warning: While it is a cartoon, it is not always quite child friendly. Drugs, crime, the whole nine yards. Enjoy!)


  1. That has to be one of the darkest (most amazing) cartoons I've ever seen, and I live in Japan! It reminded me a lot of The Raccoons, honestly. I loved that cartoon as a child.

    Curious: how does the voice acting compare between the English and Hungarian versions?

    1. From what I have seen of the English version, the dub is pretty solid. If you want to hear the original voices (also genius), search for Macskafogó on YouTube.
      Also, I have not heard of the Raccoons. Sounds interesting though :)

    2. Here is The Racoons opening theme:

    3. I think the original voice acting was excellent and would have been hard to match in the dub. I don't like the English voices very much, although the translation itself isn't bad as such. However, even though I didn't watch the entire movie in English, in the bits I did watch I noticed a few puns that were lost in translation. I can only hope they added different ones elsewhere.

      Also: the sequel sucks dead slugs through a straw. It's bland, unfunny and stupid (especially the climax). I suspect it only got made to spend some grant money.

  2. What a cool blog, It's getting later here but have bookmarked the cartoon, uber curious now!

    Curling Stones for Lego People

  3. Ok so I happened upon your blog through the A to Z challenge...and HUNGARIAN!! Just wanted to say, my grandmother was Hungarian Gypsy. To look at me, you can't tell, I've got the English look, I guess. But my dad...well, he's got the dark olive skin and the black hair (silver now). :) I've been trying to trace my family back through Hungary but man is it hard when you don't understand the language and Ellis Island liked to mispell names, or the family changed the name...blah blah blah, I'm rambling aren't I! LOL

    Any way, CATS!! I love cats. And James Bond :)
    I'm going to have to check this movie out! Thanks for sharing!

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

    1. I wanted to leave this here too, in case you don't get back to my blog. Thanks for stopping by, by the way :)

      My Paternal Grandmother’s family is Hungarian Gypsy. Her Grandmother’s maiden name is Irene Bero. Irene’s father’s name is Gilbert Bero who married a Judith Docs. This is my brick wall at the moment.

      So far I have been most successful with Judith Docs. I have learned that in Hungarian, “J” and “Y” are interchangeable. And Hungarians do not have the “th” combination. So her name, very well could have been Judit or Yudit. Now, I have found a 1920 US Census that references a “Yucsi”, as well as the Ellis Island Passenger Documents for this family from Dombrad Hungary, and I am trying to find out if “Yucsi/Jucsi” is a diminutive of Yudit. If it is and I can prove it, then I will have Judith’s parent’s names.

      Unfortunately, Gilbert Bero is proving very hard to track down. He emigrated from Hungary in 1903 according to the 1910 US Census I found. However, I have been unsuccessful in locating his arrival documents. I found from his World War I Registration card that he was born in Szekely, Szabolcs, Hungary. I have also not come across anything that mentions his parents names.

    2. Judit is the Hungarian form of Judith. Yudit doesn't exist. J and Y aren't "interchangeable" in Hungarian at all; I think your confusion stems from "ly", which is pronounced like "j" (similar to "y" in English, if it occurs between vowels, like in e.g. bayonet). But j and ly aren't interchangeable either. Every word (or name) is spelled either with one or the other.

      "Jucsi" could be a diminutive of "Judit", but I haven't heard it yet. "Juci" is common though.

      I think your search is hindered further by your dropping of accents. "Docs" doesn't sound like a Hungarian surname; "Dócs" is more likely. "Bero" could've been "Bérő" or "Berő", or even "Beró", but almost certainly not "Bero" with no accent. Hungarian abhors a short (unaccented) o at the end of a word; there are only two words in the entire language that end on a short o, and both are exclamations.

      "Gilbert" is not a Hungarian given name; however, gypsies are known for choosing odd names, so it may really have been on great-grandfather's name. But it's just as likely he was really Gábor or Gáspár or something.

    3. I already visited her blog and helped figure out some of this, thanks.

  4. I'm working kind of backwards, Csenge! I'm getting myself lined up to watch "Cat City" while I skill on Runescape. I'm a geek... Thanks for sharing!

  5. On an unrelated note, we have a "Cat City" in Malaysia. The name of the capital of Sarawak is "Kuching" (which means Cat in Malay) and they have an entire museum dedicated to cats!