The Truth About Neco Drop?

For April Fool’s Day, Capcom briefly released Neco Drop, a fun, cute, maddening puzzle game involving cats that could best be described as Pokemon Go with Street Fighter characters. I found myself addicted to the game, being unable to stop playing until I was finally able to get every cat, finally earning the misspelled “Congratulations” screen. My reward for winning the game? A unique wallpaper that came in many resolutions, all of which I quickly downloaded.

However, I didn’t just play it to complete the game. If you’ve been following me for some time, you would know that last year, I wrote a theory on the shoot-’em-up Capcom released last year, the one featuring G. In that theory, I discussed several unique elements that told me more about the backstory of G, and more importantly, what Capcom likely had in mind with the character going forward.

Of course, being a lore theorist, I researched the game as much as I could to see if it would provide any clues to the direction Capcom wanted to take in regard to future storyline elements in the main Street Fighter series. Neco Drop doesn’t appear to have the same dark lore potential as G’s game from last year. Any game that has a Lucia-styled cat riding a roomba doesn’t exactly scream “evil forces are at work.” Since this is one of my favorite images in the entire game, though, for no reason whatsoever, here it is:

Even so, I looked deeper into the game, and some elements began to stand out to me, mostly from the gameplay aspect. The developers clearly took their time with this game, adding in aesthetics like multiple quotes per cat and adding hearts around said quotes every time you re-caught a cat. In fact, there didn’t seem to be much to go on at all to write a single cohesive theory on, as the backstory and design of the cats in the game were directly taken from their human counterparts, and the lore is already known.

So, how could I possibly write a theory on this game? Simple. The quotes expanded the lore and mentality of each of the cats, and since each cat was an expy of a Street Fighter V character, it can therefore be assumed that each cat’s respective quotes also apply to the character they’re taken from.

Unfortunately for me, a lot of the quotes were just general statements and cat puns. Even the G-expy cat, Mr. President, gave me nothing to go on, and normally G is a very reliable go-to for figuring out things in the plot. Since we’re on G, I also need to point out that Neco Drop partially damaged last year’s April Fool’s theory on him – they used a similar staff roll naming convention for Neco Drop as they did for the G shooter, both being based off of the game 1942.

It could be argued something sinister is hiding in this game as well based off of this, and certainly it does play a very minor part in the final conclusion of this theory, but I’m not going to put too much credence into the idea that the staff credits are important.

As for the cats and the quotes I found, there were four cats that seemed to have any important value to the lore at all: Juri, Gill, Cammy, and Ibuki. I thought Lucia’s cat, Lucipurr, would hold some sort of clue, but she ended up being a red herring.

Juri’s cat, Spider, had some really good information about the character herself, but was otherwise completely disconnected from this theory. I may expand on this in a future theory, but in a nutshell, it seems that Juri’s impulsive behavior is merely an act to get people to pay attention to her, as per Spider’s entry:

Gill, while not a red herring, only had one quote that was vaguely insightful, a quote stating something along the lines of “So, I am a cat.” Unfortunately, before I realized that the quote was important, Neco Drop was taken down, and therefore I could not get a screen capture. Fortunately, there was a far stronger, more pointed quote that seemed to tell me what was going on:

Cammy outright stating this is evidence that there is something curious going on. If we take this quote to be true, the implications are that Cammy went to sleep as a human and woke up as a cat, and by default the same could be said about everyone else. Not that Cammy, or anyone really, seems to mind that they’ve become felines, but there are two questions that must be asked: what happened and who’s responsible?

As it turns out, there’s only one cat in the entire game who probably isn’t a cat at all: Ibuki. Due to her association with her pet tanuki, Don-chan, Capcom appears to have made her a tanuki insead. As Fandom points out, “In Capcom’s web game, Neco Drop, Ibuki’s cat is known as Ms. Donka. Despite supposed to be a cat, Ms. Donka looks more like a tanuki and has Don-chan’s tail ribbon. One of Ms. Donka’s quotes suggest that she is actually a tanuki pretending to be a cat.”

The quote?

In other words, Ibuki/Ms. Donka is the only cat that took another form. Why? Because she was the first one transformed, and a product of her environment. She was the first experimented on because she was the closest subject her clan could get. That’s right – everyone was transformed by the Glade of Ninjas.

We know this for a few reasons.

As I previously stated in “The Hidden Evil”, Ibuki’s clan is experimenting on tanukis, keeping over 250 different ones in their village, each one with their own characteristics. Don-chan is the culmination of all of their efforts, the “perfect” tanuki, and a result of the G Project.

While I cannot deny anymore that G is part of the G Project, G at this stage of the project is relevant in name only. What we’re seeing with the tanuki experiment then is just one chapter of many the G Project holds. Neco Drop is the next chapter.

Also, let’s take a look at the opening prologue of the game:

The first sentence sets up the rest of the game: “There is a rumor of a town full of interesting and unique cats.” So, there is an entire village filled with cats and, in Ibuki’s case, tanukis. Also, as you play through the game, you realize there is one thing that is consistent: the screen you select the cats on shows that the game takes place in a forest region.

A place with cats and tanukis in a forest region? That’s the home of the Glade of Ninjas.

Two things you may point out, though. First, the background of the puzzles clearly depict urban stages from Street Fighter V. For example, you can see this in Meowseth’s puzzle.

This can be chalked up to the designers wanting to mix things up. When it’s time for the feeding portion of the game, the backdrop returns to the forest, and you have to coax the cat out from grass. (I do not have a picture of this, but it’s the same backdrop for every cat.

Second, I mentioned G above, but G, along with several powerful villains including Seth, Gill, M. Bison, Necalli, and Akuma, have also been transformed. You might ask yourself how this could possibly pertain to the G Project. As I’ve stated in previous theories, G has the ability to control people with the shake of his hand. By transforming him and everyone into cats, it makes it a lot easier to get his powers (and everyone else’s powers). If Ibuki was the first to undergo transformation, G must have been the second. From there, as the Glade perfected their experiments, they were able to correct certain abnormalities that came through the process. For example, Charlie/Nash/Charlie Nash’s visual impairments.

As each character got transformed, the Glade gave each cat a new code name, as seen in another of Cammy’s quotes.

Finally, the Glade was able to take whatever information they needed from each of the fighters, and just sort of left everyone as a cat for an indeterminable amount of time, long enough for whoever the player is controlling in-game to hear the rumor and find the town of cats for themselves. (No, I could not determine who this was. I’m pretty sure it’s merely an avatar for the player themselves.)

So, we come to the last loose ends of this theory. If Ibuki was transformed before the Glade captured G, wouldn’t that mean Ibuki wouldn’t actually be as brainwashed as the others, considering that G’s powers are apparently the ultimate means of control? Not necessarily. The most likely scenario is that Ibuki was basically told this is what she had to do, and kind of just liked being a tanuki. Even if there was a mind control aspect applied, it must still be pointed out that each cat retained their memories and personality from the person they once were.

Finally, whether or not they were all brainwashed, one final thing rings true: everyone seems to be happier being a cat. Why? They don’t have to do anything as the Glade is already providing them basic amenities like food and toys. Their lives, while not necessarily better, are simpler.

If you woke up one day as a cat, wouldn’t your life be simpler too?

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