Final Impressions: My Roommate is a Cat

Season Aired: Winter 2019

Number of Episodes: 12

Genres: Slice of Life, Comedy

Thoughts: My Roommate is a Cat is one of the purest anime I have ever watched. It follows Subaru Mikazuki, a 23-year-old mystery novelist. Subaru can only be described as a recluse with poor social skills. He has been this way since he was a child, preferring to stay immersed in the world of books as opposed to the reality around him. This worsens after his parents’ death, leaving Subaru even more alone than ever and causes a frustrating deterioration in his attitude. He avoids people like a plague and when he does interact out of necessity, he can often sound rude or indifferent.

Although his personality is essentially an overused trope in anime, I like the protagonist, or rather, I relate to him on some level. I used to be a solitary person myself so I understand that social interactions are more complex for some and the effort it requires can be exhausting. Subaru is accustomed to silence, his mind always in stories where he is removed from his bland and painful reality. In the midst of his dull everyday life, Subaru happens to take in Haru, a feisty street feline who appears in front of his parents’ grave. Street life for animals can be harsh, and Haru is no exception as she suffered from the loss of her siblings. Still, she retains a vibrance about her that Subaru lacks and is a survivor and protector.

The episodes are structured really well. The first half of the story is from Subaru’s perspective and the second, more entertaining half, is from Haru’s. Initially, Haru’s inner monologue revolves mainly around food and the show pulls off some great comedic moments from this. It’s interesting to see two different species with different priorities, living together and attempting to understand one another. Naturally, there’s a whole bunch of hilarious misunderstandings between Subaru and Haru. We can see Subaru start to step out of his comfort zone almost instantly after meeting Haru. He goes shopping for cat food, an experience that I cringed and laughed at. Luckily, he meets sweet Nana who works at the pet store and she helps him get the right stuff and gives him advice on how to feed cats. There isn’t any romance in the show, but I obviously hope that these two can have a wedding with their cats as bridesmaids or ring bearers.

Subaru and Haru’s relationship starts to develop in a way that is both comical and emotional. Haru starts to shift her attention from food to worrying about Subaru. We see her concerned about his poor eating habits, his longing for his parents, and his regrets. Subaru too becomes attached to Haru in a way he did not anticipate and we see him change in small but steady ways. For the first time in his life, he is no longer so self-absorbed. How can you be when you have Haru competing for attention? He starts becoming aware of himself, his surroundings, and is eventually more considerate toward the people around him. Haru is his hope and the key to his transformation. She is a magnet that attracts more people into Subaru’s life and enables him to deepen his existing relations. She pushes him to move, to struggle, and to change.

We see the depth of their bond in the final episode when Haru goes missing. I have been in this predicament myself and I remember how afraid I felt. What if she’s hurt? What if she is lying somewhere in pain? We see Subaru desperately asking people for help. He goes from struggling to have a face-to-face conversation with acquaintances to speaking to strangers without any hesitation. It was lovely to see all of Subaru’s friends come together to help him.

Whilst Haru is essential to the story, you don’t need to like cats to enjoy the show. Rather, the anime is about the need for self-awareness, of valuing people around you and recognizing how you impact individuals in more ways than you can imagine. It shows how your environment affects who you are. Primarily, it’s about deep connections, how a momentary decision like choosing to adopt a street cat can be life-changing.

The animation is satisfactory and this helps maintain focus on the character development. Musically, the OST’s are calming and suit the scenes really well. The ending song is relaxing but I have to give it up for the opening theme, Unknown World. I bobbed my head along like Haru’s tail as I listened to the song. A well-deserved shoutout to Yamazaki Haruka, the brilliant voice actress who managed to capture Haru’s playful energy so well.

There aren’t many shows that convey the blossoming love and care between characters so well. Throughout all the internal and external conflicts, it’s inspiring to see how a group of people can come together and transform lives. My Roommate is a Cat is all about relationships that make life on Earth a worthwhile one. I hope there is a second season, but if not, the ending still left me feeling complete.

Rating:

I’m following the same rating system Japanese anime critics use. There are 5 categories, each scored out of 10 and then multiplied by 2.

Plot: 5

Characters: 8

Voice Acting: 8

Art/Animation: 6

Soundtrack: 8

Final Score: 70

 

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