There’s been no doubt that Subaru is a fairly socially awkward human being (or rather he has never tried to engage socially so hasn’t the faintest idea of how to do so). And they do say that owners and their pets resemble each other. I found it hilarious this week in My Roommate is a Cat where Subaru is sitting facing Nana’s brother in awkward silence and Haru, is in the shot staring awkwardly at Nana’s cats. While we later see what was going on from Haru’s perspective, the parallel between Subaru and Haru has never been clearer.
That said, I found this episode a little less engaging than normal, and part of that is because at only eight minutes in we go to Haru’s perspective. And while Haru’s thoughts on what is happening in the apartment are kind of sweet, we get an extended flash back of Haru and her siblings learning to live on the streets. The thing is, that we’d already pieced most of this together from existing flashbacks so this kind of felt like filler and it dominate most of the second half of the episode.
It doesn’t stop Haru from being utterly adorable. She’s now giving Fuzzy from The Morose Mononokean a good run for being cutest character of the season and I have a long standing love of Fuzzy. Apparently adorable is enough because while very little else of note occurs in the second half, I didn’t really dislike it.
One human development is that we learn Nana and her brother are both reading Subaru’s story as it is published in a magazine and it is perhaps his first time meeting people who read his work. Unable to figure out how to respond he ends up fleeing, but there is definitely a slow change occurring in his personality and I’m looking forward to seeing if that goes anywhere.
Is it possible that Haru could end up being a cuter pet than Mii-Kun from How To Keep a Mummy last year? I wouldn’t have thought so and yet this episode full of sparkles and adorableness may just push My Roommate is a Cat into a close second in terms of anime I end up liking not because of any kind of plot but just because they hit that special spot of adorableness that makes me just tilt my head and go ‘aww’.
This week we see Nana, the girl from the pet shop, drop by to try to give Subaru some advice on how to not overfeed Haru. Any new pet owner can sympathise with Haru being fairly clueless and a little panicky, though why he hadn’t just looked up the right portion sizes when he has clearly enjoyed ordering items and the like online is still a little bit of a mystery. Still, this sequence leads to some adorable play time with Haru that is fun both the first time from Subaru’s point of view and second time through with Haru’s thoughts.
But the super adorable moments just keep coming with Subaru running with Haru to return Nana’s house key. The moment Haru comes face to face with Hachi is just spot on (by the way, love the naming sense in this show with Nana owning Roku and Hachi – it’s terrible and yet brilliant). And then there’s the moment when Subaru calls Haru and for once Haru goes to him, prompted by Hachi given Haru does not mean food.
Warm sparkles and sweet moments aside, this is just a fun episode. Subaru is making an effort to be nice to Nana and while he is incredibly awkward, there’s a genuine adorableness about him. Nana is just a bundle of sweet and while there are some shipping Nana with Subaru I’m feeling more of an older sister type with her. And Subaru could really do with one. But as always, the star of the show and the one who stole my heart again and made me want to hug my own kitty is Haru. Watch the anime for Haru alone, the rest is just kind of window-dressing.
The problem with being impulsive is it comes with a whole bunch of ongoing impacts that could have been foreseen if the initial event had been planned. Anyone who owns a pet knows the raft of responsibilities it brings with it, and the joy and love. However Subaru, in My Roommate is a Cat did not go looking to pick up a pet cat. He picked up Haru on a whim and can barely look after himself let alone a pet.
Fortunately, the ripples have already begun to swirl about him and his editor is hanging around more often than not as is his self-proclaimed child-hood friend. They both invade his house (he really should change the locks) for breakfast and the end result is Subaru being dragged out to buy a collar which then leads to the discovery that he hasn’t had Haru taken to the vet which then leads to the discovery that he’s actually been over-feeding Haru and as a former stray Haru will eat whenever food is around.
It’s a simple situation but one made fairly entertaining by Subaru’s utter lack of preparedness. It’s a trait I’m sure many people can recognise when people who are super into routines do suddenly do something unexpectedly, they struggle to deal with the flow on disruptions. They aren’t used to taking things as they come or trying something new so every step becomes a hurdle that is utterly and completely exhausting.
For once, the whole way through the episode I just kept wondering what Haru thought of all the antics that dragged her about to the vet and back. It is finally very clear to me why they’ve set up this formula of Haru’s perspective at the end. It may not always be golden, but there are now times when I’m anticipating hearing the cat’s view on issues and I’m wondering during the first telling how Haru sees things. It lifts the fairly mundane into something that is just that little bit more interesting.
This series continues to be a relaxing delight for cat lovers and while it isn’t anything super-special, I’m certainly having fun with it.
It seems weird to say the journey is beginning when we’re at episode 3 but it feels right now like the emotional connection between the characters has finally been established and they are both ready to maybe let the other one be more than just an occupant in the house they happen to share. My Roommate is a Cat has done an excellent job at making Subaru’s character feel emotionally cut off from others to the point where he genuinely felt no need to form connections. For some viewers that made Subaru an unsympathetic character or they felt he was a bit of a jerk, however for me I saw him as an introverted character who probably already tended to be emotionally cut-off and then after the death of his parents just became adrift from others until he had lost sight of any path back.
More importantly, I kind of got Subaru because while I might not be the extreme introvert he seems to be at times when people in my life try and ‘help me’ by dragging me out of my comfort zone the end result usually isn’t good. Mostly because I was perfectly happy in the first place and my comfort zone is just that, comfy. So seeing Subaru not play nice in episode one when dragged out by his editor was something I enjoyed, and this episode reinforced the fact that Subaru’s editor really doesn’t get it.
Neither does Subaru mind you, but while everyone will be quick to point out Subaru isn’t picking up on social cues, an editor that invades his writer’s house on a daily basis in order to see his cat is pretty inept at reading the situation. And if he isn’t inept, he’s pushy and intrusive and neither one of those seems like a better option.
But what really sells episode 3 as a beginning is that we finally see the backstory on the death of the parents and we also see Haru and Subaru make a genuine emotional connection. The flashback establishes that Subaru was indeed a fairly anti-social child, but he did have some connections, mostly through his mother who continued to try to draw him out (though never pushed him). Finding the album in this episode and Subaru realising just how much effort his mother went to for him was a really great moment and for the first time we see Subaru really get in touch with the loss of his parents.
Haru for the most part does behave pretty inexplicably in this episode until we see the cat’s perspective. Previously this gimmick of retelling events from the cat’s point of view has been cute but relatively unnecessary, but here it confirmed a suspicion you will have about the motive for the cat’s antics and adds further emotional weight to the finding of the album.
So with the story started in episode one, of the writer who lost his parents young, now kind of resolved with him feeling their loss and accepting what happened and that it is too late to fix things now, we now have a clean slate and a story of a writer who adopted a cat and the two have found in each other something they need. I’m really enjoying this because it is just easy to watch and I really do like Subaru’s character and the cat gets cuter every episode. Hopefully it continues to be an enjoyable and emotional story until the end though with the parents part kind of resolved they are really going to have to switch the focus to Subaru’s development from this point or introduce a new character for this to not end up feeling stale.
A slice of life/comedy? My favourite. (Please note: sarcasm.)
Actually, given I enjoyed Barakamon and Poco’s Udon World, both of which this one kind of reminds me of (though with quite a lot less impact), My Roommate is a Cat’s first episode actually kind of worked for me. I didn’t mind Subaru as the socially awkward writer who brings home a kitten on a whim and a flash of inspiration and I certainly could see my own cat in the kitten as it tried to make sure Subaru was alright (okay, my cat never gave me a bowl of cat biscuits but it certainly brings me grass-hoppers and she knows when I’m sick and stays with me).
However, there isn’t a lot more to this first episode other than meeting the writer, who may annoy some viewers as he is a bit blunt and rude at times to his editor, and meeting the cat. There’s a few other characters such as the editor and I’m guessing the childhood friend (though friend may be the wrong name for it), however their impact in this first episode is pretty minimal.
The one part of the story that was a little unexpected was seeing the sequence from the cat’s point of view but that only added a little tiny bit to the episode, and to be honest we probably could have figured out most of that narration without it actually being narrated to us by the cat.
So, this one I kind of enjoyed for a relaxing watch but there’s not a huge amount to recommend it. Everything about it is decent enough, and the OP is incredibly catchy and probably my favourite part about the show so far. Still, it’s got an anime cat in it that is absolutely adorable and it didn’t annoy me, so this one will stay on my watch list for now.
Space Battleship Tiramisu Zwei continues the trend of focusing on the minutia for its humour with this week both Isuzu and Subaru getting called on fairly petty things by minor characters.
In Isuzu’s case, one of his compatriots who has clearly been given an artificial universal sense joins him for a drink which he then makes her pay for. That said, it isn’t that part that tips her over the edge. She’s still a little put out but she’d probably have coped. No, what tips her over the edge is firstly that his wallet is a velcro one and very different from her illusion of what he would carry and then that he asks for her points on his card. In a show that sets brothers against each other in an epic space battle, this is what we spend half an episode on, and yet it is where this anime actually manages to hit its mark because it is all just so overblown it ends up being funny.
Then the robot head decides to leave Subaru and ends up going to the cockpit of the Neo-Durandel where he meets the AI. Now the AI is also incredibly petty having finally found someone to voice complaints to. And of all the things it could complain about, it gets stuck on the fact that Subaru has been sticking stickers to his outside.
However, all this means that once again the overall plot has screeched to an absolute halt and while the episode was amusing enough it all amounts to very little other than six minutes of filled in screen time.
On that note, this is probably my last episode review for this one as it really is just the same thing each week. I will do a full season review once it is done provided I get to the end of the season.
Once again, Space Battleship Tiramisu proves itself baffling in the way it handles plot. It is almost as if it can’t handle having a plot or a direction for too long and after an episode or even half an episode it literally jettisons whatever thought process was being followed to throw something random in before the characters just seem to forget what was happening before (not entirely but enough that any tension that might ever have been constructed is instantly eroded). And thus it is that Isuzu holding the father hostage lasts until some random delivery guy shows up, proves he can also operate the Neo Durandel and Isuzu decides he’s had enough and runs away.
But it doesn’t make any sense. Isuzu was the only one who seemed to have a weapon or a team in place so he should have been able to either take the new machine or destroy it even if he couldn’t use it. And yet he just abandoned his plan and ran laving his enemies and their new shiny weapon perfectly in-tact. While I’m not asking for much in the way of logic from a show that featured a talking pubic hair in season one I’d at least like the characters to occasionally at least act in their own best interest.
Then, instead of looking at the massive security breach that has seemingly just occurred, Subaru and his father get on with testing the Neo Durandel and apparently some universe sense is awakening in Subaru. Let’s be real, the guy is just hopeless and yet somehow manages to occasionally win in space. But I did appreciate the use of yakisoba preparation as a means of testing deft handling of the Durandel and the image of Subaru drifting around surrounded by floating noodles was kind of amusing.
As always, this anime remains watchable enough with the occasional spark of really solid narrative and humour and then there’s everything else. Fortunately with short episodes that everything else doesn’t overstay its welcome.