“How can you love me if you see me at my worst?” – Miyo “Muge” Sasaki
Have you ever fallen in love with someone from your teenage years? Like a crush or a puppy love? That you wanted that person to notice you and give all his or her attention to you. This movie will make you want to re-experience your teenage romantic years, but don’t worry, even if you have never experienced that, this movie is still for you.
Before i start this review, i promise you this will be a spoiler-free to the story review.
The story is about two middle school students, one is Miyo Sasaki nicknamed “Muge” meaning “infinitely mysterious”. She has a bright personality and is full of energy. The other is Kento Hinode, Miyo’s classmate, and crush. Miyo repeatedly tries to get Kento’s attention, but Kento takes no notice of her until she realizes that the only way to get close to him and to be together with him without noticing is to transform into a cat. However, at some point, the boundary between her human form and cat form becomes vague. Trust me I didn’t give any spoilers.
It really is a pure love story between two teenagers in their blooming youthful days. Watching this reminds me of (no, not my romantic life) other anime love story films, like the Studio Ghibli ones. I know this was an original story with no source material to follow, but it really reminded me of how Hayao Miyazaki delivers his stories. The plot really has the same vibe as to how Hayao Miyazaki writes his films. A Whisker Away is a rollercoaster between two emotions, and when I was watching this film, I felt love and bitterness, emotions I hadn’t felt for a while. That’s what made this film good, they can play with your emotions, one minute you are sharing a happy moment with the character, then it can instantly change to sadness. The character development in this is also a game-changer, maybe a 104 minute-length film is not enough to introduce other supporting characters, but they were able to execute the story of some supporting characters perfectly to the audience.
The production of this film is really top-notch. To be honest, I hadn’t heard of Studio Colorido before, but they really did a good job of animating this film. Studio Colorido also did the animation for the anime film Penguin Highway and will be doing the animation for the upcoming 2020 anime film Burn The Witch. The director Junichi Satou, who had worked on a lot of anime films and series did a good job of directing this film. I really love the mood swings throughout it, and if you didn’t know, Junichi also worked on the storyboard for the film Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. I was also shocked when I found out the one who did the screenplay for this anime film was Mari Okada. That’s why the story progression and acting were also top-notch for me. Mari Okada also worked on the script for the TV anime Anohana, the script and series composition for both seasons of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, and the series composition for Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo and many more. Mirai Shida, the voice actress behind Miyo Sasaki, is originally an actress and not technically a ‘voice actress’, but she really did a pretty good job of voicing her. The way she voiced Miyo made me think that it’s literally what Miyo should sound like. If I ever did the casting for this, I would definitely also give Mirai the role, but this isn’t her only first voice acting role in her career. She was also cast for the TV anime My Hero Academia 3rd Season as Melissa Shield, and she portrayed Melissa again for My Hero Academia Movie 1. As for the other main character, Hinode, he was voiced by yours truly, Natsuki Hanae. When I first saw the trailer and heard Hinode talk, I knew it was Natsuki, and he did a great job voicing him, just like the other characters he portrayed. For example, he also voiced Tanjirou Kamado from the TV anime Kimetsu no Yaiba and Kaneki Ken from Tokyo Ghoul, and many more. Don’t even get me started with the music. The soundtrack for the film is mostly okay, no out of this world ost, and there is no bad awful ost, just your average soundtrack for a film, but the ending songs are beyond perfect. It really matches the theme for the film – ‘cute, love, cats’. Both songs were performed by Yorushika, who also sang the hit song “Say It.” with over 68 Million views. Yorushika also did a fantastic job of performing the songs and, again, it really fit in for the film and its theme.
The story starts immediately when you press the play button, it starts off real quick, so if you’ve seen the trailer (if not, don’t worry I got you) or read the synopsis for the film, then I guess you are ready to watch it without confusion on the first 3 minutes of the film. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll feel happiness and sadness at the same time while watching, since the story will really take you on a roller coaster of emotions. The story execution and delivery to the audience are good, the voice acting is fantastic, especially on the important moments in the story, and the animation was handled well by Studio Colorido. I really didn’t have high expectations from this studio, but when I saw the film itself, it was worth the wait. The end of the movie is very satisfying for me, I know that that kind of ending is expected, but the way they delivered it is good. A Whisker Away, or in Japanese, Nakitai Watashi wa Neko wo Kaburu, is overall an enjoyable, watchable film. It’s a cute light romance film with cats and when I saw the news for this film, I wasn’t expecting much of it, but it really delivered. When I saw the film, I realized it’s more than decent, the most enjoyable part of the film for me were the songs and the art which is really beautiful and matches the story and the theme for the film. Final verdict, I’ll rate this anime film an 8/10 for its cute and beautiful visuals and the plot is very enjoyable and it takes the whole Cat Girls or Cat Persons into a wholesome story. It really is an enjoyable anime film that is for everyone to watch. If you are looking for a light romance love story with a supernatural element and beautiful art, this movie is for you.
A Whisker Away is now available to watch on Netflix starting this June 18, 2020. (As a promise, you can watch the trailer for the film below.)