A Whisker Away

June 23, 202058/100111013 min
Alt. Title
Nakitai Watashi wa Neko wo Kaburu
Release Date
June 2020
Original Work
1 hr. 44 min.
Overall Score
Rating Overview
Art Style
Animation Production
Rating Summary
A Whisker Away tries so hard to be an endearing film but falls short of the mark. Though entertaining in some aspects, it lacks originality, and the viewer will be able to predict each step of the film's plot within the first act.

Love is sometimes overplayed when it comes to entertainment, but if done correctly, it can be a beautiful thing. Anime is no different, especially when it comes to the romance genre where boy meets girl and vice versa. Though this set up is tried and true, it still holds pretty well for even the basic story; however, when done poorly, it’ll ruin even the best movie. So if a potentially great film is being distributed with one of the most extensive streaming services in the world, and making people ogle over it and building up hype, it must be good, right?

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           A Whisker Away is a 2020 Drama anime film by Studio Colorido, their most significant accomplishment outside of this is Penguin Highway. Though the film was pulled from theaters due to COVID-19, it quickly got a second chance on Netflix, which is an excellent opportunity for any movie, especially when it’s an original work. Especially when a newer studio hasn’t established an excellent track record or surpassed the decade, even the best studios have to start somewhere, and this could be the movie that sets them apart. On the plus side, this is an original film, and they have sole creation of their idea, and I can never dock points for originality.

Miyo is known to her high school classmates as Muge, which stands for Miss Ultra Gaga and Eccentric. While she certainly lives up to the name, especially whenever she sees her crush, Hinode, everything just melts away. Though he acts distant and uninterested in Miyo, she can only get close to him when she transforms into a white kitten with glacier-blue eyes. Thinking that the cat is a stray, Hinode names the pet Taro, making Miyo’s fantasies even harder to keep in check. As Miyo keeps transforming back and forth between her human form and the feline form, she quickly learns that everything has a price. A price that has grim consequences for not only her but for everyone involved.

           Though the synopsis is quite impressive on paper, the film does a better job expanding the story. This is quite a relief since so many films try and either fall short or just directly overreaching their target. This film did have excellent pacing, which I was surprised and exceeded my expectations, albeit low expectations. The film seemed to properly utilize the emotional aspect to story ratio. It wasn’t too overbearing, which was an excellent use of pathos, logos, and even ethos for a realistic teenage character. Though the film was a tad bit slow in certain parts, this isn’t necessarily a negative due to its ability to properly build up the emotions and characters, but for some, it may turn into a negative.

           When it comes to the negatives within the story, the most prominent part that degrades its predictability. Though the story had great pacing, it felt like a made-for-television film, where the audience knows that A, then B, then finally C happens. Another aspect that could potentially hurt viewers watching it is that the film puts shows most of its cards within the first ten minutes of the film. While this may not be bad for some, others may get bored with this film because it lacks any real surprise. The villain is easily identifiable, but still able to sympathize with, which may turn people off, but isn’t totally neutralizing.

           The artistic style within this film is very adorning, which is a real blessing for this film. Though Studio Colorido doesn’t necessarily have its own unique art style, this film is well created. A Whisker Away has the same beautiful design as some of the beloved series like Tsukigakirei and perhaps even Bunny Drop to a certain extent. The scenery is unique and crafted with whatever the scene is portraying without being overly campy. The alluring design of the feline eyes is remarkable, and the color used within each animal’s eyes is very soothing yet also represents their personality. Although it is safe to assume that the beautiful moments within the film will play with potential viewers’ hearts in all the best ways.

           While the film’s artistic style was wonderfully executed, the production was surprisingly on par with expectations. Though the film didn’t necessarily show any greatness, it didn’t show many flaws within itself neither. Sure, the background characters’ audio immediately gets turned down – and sometimes even semi-muted – when the main characters change their focal points, but it happens so seldom that it won’t hurt the film. The only negative aspect that may damage the film is that it has some weird changes in angles. The sudden change may be off-putting for some upon the first watch, which is somewhat disappointing because some angles have no real explanation. Though if someone is looking for an outstanding soundtrack inside this film, one will be surly disappointed.

           The main characters are a mixed bag of emotions, and some may dislike them due to their personalities. Miyo Sasaki is an energetic girl who has a crush on Hinode, who is the opposite of her. She can transform into a cat due to buying a cat mask at a festival. Kento Hinode, on the other hand, is a comparatively typical high school student. His biggest love is pottery, which is also what his grandfather does. Though a majority of his background, is told through background scenery – some blatantly obvious, others not so much – unlike his costar. Outside of those two, the viewer doesn’t really learn much from any of the secondary characters. The main villain is a housecat named Kinako, who is foreshadowed within the first ten minutes. Then there’s Miyo’s best friend, Yoriko Fukase, who has stuck by her side the longest… that’s all you’ll know from her.

           While the film is visually beautiful and very predictable throughout the movie, it was surprisingly entertaining. A Whisker Away is one of those films that viewers won’t care about the formulaic plotline because it’s a heartwarming film. One that the viewer knows that the main characters are going to end up together, and yet it just makes the viewer’s hearts filter the negativity from the film into pure bliss. Though the film was predictable and didn’t add anything new to seasoned anime viewers, this is still a decently good anime. However, if one expects a great romance, you’ll surely be disappointed because the romantic elements are lackluster and unoriginal at times.

           A Whisker Away is one of those anime films that get a lot of hype before its release, and then six months later, nobody talks about it. It’s a good film, but not worth all the hype it’s receiving. If one is new to anime, this could be an excellent way to get into it, or if you’re just looking for an easy-to-follow film, then it’s a great fit. Other than that the film is forgettable.

Cody Senpai

Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.

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