HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Cryptozoo
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
   
 
Newest Articles
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
   
 
  Whisker Away, A Meow-sterious girl
Year: 2020
Director: Junichi Sato
Stars: Mirai Shida, Natsuki Hanae, Ayako Kawasumi, Daisuke Namikawa, Hiroaki Ogi, Kensho Ono, Koichi Yamadera, Minako Kotobuki, Sayaka Ohara, Susumu Chiba, Eri Kitamura, Fukusha Ochiai, Oolongta Yoshida, Rei Sakuma, Rina Kitagawa, Shinichiro Maki
Genre: Animated, Romance, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Quirky, hyper-manic schoolgirl Miyo Sasaki (voiced by Mirai Shida) relentlessly pursues handsome but reserved classmate Kento Hinode (Natsuki Hanae) even though the latter does not seem particularly interested. Along with enduring the daily embarrassment of Miyo’s amorous advances, Kento bears the burden of his mother's expectations. The one 'person' to whom Kento can confide his woes is his beloved cat Taro. What Kento does not know is that Taro is actually Miyo magically transformed into a cat with the aid of an enchanted mask procured from the mysterious Cat Storekeeper (Koichi Yamadera); who also happens to be a giant talking cat. Miyo, looking to escape her own troubles at home, starts to spend more and more time in her feline form, growing closer to her beloved Kento and able to express herself freely. Not realizing spending all this time as a cat can cost Miyo the ability to turn back into a human.

Screenwriter Mari Okada is among the most vital and compelling voices in contemporary Japanese animation. Between Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (2013), The Anthem of the Heart (2015) and her own directorial debut Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (2018), Okada has a gift for interweaving gripping mystery stories with a solid psychological grasp and heartfelt empathy for the plight of alienated young people in modern Japan. On the surface the Okada-scripted A Whisker Away seems like a simple continuation of Japan's long tradition of magical cat anime. Specifically stories where cute girls are transformed into cute cat girls. Think Catnapped! (1995) or Studio Ghibli's The Cat Returns (2002), itself an extrapolation from the story-within-a-story featured in Whisper of the Heart (1995). Superstar manga artist Yumiko Oshima crafted arguably the most substantial treatment of a star-crossed human/feline romance with her critically lauded (in Japan anyway) Star of Cotton (1984). However in A Whisker Away Miyo's fantastical feline antics are largely a means by which Okada mounts a critique of Japan's stifling social etiquette. And how these rigid traditions affect how young people interact with both their peers and parents.

Typically a western treatment of this kind of magical wish-fulfilment story would make its heroine an awkward introvert who has trouble expressing her feelings. Miyo however has no such difficulty and that is precisely the problem. In a society that draws a clear distinction between personal feelings and those feelings it is acceptable to express in public, Miyo's bubbly, outgoing, almost goofily unabashed honesty renders her a social misfit. Her very public declarations of affection and protective attitude towards Hinode cause him no end of embarrassment. Ironically Miyo has to turn herself into a cat in order to forge a human connection with the boy she loves. At the same time the film gradually clarifies that Miyo's romantic infatuation with Hinode is as much part of an attempt to escape dealing with her own awkward feelings about the mother that abandoned her and a well-meaning stepmom with whom she can't seem to connect. The latter also confides in a pet cat of her own, leading to a plot twist that drags the film in a more sinister Twilight Zone-ish direction.

Once the film goes full Spirited Away (2001) taking Miyo on a journey into a magical realm of cats it devolves a somewhat more conventional and derivative fantasy adventure. Slightly less stimulating than the more nuanced and penetrating psychological study that preceded it though certainly no less watchable. An interlude in a magical bar full of dejected cat people that were once human beings ranks among the more memorable sequences in the latter half. Along with scenes where the alternately affable and imposing Cat Storekeeper keeps bursting through floorboards and walls like a horror movie villain, underlining his perfidious nature by dropping random English language wisecracks. Ultimately A Whisker Away transcends its more clichéd aspects by virtue of a genuinely beguiling and complicated love story and message stressing the importance of expressing oneself honestly.


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 177 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: