My Roommate Is a Cat – review

If you love cats, this will probably suit your viewing pleasure. The 12-episode anime is delightfully mellow, and yet surprisingly heart-wrenching at times. It follows 23-year-old introverted mystery writer Subaru and his accidental adoption of stray Haru, a tuxedo cat. As the two bond and learn to live with each other, both are forced to re-assess their lives and face new experiences, which leads to change and growth.

While I wouldn’t really consider this a show with spoilers, consider this your spoiler warning.

Since this anime follows the experiences (and hijinks) of an introvert and his cat, it’s about as action-packed as you’d expect. If that’s not your type of show, then this won’t be either. However, if you’re looking for something where you can chuckle, coo over things, and experience Subaru and Haru’s slice-of-life adventures, then this is worth checking out. (Available on Funimation’s and Crunchyroll’s sites.)

We spend roughly half to three-quarters of our time in Subaru’s perspective, as he’s forced to go out in public in order to provide for his cat (the show mostly ignores the internet being a thing and next-day delivery resolving a lot of Subaru’s problems). The rest of the time is from Haru’s perspective, in which we get to see why the cat does what she does, and how she’s experiencing what might seem harmless from the human perspective.

The show is full of super nice people being nice to each other, but it was never so saccharine sweet that it turned me off. Rather it just showed the best parts of humanity. It’s uplifting in that regard.

One of my favorite things is that the story doesn’t have any romantic plots. He has guy friends and girl friends and aside from one moment where a brother things he has foul intentions with his sister, it doesn’t even come up. Oh, there is lots of room to ship couples, but it’s not in the show itself.

My one concern going in was Subaru’s personality. He’s introverted, and they point out the very reasonable problems with this and what it takes for him to go out in public. They also present it as a natural part of his personality (he’s been like this since he was a kid), although it’s possibly his natural aversion to being around people (especially large groups) as led to a more extreme isolation. As I watched, I worried that they would “fix him” and make him no longer introverted. Of course, that would be a problem.

However, the show seems to toe the line without going too far. While Subaru in some ways does “get better,” much of it is in things that improve his life and that he does enjoy. He’s still rather shy and he’s definitely introverted, but through his cat, he’s been forced to face people – and he found it’s okay in small doses with those he likes, as long as he has his support system.

What I really love is how the show expresses his support system. His friends (and editor and neighbor) all recognize he’s an introverted isolationist, and while they might make a few teasing remarks about it, they are generally accepting. He’s introverted, and that’s okay. When he does venture out to the grocery store and becomes overwhelmed, his friend (who just happens to show up) helps him through it without begrudging him. His editor is not surprised when Subaru rejects a public signing, and doesn’t pressure him – just presents the idea and all the benefits. When Subaru later agrees, the editor is right there beside him, making sure he doesn’t overextend himself, and talking him through his panic.

Overall, I’d recommend people checking this out, especially if want to watch something to settle your nerves or that doesn’t require too much thought and won’t be emotionally taxing. Warning: his parents have just died in the first episode, and some of the show and much of the ending revolves around realizations and coming to terms with their deaths and his feelings about that.

You’ll probably like this anime if you enjoyed: Tanaka-kun Is Always Restless, Mushi-shi, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun.

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