A Whisker Away: Movie Review

"A Whisker Away" has an interesting premise and lore behind it as cats and humans are able exchange lives temporarily and eventually permanently. But aside from its potentially great start, the film falls flat being too simplistic to be emotionally moving while being too mature and complicated for younger audiences to appreciate.

Miyo Sasaki, nicknamed "Muge" by her classmates due to her obsessive nature, is in love with her classmate Kento Hinode. Miyo tries repeatedly to get Hinode's attention but instead of noticing her, he finds
her antics annoying. Secretly, Miyo has the ability to transform into a cat named Taro using a magical cat mask she got from a mask seller. By chance, Hinode likes Taro. Miyo must now decide if she is willing to sacrifice her human life to become a cat just to get Hinode's affection.
We wouldn't say that "A Whisker Away" was a total disappointment but knowing how anime films can be emotionally effective, the film certainly lacks that dramatic touch to really make the issues that our protagonist Miyo goes through stand out. One of the biggest concerns we had with "A Whisker Away" was its overall narrative. We just couldn't buy into the extremely obsessive nature of Miyo towards Hinode. The film tries its best to explain her psyche but we felt it was turned up to a certain degree of uncomfortable cringe. It also moves the focus away from Miyo's actual depression as an abandoned child (which could have been a more substantial topic) than her obsessive love towards Hindeo. The climax in particular was lackluster as the final battle just ends. Unfortunately, the film also fails to expound on its mythology and lore more. The premise was interesting but there's really no explanation about the mask seller and why he has the ability to trade lives - and why cats only and not any other animal? Maybe it has connections to actual Japanese culture but foreign audiences won't have that background knowledge. Positively, the animation was great and this is likewise for the voice-acting. Overall, "A Whisker Away" tackles depression and the reasons why but fails to expound on these effectively due to its simplistic approach. While it may not be dramatically effective, the film makes good with great visuals and audio as compromises.
Rating: 3 reels

Why you should watch it:
- animation and voice acting were great

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the premise had potential but never expounded upon
- the obsession of the main character is cringe
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