Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue Review: Cats make no sense

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Subaru hates crowded places

Somehow, this series managed to be one of the biggest surprises for me in Winter 2018. Introduced as the story of a novelist who rescues a cat he sees as a muse, I thought that the series would focus on the crazy ideas of a writer desperate for inspiration. If you rewind to my post about the first episode, I was heavily critical of the main character, Subaru, for his particular behavioral quirk of hating spoilers in fiction.

Haru is shocked to see Subaru move

Thankfully, the topic of Subaru’s stories goes away almost immediately. Instead, we watch as Subaru breaks out of his reclusive lifestyle through the simple process of trying to understand his new cat, which he later names Haru. As a result, a story that I expected to be largely comedic turned out to be one of the most heartwarming stories of the season for me. Oh, and did I mention that Haru has amazing facial expressions for a cat?

Subaru has trouble seeing other people

The story is told through two different perspectives, with Subaru and Haru each getting to show a separate view of the same set of events. Subaru lives alone as a novelist after losing his parents in a recent accident, and he’s suddenly forced to take care of another life. In many ways, Haru fills the familial hole in his life. Conversely, Haru comes from a struggle for survival, having lived the life of a stray. Despite that, she feels a strong sense of responsibility for Subaru, who is shown to be hopeless at taking care of himself.

Box cat

The series probably struck a particular chord with me, as well. And no, it’s not just because I like cats. As charismatic as I might seem, I enjoyed seeing Subaru’s attempts to reach out to the people close to him. I really liked that every step seemed like a small incremental change, but it built up to a solid overall character shift. I’ve also had similar reservations about the responsibility of taking care of a cat. So, Subaru’s pretty relatable to me, even if I don’t understand his literary views.

The food

It may not have been much, but this show was consistently a pleasure to watch. Even if it seems tough to go out and interact with others, it’s a feasible goal if you make small steps towards it. I think that’s my general takeaway from this series. It almost makes me want to go out and get a cat of my own.

Overall Score: 8/10


Planet With Review: Bringing you the most devastating clog in existence

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Souya sits down for dinner

I’m a little late on this one, but I’m determined to keep churning out reviews. This series was one that largely caught me by surprise. It follows Souya Kuroi, an amnesiac who lives together with a somewhat dysfunctional family that includes an anthropomorphic cat. While his days mostly consist of a strong desire to eat meat, he’s quickly pulled into a larger battle when a mysterious flying object approaches the city.

The heroes attack the flying object

As seven “heroes” fly out to fend off the invading ship, Souya has separate plans. Donning a mask and piloting the aforementioned cat (whom he calls Sensei), Souya instead targets those seven heroes. It’s a series that doesn’t draw a clear line between good and evil, which makes the character interactions a lot more believable in my eyes.

Cat robot attack

My favorite part about this series was watching the characters treat each other in realistic ways. When the burden of his mission becomes too much for Souya later down the line, nobody tries to force back into it. Instead, they take responsibility for the issue themselves. It’s amazing to see. As a result, I think that the series becomes a bit harder to follow in the beginning, but continually makes more sense as characters are explained.

Ginko worries for Souya

Story-wise, the series has a clear message of learning from past mistakes and showing that humanity has the capacity for love. It might be a sappy moral, but it’s simple and it works. Additionally, the series felt well-paced to me, knowing what to skip to get the important parts.

Explaining the story

When it comes to the mechs themselves, I ended up liking Souya’s cat robot a lot, but that’s mostly it. The seven heroes have their own unique forms, but I wasn’t a big fan of how bulky they seemed. And if you’re not a fan of having the main character shout out the same attack name over and over again, I might have some bad news for you. The fights themselves always felt interesting to watch as well, though they’re mostly CGI if that’s a deal breaker for you.

Shiraishi makes mysterious plans

All in all, it was a fun watch. It didn’t take itself too seriously, and the characters were particularly interesting. While I do think that the story is ultimately straightforward, I think that it also takes a while to get to that point. So, that might be my caveat for the show.

Overall Score: 9/10

Random First Impressions: Doukyonin wa Hiza, Pastel Memories

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More new shows are coming out, and I’ve been checking a decent number of them out. I’m on the fence about both of these shows, so I’m just going to talk about them together.

Subaru loses his parents in a bus accident

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atame no Ue First Impressions

For the most part, this show seems like it could be a decent, lighthearted story of a man and his cat. It starts out as a straightforward concept, showcasing the main character, Subaru Mikazuki, as a fairly typical loner type who decides to take in a random cat he finds. But then, it flips things around by showing the same events from the perspective of the cat, which is nice. So far, the cat doesn’t seem particularly annoying, so I guess I don’t have much of a problem with it.

Subaru hates crowded places

I don’t mind that Subaru has the awkward, shy personality, but the series gives him a kind of one-note personality trait that I don’t really like. Basically, he hates when people spoil stories for him, because it apparently stops him from using his imagination to wonder where the story goes. I’m not a fan of how much it defines his character, and I just don’t generally like that trait on its own. Nothing about knowing what’s canon should stop you from thinking about what could be, as far as I’m concerned.

Subaru passes out from exhaustion

Also, this guy eats cat food. I guess we’re just going to ignore that part.

The cat is very confused

I think the show has the potential to set up a decent story of development. From this first episode, we get this clear understanding that the cat and Subaru are thinking on completely different wavelengths, so it might be interesting to see them start to understand each other. I’m still not sure how long I’ll keep watching, but that’s my general hope for the series.

Boredom is dangerous

Pastel Memories First Impressions

This was one heck of a strange premiere, enough to make me wonder if it was secretly the sequel to some show I didn’t know. I suppose it’s a game adaptation, so there’s probably some background information I’m missing. That being said, I felt like I was being led along by this episode. Effectively, the entire episode is devoted to finding some volumes of a particular manga, but it ends by completely breaking out a supernatural elements that’s presumably central to the series.

Random Caligula poster

I should have run as soon as I saw the Caligula poster…

Finding old manga

Hey, I guess this show is good for referencing series I know. That’s something.

The real plot is revealed

This series is a video game adaptation, and it really wants you to know it. My main problem with this kind of development is that it trivializes the first episode. The events of the episode feel artificial, since it seems like the next episode will explain the real premise. Am I being nuts? I just get that sense.