Anime has a plethora of options to choose from to suit your mood. The most recent ones to come out focus on friendships and odd duos. Last year’s anime How to Keep a Mummy, about a teenager’s sweet friendship with the mini-mummy his archaeologist father ships to him from Egypt, falls into the category of odd couple pairings. This year’s newest anime series My Roommate is a Cat continues this trend of surprisingly sweet and unlikely friendships.
My Roommate is a Cat is about Subaru Mikazuki, a quiet and anti-social writer who is recently grieving the loss of his parents from a terrible bus accident. While going through the process of mourning, Subaru is also struggling to come up with his next book idea. During a visit to his parents’ grave site to leave them a food offering, a hungry and homeless black cat wanders into the cemetery and begins to help itself to the proffered food Subaru is about to place on his parents’ tombstones. Staring at the small furry thief, a spark of inspiration strikes Subaru and then proclaims he has his next story, starring one spunky little black cat. And so begins the relationship between man and feline.
Based on the manga series My Housemate is On My Lap, But Sometimes, On My Head by Minatsuki and illustrated by As Futatsuya, the anime is currently being simulcast on Crunchyroll with 10-episodes aired so far and still ongoing. My Roommate is a Cat is a cute, heartwarming, and funny story that follows the adventures of Subaru and his new pet Haru, trying to adjust to their new living arrangement. Each episode switches between the viewpoints of Subaru and Haru, giving viewers different perspectives and thoughts about what one thinks about the other.
Subaru often prefers staying at home, surrounded by his books and his writing, over actually going outside and being forced to interact with people in public. The only time he’s required to have any human contact is when he has to meet with his new editor Atsushi Kawase, a cheerful and cat loving guy. Or when Subaru gets unannounced and unexpected visits from his childhood friend Hiroto Yasaka, who often comes by to drop off food for Subaru.
Haru is a street smart kitty who largely had to scrounge, fight, and defend herself to survive. Though Haru is not a talking cat, you do hear her internal thoughts when the second half of each episode shifts to her perspective of the same events that transpire when she’s observing Subaru and any other human she comes in contact with.
I’ve only watched four episodes so far and it’s my new favorite anime series. After the conclusion of How to Keep a Mummy last year, I haven’t found any other anime that fit the category of sweet and adorable friendships. There have been plenty of anime titles in my backlog that fell into the drama, romance, or action categories I could have watched next, yet, I yearned to find another series that is as charming as Mummy. When I stumbled upon a review of the show on Kotaku, it sounded exactly like the kind of anime I needed to be my new Mummy for 2019. This show has everything I’ve been looking for.
Although the protagonist on this show isn’t as happy-go-lucky or as personable as Sora, and the adorable creature of Cat is much grumpier and distrusting than Mii-kun, I enjoy Cat mostly for how Subaru and Haru’s friendship and bond slowly grows over time with each episode. While Sora and Mii-kun are quick to become friends and bond on Mummy, Subaru and Haru, on the other hand, take more time to warm up to each other. In many ways, Subaru and Haru have similar personalities. For example, both are used to being alone and relying only on themselves. The fact that they end up in a predicament where they need each other for more practical reasons (Subaru needing Haru as his muse for his story and Haru needing Subaru for food), they get much more than either really expected—they find companionship. Probably neither will really admit it, but before they found each other, they were mostly feeling alone, like no one would understand them. With the death of his parents still fresh in his mind, Subaru is overwhelmed with sadness and regrets. Haru, coming along when she does, offers him comfort when he needs it the most.
For instance, in Episode 3 entitled, “I Touch You,” Subaru breaks down after going through some photo albums his mom had put together. Seeing this, Haru reaches up and begins licking his face. This surprises Subaru at first until he starts feeling better. Even though Subaru thinks he’s fine if everyone would just leave him alone, the reality is, he needs connection to feel less alone. No man is an island, not even Subaru, as people adverse as he is. Having Haru living with him makes the loss of his parents a little less painful.
Like Subaru, Haru is also in need of connection, a place where she’s well-fed, safe, and loved. Being on the streets for as long as she has, Haru is always on her guard and doesn’t exactly have the best impression of humans. Through flashbacks, you get to see what Haru has been through before she meets Subaru. She has been in tough scenarios and has had her share of losses, too. It’s no wonder Haru’s assumption is that Subaru’s home is only a temporary living situation and she’ll be on her way. The times Haru did encounter some kindness from humans, such as a little girl who gives her food, never lasts, and she finds herself scraping by for her next meal and shelter. Watching Subaru not being very good at taking care of himself, Haru keeps making excuses for why she still needs to stay, such as protecting him, feeding him, etc, to repay a “debt” she thinks she owes him for taking her in. It’s very comical, yet sweet, that Haru is under the impression that she’s taking care of Subaru and not the other way around. But when you think about it, human and cat are really taking care of each other, even if they don’t often understand the other.
My Roommate is a Cat is another standout anime series to join the list of shows to watch. Or worth adding to any anime fan’s collection, if you’re interested in shows about friendship with adorable animals or creatures. I look forward to seeing how the rest of the series plays out and what ending awaits for Subaru and Haru. My hope is plenty of days where Subaru is stretched out on the floor with a good book and Haru nestled by his side while she takes a nap.
Have you watched My Roommate is a Cat? What do you think of it so far?