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First Impressions: My Roommate Is A Cat

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

My Roommate is a Cat, also known as Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue, follows a mystery writer named Subaru Mikazuki who is almost a complete shut-in after his parents' accidental death. When a stray cat appears in his life, he not only has to form the first bond with a living creature he has in years, he also suddenly has to talk to other humans in order to take care of her. The painful constraints he's placed on himself start to loosen. I didn't expect to love this anime as much as I do. I started watching it because cats are adorable and I needed something to pair with Banana Fish and The Promised Neverland to ease the unrelenting suffering produced by those shows. Did I know that My Roommate is a Cat was going to make me cry too? No. Am I going to keep watching it anyway? Absolutely. Here's what makes this anime truly special. Subaru's emotional problems are sad, but totally understandable. They aren't presented in an overwrought or maudlin way, they just are - his parents died, he never had the chance to bond with them as he would have liked, he has trouble bonding with people now, and his new pet provides an opportunity to do so. The process hurts - of course it does - but he makes slow progress over the course of the series. He's like Haruka from Free! reluctantly forming bonds through swimming, or Handa from Barakamon doing the same through country living.

But My Roommate is a Cat is about more than just Subaru - it's also about the cat. Haru is a former stray who has endured a hard life on the streets. Now living with Subaru, she has to get used to life indoors. It's awesome because she gets to eat food and she has a human she wants to protect - but she also doesn't understand that human at all.

Her perspective is the focus of the second half of each episode.The behavior that made no sense to Subaru in the first half is explained through cat logic. There are moments - like the one where she tries to feed Subaru her cat food because he's too absorbed in his work to feed himself - that are both touching and hilarious. Her feline interpretation of Subaru and their life together is both appealing for its own sake, and because it offers a way to look at Subaru outside of his own head.

Like Subaru, Haru is processing a painful past while learning how to interact in a new way. Together, the two of them are moving toward a happier, healthier life.

So far, My Roommate Is A Cat is a genuinely touching anime that's worthy of far more attention than it's getting. If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and check it out.



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