One of my favourite quotes goes: "Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious."
It can be easy when you get caught up in the philosophical twists and turns of your daily encounters for one decision to become an entire blockade that stops you progressing in your life. You look left and right, you assess the possible outcomes and decide that any decision you make will incur a sacrifice! Life is fine just as it is, why do you have to make a choice at all?! However, you are shackled by responsibilities that you don't recall having primarily taken upon yourself and the consequences of your procrastination grin like cheshire cats behind each happy moment! You know that with an eventual decision a plan will bloom from the collision between fate and hope, however, it will falter swiftly into obscurity! Life just isn't fair! Oh my God, has my hair started falling out?!?
Sometimes we take life too seriously and things get a little melodramatic - well, that's okay, right? It's a typical human response, why blame yourself? However, it is not always an easy frame of mind to escape from, we can get stuck in the rut of over-analysing and let things like silly mistakes crush us like a Warner Brothers anvil.
For those of us who need a little bit of encouragment, Chi's Sweet Home is the perfect medicine - on some of the shittiest days I had this year nothing else could bring me back down to earth like Chi did. So now, with my cup of morning tea by my side and no Chi to welcome me into the day, I feel it appropriate instead to tell you potential viewers a little bit about what makes this such a fantastic series...
Simplicity at its most entertaining, our adorable little kitty is distracted by a bird and her life changes forever. Mama is suddenly nowhere to be seen, and after a few scary encounters a fearful and lonely Chi realises she may be completely lost. One fortunate stumbling boy and a pitiful mother later, Chi is adopted apprehensively into the Yamada family who risk upsetting their landlady to give Chi shelter in their home.
What follows after this 3-minute setup is 100 episodes of pure fun, curiosity, comedy, and tear-inducing cuteness. We witness life from both the perspective of the Yamada family and Chi herself - unsurprisingly both perspectives are utterly different and make for many funny moments. Each 3-minute episode manages to deliver no matter how basic the events are; we follow Chi through her first encounters with various objects, bodily functions, tastes, and activities. Something as simple as brushing Chi for the first time makes for a warm and funny episode, aswell as the more constructed episodes such as Chi being left alone in the apartment and causing havoc. I would giggle, smile, or be in complete stitches for each episode; nothing was mundane and Chi's curiosity became infectious. This is also the main gripe I could possibly consider - Chi's mischievious nature could really take the show anywhere, and it was a shame that so much of her time was spent indoors and any days she spent outside felt like they should have been more 'epic' in some way.
You would imagine something like Chi's Sweet Home to be prime anime marathon material but I would tend to disagree. Sometimes I could not control the want for more and would watch 3 episodes in a row, but with the effect each episode was having I knew it was meant to be treated like gold and as such limited to only one episode a day.
There are many tender moments aswell as comedic, and the last few episodes were notably sadder in tone. Yet, this adds to the overall satisfaction - you might not even realise as the episodes continue to go by that you are becoming more and more empathetic to this strangely simple little family. There is overriding plot, mainly in the form of the Yamada family trying to figure out what to do with Chi and ensure she is not discovered by the landlady. However, the episode structure makes this plot so subtle that I had the "I don't want this to end...!" feeling throughout - I didn't want a conclusion, I just wanted endless kitty fun!
Very suitable for the mood and setup of the show, the animation can barely be faulted. The character designs are very simple and the colours are bright and basic. What stands out here is that despite Chi's simple design her range of facial expressions is awe-inspiring!! Not to mention completely hilarious and adorable! Although the animation is easily described as simple there is plenty of variety in other places also - all the residents of the apartment look different, even the pigeons are drawn in an endearing manner. The only thing that confused me was Kuroi's tail which looked like a child's hand inside a glove. I still haven't figured that one out.
For me, perfection. Everything you hear in Chi's Sweet Home is created to a point of near perfection. To start with the obvious: Satomi Koorogi's Chi is a pure delight to listen to, and near impossible to dislike... Chi's trademark giggle, angry grumble and surprised "huh" are sounds that will not only become stuck in your head but sounds you long to hear again and again. Koorogi's Chi is so damn perfect that I cannot even begin to imagine a dubbed attempt of Chi's Sweet Home - there would surely be no other who could bring such a quality of life to a character? The rest of the characters are also suitably voiced, you can hear Youhei's innocent charm whenever you hear him call "Chii-ii!" and Father Yamada's anxious nature spills out from his seiyuu's performance for very funny moments.
The reason I feel the sound deserves a 10 in Chi's Sweet Home is because it struck the balance between great voice performances and awesome music! The Chi OP not only brought tears of joy to my eyes upon first listen, but is something that became part of the Chi experience itself. Here I can mention something fairly important, for a lot of my Chi viewing I shared with my boyfriend - now, he not only detests cats but if given the choice we would have probably watched another shounen title. However, it was him who first started a personal craze of ours - every time the Chi OP started he would begin singing it in a voice that attempt to mimic Chi and from them on we would both sing along to the tune. Yes, we were horrendously kawaii and I know if anyone had recorded those moments it'd be difficult for us to be taken seriously ever again. However, it is evidence to support my claim - Chi is infectious happiness and you should not be ashamed for enjoying it!
The music though... really guys, it's amazing - even the transition effect when time lapsed was a wonderful little twinkle. The various pieces heard throughout the series were complimentary to anything going on on screen at the time. Particularly, Kuroi's theme every time he came into frame with his trademark gruff "yo!" would always put a smile on my face! There are multiple pieces to accompany all the various comedic and cheeky moments involving Chi - it upholds a sense of variety although so much of what happens is fairly similar.
Chi is our star of the show - adorably naive, greedy, inadvertently insensitive, and endlessly curious with a penchant for unpredictable mood swings. She is a typical cat, and never presented as anything more. She does not understand human ways and we do not impose them on her, she is simply a kitty. Amazing, then, how attached we become to her over the course of the series. Cats are the only animals who are cute despite being inherently selfish and superior; when they knead us with their claws we smile and rub their bellies. They are treated like Gods and sometimes it's as though they know it! Chi is no exception, she is often a little madam but it only makes her character greater - we let her get away with anything as long as it means more laughs. The reason for this? Well, she's just adorable. Yes, one minute she is haughtily turning her back on one of the Yamada family, but the next she is pulling stupid faces or running around like a lunatic. Whether it is a case of having a bad memory or a feline version of ADHD it is endearing, funny, and we love her for it.
Unfortunately, the Yamadas are not as developed as our little Chi, but they are distinctly human - after all, it is very irresponsible to try and bring up a kitten in a small apartment that doesn't allow pets. Some of the decisions they make are not the most admirable, and poor Chi does suffer for this, in a hilarious or cute way of course! Being oblivious to the Yamadas' plight, Chi simply wants to have fun, often to the disdain of one of the Yamadas who know Chi's actions could cause her to be seen by the landlady or another tenant. It was a hilarious moment watching as Chi discovers the outside world through the window and tries to celebrate with Father and Youhei, only for Mother Yamada to run in and frantically wrench poor Chi off the windowsill.
Kuroi, or "Blackie", or "bear cat", is another great addition to the cast! His role in the show changes over the course of time, and I refuse to spoil too much there. However, his scenes with Chi serve as a fantastic contrast between two personalities and are very funny.
Chi's Sweet Home is still a fairly niche title. I know that it could not appeal to everyone in the same way it has done for others. It is, at least, something more than worth trying out! I imagine many have browsed the title's info and thought of it as something fairly childish or too cutesy, with not enough typical anime cliches such as big breasts, giant swords, and prepubescent romance. It is not a typical anime, so if you're in the mood for something refreshing, easy-going, and thoroughly rewarding you should give it a shot. As soon as one episode starts you may feel your pupils dilate and the addiction set in immediately! That would be worth it, right?
I decided to watch this anime because I wanted to relax with something what would be nice and cute. Chi's big eyes made me interested.
What can I say? This show is for children but it doesn't mean it can't be good.
The story - you won't find any complex problems, any big drama, any romances and any pervy moments. The epsiodes are easy to understand for the youngest anime fans and tell about the Kitty's life like eating, finding new place to sleep, sleeping, getting new toy, playing with new toy, watching someone sleep, doing pee, going outside, coming back home etc.
The characters - they are simple. Kitty named "Chi", mommy, daddy and their little son. They have mild, warm and friendly personalities. Sometimes the other characters appear but it doesn't happen often.
The only thing I didn't like - the episodes were way too short (only 3 minutes).
If you think of something relaxing to watch or you have a little child and you search for nice anime - "Chi's sweet home" will be a good choice.
Take your mind off everything by watching this anime, the downside is that watching over a hundred episodes that are barely 3 minutes long, gets a bit reduntant.
But hey, you don't even have to hear what's going on or have subtitles (mr. Bean style), it's THAT simplistic, all the better.
ART & SOUND SECTION: 7/10 [What’s this? It’s a game; it’s a game!]
Very simplistic in both sections. The animators didn’t bother much with it and frankly didn’t need to. The focus is the jokes and the moody kitten and anything else is just dressing. So, everything in the series is a very simple drawing, with almost antithetic placket colors that don’t have much variety or detail. Plus, the sound department is just simple music pieces and simple dialogues. What make them really impressive are the expressions and the body language everyone has. Chi for example, really acts and talks like a real kitten most of the time. She only cares about herself, and reacts to everything as if they are either a toy or an enemy. The people in the series act as normal, everyday citizens do, so their differences are huge. Both her reactions and those of her human caretakers are making even the simplest everyday chore to appear hard and funny. Even how everyone talks is do darn funny! Since Chi does not speak or understand the human language, everything she thinks usually has nothing to do with what the humans tell her or expect from her. So even the most mundane dialogue leads to a funny misunderstandment. In a few words, although animation and sound appear totally simple at first sight, in reality they pack a lot of context that really matters to pay attention to. And as I said, it is very funny if you love cats or know how those whiny critters react to something, such as water or hot food or sudden sounds and movements.
STORY SECTION: 3/10 [I peed properly!]
There is not much of a story in general. It is just slice-of-life, everyday situations with a kitten being the epicenter of all. Every episode lasts for only 3 minutes, so most stories are divided in three to four episodes of events that if I describe to you may feel totally boring. Yet, the story has a somewhat development, as a problem Chi overcomes never bothers her in the future and almost knows how to react to it thereafter. It even has a somewhat logical learning curve or natural development, as more or less these are the issues anyone owning a cat has to go through in the same order. So, at first it’s about Chi accepting to live in a house, then learning to pee in a sandbox, then dealing with the habit to scratch things, then getting to a vet, then dealing with her fur falling all over the place and so on. The ending is not really and ending and she doesn’t seem to grow any bigger at all. Yet, it’s one of those stories where the ending does not matter and you can always expect a sequel or something.
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10 [I am not a cat. I am Chi!]
Just like the animation and the sound, the cast is simple but likable. The kitten is of course the main character and everyone else seems to exist just to deal with her. Yet, they all do their part without ever becoming unnecessary. If the father or the mother or the boy or the black cat or the landlord were to be taken out, a great deal of pleasure would depart as well. Each one of them offers something different to the story, so there are effectively no stunts present. None has an imposing presence or matures in something; yet they are all there for a reason. Although Chi is a remarkably simple yet wonderful character, she would be just a boring cat without the humans to cause trouble to.
VALUE SECTION: 4/10 [Make it move again!]
Most episodes can easily be skipped in a second viewing. Yet the events occuring in the series are easily memorable and will remain in your minds for good.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 8/10 [Wanna play?]
The pace is generally very fast and does seem ironically realistic if you know of cats. Besides a dozen episodes where nothing much happens, it is a generally very entertaining series for the entire family. It is definitely not boring. Even action lovers will find it at least cute.
Oh, such a cute kitten! How can such a fluffy little thing not be likable to someone?
Chi's sweet home, adapted from the manga of the same name, is an atypic anime. It comes in a atypic presentation of 104 episodes of less than 3 minutes each. So everything runs fast. It is also difficult to review.
The story here is quite simple. A lost kitten, Chi, is found and taken to live with the Yamada's who happen to live in a building that doesn't tolerate pets. Yup, that's a resume of the entire story. The viewer follow the little life of Chi who slowly become part of the Yamada's family. What the anime excels to the simplicity and humblety of the portrayed life of these beings. It is a calm atmosphere were simple things become amazing in the eyes of this little kitten from discovering the pending lace of Father's shoes, to being petted by Mother, or playing hide-and-seek with Youhei. Everything becomes a playground to discover new things. And then again, everything told with simplicity and though making this series so charming. everyone who have or had a cat can relate to the Yamada's.
The animation is quite simple. It just does not look like a Madhouse production. But the simple and easy childish look is just perfect and respect the original manga visual. So I guess the intention point is respected but as a 2008 show it doesn't look as good as other productions.
The sound is simple. Chi's sweet home is not a series to enjoy for it's sound, honestly. It excels at other things but the sound is not important here. Simple voice acting and simple music. Then again, I forgive it for the lack of soundtrack because the series focusing on warmth, cuteness and again simplicity that it does so well.
No real opening here.Nor ending.
The series truly shine in the characters presentation and developpement. The viewer get to know the kitten owners as the time than her. Their portayal, in my opinion, is brilliant.Extremely simple, but hey, you see it through the eyes of this playful adorable kitten. So it ought to be simplistic. Father Yamada is the one who wants to please this baby of a kitten (sadly he is the one who often gets rejected by her). Mother Yamada is the mother figure; she scolds the kitten when she does not behave, she feeds her and also loves to pet her. Youhei, the young son, is definetely Chi's favorite. he just loves to play with her and so does Chi as she considers him as her playing mate. Just a brilliant representation of what a cat is for his owner. And why people love cats so much. Chi ( and the same time the viewer) get to know Blackie, a bear-cat in the neighborhood who acts as her teacher. The star of the show is whithout a doubt the little Chi. She is a hell of a cat. She acts like a little baby discovering the world around her. She is so adorable, top to bottom. Her facial expressions, her simple minded ''idiocy'', her cheerfullness and her egoistic side makes her a delight to watch.
Overall, this series is made for cat's lovers and those who loves simple cuteness. You'll often finds yourself purring of hapiness as I did. Just keep in mind that it is childish, so if you don't like that genre you'll find hard to sit through those 104 episodes however short they may be. If the first season is not enough for you, there is a second season available. As I highly enjoyed the first season, I will gladly watch the second season and review it. Hoping it will be as good as the first one. This series is perfect to pass a good moment and definetely makes a day.
Note: I will try to get those mangas I was talking about earlier, but the price is...effaring.
Score: 3.5/5. A good score for an atypic slice-of-life series. I highly enjoyed it.
Next! Ah! My Goddess and my actual review of Chobits