Perhaps the most challenging aspect of penning down my thoughts on She and Her Cat is simply the lack of things to talk about - the film is, after all, but a measly four and a half minutes; you'll likely spend just as much time reading this review. Yet, astoundingly complex or not, it leaves this review ultimately with but one question to answer: are these four and a half minutes worth consideration?
My answer would have to be a resounding yes. As can be expected of all Makoto Shinkai's works, it touches very lightly on the topic of love, but in many ways this is almost a null point in the context of She and Her Cat's story. No, if I had to classify the story as any one thing it would be visual poetry - it's the art of telling the story, not so much the story itself, that makes it so fantastically charming. Whether it be the soft, monotone narration of the cat reminiscing about his love with his master or the poignant patter of raindrops against a window pane, the film oozes with an aural sort of serenity that draws you in, relaxes you, and then gently lets you go as quickly as it captured you. It brims and teems with pure, subtle emotion, and the timely structure into which this is compacted optimizes its effect; it's so brief yet so powerful, and thus I find it difficult to fault its simplicity for anything other than its pure success.
As can be expected of all of Shinkai's works, the animation is absolutely timeless; there's simply no indication that She and Her Cat is nearly ten years old, as it could easily pass for a top-notch 2008 production as well. Where it lacks color it compensates with fantastical lighting and shading effects, and the enormously fluid feel of the scenery really gives the movie its impact. As the saying "a picture says a thousand words" goes, the animation almost seems to tell a story in and of itself, and for this I can call it nothing less than masterful.
And yet, while I would love to have given the animation a perfect score, it has one minor flaw. Amidst its artistic realism, the depiction of the cat as a simplistic cartoon seems slightly out of place. While not glaring it is noticeable, but certainly not worth consideration when choosing whether or not to watch this film.
The single piano piece that accompanies She and Her Cat is absolutely gorgeous. It drifts so calmly into the background at times that it's hard to notice, but by all accounts the piece is simply stellar. Accompanied by the cat's distinct, pensive monologue, the audio ends up being just as powerful a draw as the visuals, and the harmonic interplay of the two scores makes for an astoundingly pleasing watch.
As can be expected, there's really nothing to say regarding the characters; their arbitrary qualities make them entirely inconsequential assets to the film. To correspond with the wistful commentary on love they are distinctly faceless - perhaps to accentuate the universal nature of Shinkai's message.
Ultimately, though, as much as I enjoyed She and Her Cat, its temporal restrictions simply inhibit it from becoming something truly great. It's emotional, it's unique, and it's invariably Shinkai, but it lacks the charismatic draw that his longer, more recent works possess. Nevertheless, at under five minutes run time, it's absolutely impossible to go wrong in giving it a watch, and for that I recommend it whole heartedly.
yesterday i decided to give this a go thinking it would be a breezy watch. i gave SHE AND HER CAT a go to only to find out it was just under five minutes. well, as crazy as it sounds, they were the most charming five minutes of my day.
we watch on, as a the narrator, (the cat) tells us the story of his owner and what she means to him. he speaks of how she took him in when he was alone. how she fed and gave him love and affection.
it is clear that he is absolutely smitten with her - if not in love. he tells us of how his days pass, mainly consisting of him lounging around in wait of his owners return. he talks of mimi, a cat who may be cute, but just not his style. he talks of how much his owner means to him and exactly what she means to him.
the way he talks of her with such tenderness is extremely beautiful and left me smiling to the very end. It leaves you with a lot of questions... but i suppose that just adds to the beauty of it all.
it's hard to explain how such a short amount of time can suck you in so quickly and leave you deep in thought and so very touched - but somehow it did.
it is beautiful. but all my little brother could say was
"so what happened to mimi?"
This OVA, though barely five minutes long, has more emotional depth and impact than many longer anime.
Animation: (10/10) The animation is, simply put, incredible. Beautifully drawn black and white scenes that are contrasted against detailed backgrounds - this could even remind someone of an old live-action film (as improbable as that sounds, just watch it yourself). Everything looks incredibly realistic except for the cat, but it was purposefully drawn in a simplistic way to put emphasis on its persona and plight.
Sound: (6/10) There was very little music that I can remember but I liked the cat's calm, quiet, maybe even melancholy, voice. Although the main character is a cat, he speaks like a wise scholar.
Story: (7/10) The story...well, there's actually none, but that hardly matters since the fluid, interesting narration was the meat and bones of this OVA and more than made up for its lack of plot. She and Her Cat is about a cat's romantic love for its owner and how it sees life. Sounds a bit boring to you? You'll be surprised and impressed at how much thought Makoto Shinkai put into this. The cat's remarkable intelligence and subtle narration actually made me contemplate about my own life, and all the mistakes I made throughout it. For such a short piece, it is nothing short of astounding.
Characters: (7/10) There are only two characters here: a cat and its owner. You'll learn an impressive amount of information about these two, even though this anime is so short. I was actually able to relate to, and feel sympathetic for, the cat's wistful love for his owner, and his heartbreaking desire to have a lover that was more like her. For everyone who has ever loved someone who was unattainable, this will definitely strike home. As for the cat's owner, you'll learn through the touching monologue why the cat loves her so.
Overall: (7.5/10) An excellent use of 5 minutes. You will not be dissapointed in the slightest. If only a third of all anime series were as profound as this...
Didn't realise how short this was until I hit play. She and her cat is a very inviting, alluring anime and well worth the watch during your coffee break. You'll be taken through the story by a special narrator (not the owner) and he'll describe his love and feelings towards her. It's a very emotional story and very well written, you'll not regret watching it!