Not Purr-fect But Enjoyably Heart-Warming All The Same
A Whisker Away is a charming Netflix anime film. It’s a title that manages to deliver a compelling, fantastical story in a clever manner and backs that up with some decent characterisation and gorgeous visuals. Although Miyo is a little unlikable to begin with, the story soon settles into a consistent rhythm and becomes a much more enjoyable title.
The story follows enthusiastic student Miyo Sasaki who’s head over heels in love with her classmate Kento Hinode. The only trouble is, he has no interest in her at all. When Miyo discovers a mask that can turn her into a cat, she realizes Hinode shows her more affection and toys with the idea of becoming a feline more regularly to make him happy.
As the film progresses, Miyo’s transformation becomes perilous and she’s forced to try and find the Mask Seller to reverse her fortunes, while a rescue operation to save her is launched by those closest to her.
To give much more away would be to spoil the story but suffice to say A Whisker Away definitely gives off those Ghibli vibes with the way it presents its story and fantastical elements.
Visually, A Whisker Away looks fantastic. The hand-drawn animation is so detailed and each backdrop feels like a living, breathing place. The character models are detailed and full of expressive reactions, although as a minor gripe Miyo’s cat persona is the only character in the entire film that doesn’t have a black outline.
The biggest problem with A Whisker Away though comes from its sound mixing. The actual musical score is great and plays off the wondrous feel this anime captures so well but at times it drowns out the voice acting which is a bit of a shame.
Thematically, A Whisker Away does an excellent job bringing ideas about love and depression to the fold, with challenging ideals that help give this film an extra layer of depth. This continues right the way through to the third act of the story too, helping to tie everything together at the end.
Aside from a few missteps, A Whisker Away is an enjoyable and charming anime adventure. The themes are simple but effective and the second half of the film certainly leans into the fantastical elements in a big way. If you’re in the mood for strong-themed adventure, A Whisker Away is certainly worth a watch.