Getting A Job
The First Day
Based on the fictional Japanese character of the same name, Rilakkuma and Kaoru is a charming, beautifully presented animation and an excellent entry into Netflix’s stop-motion catalogue too. Split across 13 bite-size episodes, each contain their own individual plot whilst presenting a visual treat of impressive animation in the process. Whether it be the stunningly realistic water or the reflective lighting overhead, each episode acts as a showcase for the art as much as it progresses the character plot lines.
The basic premise of this family-friendly show revolves around the adventures of Kaoru and her lovable roommate Rilakkuma, a lazy, chubby bear that spends most of his day eating and lazing about. Accompanied by his friends Kiiroitori and Korilakkuma, this lovable trio are really the highlight of the show, with every scene they feature in an absolute delight to behold. Each episode presents a different challenge for them all to overcome, including Rilakkuma being kidnapped and Kaoru being stood up at a picnic, through to the bears taking part-time jobs and Kaoru going on a diet to impress a deliveryman.
Without giving too much away, there is a little overarching story here too which ties everything together, with Kaoru’s future at her apartment under threat. For the most part though, the focus remains solely on the characters and it’s here where the series really shines.
I’ve always been a massive fan of stop-motion animation and those who know me will know whenever this topic comes up, Kubo & The Two Strings is always my go-to film to showcase how amazing this style of animation can be. Dripping in authentic Japanese culture, Rilakkuma and Kaoru is a beautifully faithful adaptation of the popular cult icon, one that injects enough originality into this one to make it appeal to International audiences whilst rewarding the Japanese too.
Of course, it’s highly recommended to watch this one in its native Japanese tongue although to be fair, I switched on the English dubbing to watch with my kids for a while too. Either way, there’s a highly accessible animation here with a lovely family friendly tone running throughout. Combined with the sheer cuteness of the bears and a gorgeous animation style, you really owe it to yourself to check this one out.