A girl turns into a cute stray cat to get close to her school crush, but will he fall in love with her human version too? Directed by Junichi Sato and Tomotaka Shibayama, ‘A Whisker Away’ is as whimsical as Studio Ghibli films, the Japanese production house that’s won fans all over the globe with its animated masterpieces.
The film centers around Miyo Sasaki, a high-school girl who unabashedly flirts with her first love Kento Hinode, even though he doesn’t seem remotely interested in her. When she gains a magical mask that lets her turn into a cat, she seizes the opportunity to get close to Hinode. The boy immediately takes a liking to the cat version & re-christens her as ‘Taro’, unaware that it’s the same being that annoys him to death at school.
Miyo Sasaki’s character is etched out very well, while at home she is a recluse, owing to the fact that she stays with her dad & step-mom, at school she is a happy-go-lucky girl who is an absolute puzzle to most kids. It’s delightful to watch her woo the boy she likes. Her best-friend tries to keep her in check and ensure she doesn’t over-do her flirting.
While the plot is interesting, it gets very slow and slightly boring in parts. The makers get a little too philosophical and preachy about the pros and cons of a cat life versus a human life. I felt like the climax was a little too dragged out, where Miyo is shown exploring the cat world. Also, the animated cat felt a little basic and could’ve been drawn better. Rest of the animation was however pretty good, although not at par with some of the animated films that have been made in the recent past.
Despite some slow scenes that might make some viewers bored, “A Whisker Away” is a sweet film that could’ve been a little shorter. It’s a little hard to rate the movie, I am torn between a six or seven out of ten. So I will go with 6.5/10.