Last year I went back and re-watched and reviewed every work that Makoto Shinkai has produced. Everything from 5 Centimeters per Second to ef – A Tale of Memories/Melodies, up to his latest work, The Garden of Words. However, there was only one thing I didn’t touch upon because I thought it would be difficult to review something that only lasted five minutes. Now, here in 2016, that five minute short was given a four episode anime. While the episodes were still very, very short, I believe it gave enough material to give this a proper review. So as an epilogue to my 2015 Makoto Shinkai series, it’s time to take a look at the OVA and the anime Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko, better known as She and Her Cat: Everything Flows!
The story of She and Her Cat is very, very simple, but what many won’t know is that this is a prequel to the 1999 short OVA. If you end up watching the short after this series, it’ll tie everything together, which is pretty cool. It’s about a girl named Miyu, who didn’t even have a name in the original OVA. She leaves home and rooms with her friend Tomoka, but one day Tomoka moves out and Miyu decided to continue living there along with her cat Daru. Despite pleas from her mother, Miyu refuses to move back home believing she can make it on her own.
The story is told through Daru’s narrative. It gives you the insight of a cat who loves Miyu very much, but can’t do anything to help ease her pain because, well… he’s a cat. Much like in the original She and Her Cat, the time and the seasons pass by quickly and Daru begins to get older. After seeing Miyu try time after time to get a job to support herself and fail, Daru feels he has one last act of service in him. He knocks over Miyu’s phone and it just happens to call her mother. Not knowing what happened, Miyu’s mother rushes to her apartment to find her okay.
The two of them reconcile and after witnessing this, Daru believes he finally found a way to make Miyu happy and passes away in her arms surrounded by her familiar scent. In the epilogue after the credits, it’s one year later. Miyu has a job and finds a white cat abandoned under the bridge. Here, Makoto Shinkai touches on the beliefs of reincarnation because the cat’s monologue states that while he cannot remember the reason why, something seemed faintly familiar. Then he recognizes Miyu’s scent and even though it’s not outright stated, it is heavy implied that Miyu and Daru are reunited.
She and Her Cat was a very touching story and much like all of Makoto Shinkai’s works, this one will tug at your heart strings. It’s just a wonderful heart-warming tale about life through the eyes of a pet. All four episodes, plus the original, will take up about 30 total minutes of your time. If you have a half hour to spare, then I would recommend you go and grab this one and watch it.
I’m skipping the characters section in this review because outside of what I described in the story above, there really isn’t much more to expand on. This whole show is comprised of Miyu, Daru, and in the last episode for a total of two minutes, her mother. Tomoka is in there for all of thirty seconds in episode one and as a voice on the other end of a phone in episode four. That’s it. The story described the characters pretty well.
Art, Animation, and Sound
The original She and Her Cat OVA had unique animation. Everything about the animation was extremely smooth and looked like a well-crafted motion picture. The art, however, was mainly in black and white with a film grain effect on the screen. The white cat in the OVA was also crudely drawn to the point where even I, with little to no art experience, could draw a better cat. It really looked like a kindergarten art project. Thankfully, in the Everything Flows series, that’s rectified by an actual good-looking cat.
Here in Everything Flows, we’re treated to more colorful and vibrant style with less than movie-quality animation. In fact, the animation was that of a typical series and something that’s pretty unbecoming of a Makoto Shinkai work, but that could be due in part to this only being produced by CoMix Wave. LINDENFILMS actually handled the art and animation of the series. Given the fact that they only had to produce 20 minutes of total material and the amount of time they had since their last release, I was hoping that they would spend a little more time making this look absolutely gorgeous, but the art looked no different than any run of the mill anime that airs at any given time and that’s pretty sad.
Maybe I’m just spoiled on CoMix Wave’s insane attention to detail and hi-resolution artwork, but it just looked like LINDENFILMS wasn’t able to match that level of quality. I don’t want people to mince my words, though because the anime doesn’t look bad at all; I’m just simply comparing it to Shinkai’s past works.
The soundtrack is not all that memorable, but it is melodic enough to enhance the mood of the anime. The OP theme “Garasu no Hitomi” by Masumi Ito and the ED theme “Sonata” by Clammbon don’t really stand out as something that’s going to stick in your mind for too long. The themes sound more like background music more than anything, but they, too, are soft and somber. If you’re into that kind of music you’ll find them enjoyable, but I don’t think these are the kind of songs people would rush out and purchase immediately.
She and Her Cat is a very simplistic story that Makoto Shinkai takes and molds into something profound, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and moving all at the same time. I’ve stated it throughout my Makoto Shinkai series that he is a master at playing with people’s emotions and here he proves that if you give him 20 minutes, he’ll do everything in his power to do anything from moving you to tears to putting a smile on your face.
She and Her Cat: Everything Flows is just another example of why Makoto Shinkai is my favorite director in anime. Even his worst movies are still pretty decent to good in quality. He knows how to tell a story with any length of time and this anime is proof of that.
Go watch it, you won’t be disappointed!
If you’re interested in the other entries of my Makoto Shinkai series, you can click any of the links below!
Part I: Dareka no Manazashi
Part II: The Garden of Words
Part III: ef – A Tale of Memories
Part IV: ef – A Tale of Melodies
Part V: 5 Centimeters per Second
Part VI: Voices of a Distant Star
Part VII: Children Who Chase Lost Voices
Part VIII: The Place Promised in Our Early Days
She and Her Cat
Another beautiful and heartwarming work by Makoto Shinkai!