My plans for today got thwarted, so I sat down with my breakfast and decided to just give A Whisker Away on Netflix a go. Here’s what the movie is about, and what I think about it.
Miyo, also called Muge, is a teenage girl who is hopelessly in love with Hinode, a boy from her class. She doesn’t know how to express her feelings towards him though, and when being offered a mask that turns her into a cat, she decides to take the deal, just to be with Hinode, even though he doesn’t know who she is while transformed. Miyo’s plan works and she is being taken good care of by Hinode every time she visits him in her cat form, which the boy has lovingly named Taro. However, he’s not fond of her real self, since she is very outgoing and straightforward to the point where her love for him turns into a forceful nuisance, and he eventually tells her he hates her, even though it was a spur of the moment during a bad situation she couldn’t control.
Devastated by his words, she turns into a cat to visit him, just so she can see him smile again. Due to family problems though, Hinode is everything but happy at the moment, and not even Taro can help, which leads the girl to give up completely. In a moment of despair, she decides that she doesn’t want to be a human anymore, and the one who offered her the mask in the first place shows up to collect his payment; Miyo’s life as a human, and the years she has left to live. As if that wasn’t already enough, she loses her human face, which turns into a mask for cats to wear, so the identity she just chose to give up is up for grabs. Of course she doesn’t want to stay a cat forever, so a race against time and the one now wearing her human form starts, and everyone she knows gets involved, especially Hinode.
A Whisker Away isn’t a mind-blowing movie, and I was actually a bit disappointed with it. Maybe because I really love Spirited Away and The Cat Returns, which this movie borrows heavily from. Actually so much that it feels like a mix between the two movies, and the story that A Whisker Away is actually trying to tell falls flat. I think that someone who hasn’t watched The Cat Returns might have more fun with this movie, but I can’t say for sure.
However, the message of loving yourself for who you are rings very clear throughout the second half of the movie, and I really liked that. I think we all know the feeling of wanting to switch lives with someone else, even if just periodically, and even if just while we were kids or teenagers, and this movie has a good way of showing that we’re okay the way we are, and shouldn’t have to bother trying to be someone or something we’re not.
I recommend it, but don’t expect a masterpiece.