Random Curiosity

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue. – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Unknown World」 by Schrodinger’s Cat

「Episode 1」

Some shows have their tone set based on their promo material or posters. With Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue., it’s set from its first minutes where Mikazuki Subaru attends his parents’ funeral. From then on, the anime blends a bleak reflection on death and isolation with the cuteness of seeing a recluse come out of his shell to raise a cat.

From the start, it’s established that Subaru has a rough time handling company. His grief for his parents’ deaths come into the fold, but not as much as his general apprehension for human contact. He brushes off his editor and his close friend, claiming them to be nuisances that interfere with his creative process. He’s not the most likable protagonist, but part of his growth comes from how he finds himself slowly reflecting on the kindness other give to him by observing the behavior of his new pet cat, Haru. As he becomes more puzzled by Haru’s habit of offering him cat food, he begins internalizing his editor’s advice that he should acknowledge when someone gives him something out of generosity. He is slow to recognize Haru’s personality, but the progress he makes within the episode show hope for him to be able to open himself up to non-cat entities.

What makes this anime unique is how they focus on Haru’s perspective as well. Despite being a small adorable cat, Haru has internal narration that guides us into its motivations and emotions. While it’s cute to see how determined Haru is to make Subaru pay attention to eating more often, it takes a very dark turn by revealing that Subaru passing out from exhaustion reminds Haru of an encounter they had with a cat that died. It’s as rough as the beginning of the episode, but luckily, the anime is able to bring the focus back into the more hopeful endeavor of Haru being the key to get Subaru to open up to those around him.

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue. is a cute yet emotional slice-of-life that tells the all-too-true story of a person who finds themselves understanding their cat far more than the people around them. It has its darker moments, but overall, it aims to be a more life-affirming anime that tries to show how Haru’s influence might just be what Subaru needs to learn how to love his friends. Through the combined perspectives of Subaru and Haru, it also goes through creative channels to help us understand both characters and the impression they leave on one another. It’ll be neat to see how the show develops from here and what changes Subaru will make now that his cat Haru is starting to teach him how to be more empathetic.

ED Sequence

ED: 「君のとなり わたしの場所」 (Kimi no Tonari Watashi no Basho) by Nanjou Yoshino

Preview

January 9, 2019 at 1:37 pm
7 comments »
  • January 9, 2019 at 10:48 pmzztop

    There’s a cute cat 4-koma with roughly the same beginning as this; but it’s much fluffier/happier in nature.
    https://mangadex.org/title/23279/wonder-cat-kyuu-chan

    Wonder Cat’s more over-the top though; the titular Kyuu-chan can walk on 2 legs, take baths and carry human-sized heavy loads (it happens gradually).

    • January 10, 2019 at 7:07 amChoya

      Thank you for the recommendation. The art looks adorable and definitely looks fluffier and funnier based on the antics the cat can do.

  • January 10, 2019 at 12:03 am:-)

    i taw i taw a putty tat….

  • January 10, 2019 at 2:36 ammac65

    I can relate –

    claiming them to be nuisances that interfere with his creative process.

    Innocent interjection(s) can easily derail the delicate train of thought in the creative process.
    It’s not easy to manage, and I’ve met many (very bright) individuals who have 0 people skills.

    Aside, though, this reminds me of Barakamon except the (sole) cat replaces Naru, but it’s hard
    to imagine (right now) if the show will hit the same levels of cute and warm fuzziness.

    That Haru is the sole survivor of his siblings didn’t really endear itself to me as it seems
    to have been portrayed too casually to make an emotional impact.

    Anyway, is it time for Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken episode 15 yet? …

    • January 10, 2019 at 7:04 amChoya

      I did get Barakamon vibes from it too based on having an easily agitated creative type warm up to people based on his interactions with a cute force of nature. I get where you’re coming from on Haru’s lineage since, as dark as it is for Haru to lose his siblings and see one of his relatives dead, it was portrayed with not as much emotional gravitas as it should’ve. The same can be said about Subaru’s parents as well with how his parents’ deaths or the effect it had on him didn’t come up often, if at all, outside of the first couple minutes.

      It can definitely be hard to focus with noise and whatnot, so I can see the challenge he would face by being challenged to pay attention in crowded places. Even quieter places like libraries can be a challenge to focus at because of the high level of distractions nearby or the general discomfort of being out in public. I absolutely would not be able to write in a cafe or if someone kept barging in so while I wouldn’t go as far as Subaru in expressing his displeasure, I would have difficulty writing anything polished or meaningful with the level of noise or distractions that pull me away from my work.

  • January 12, 2019 at 3:07 pmewok40k

    initial thoughts:
    one intorvert and his cat
    I’m sold!
    also, cats are natural born tsunderes…
    facial expressions of this cat, for the win!

  • January 12, 2019 at 9:38 pmdave_k

    My initial impression is that this is this going to be this season’s Cell’s at Work: a show that’s consistently fun and occasionally serious.

    Hopefully it doesn’t prove me wrong cause I rather enjoyed the first episode.

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