First Look: My Roommate is a Cat

Alternative title: Dōkyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue, My Housemate Is on My Lap, But Sometimes on My Head
Manga adaptation by Zero-G
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

A burnt-out writer learns about the healing power of the love of cats.

colons’ verdict: Precious, but Crunchyroll did a bad job with their English name

In my year-end writeup, I mentioned that I had recently discovered a fondness for live-action cat fiction, by way of Rentaneko and the Neko Atsume film. Housemate (which I insist is a much better title than the one Crunchyroll is using) has made me reassess that; I am now pretty convinced that animated cat fiction can and will be better.

Like the Neko Atsume film, Housemate is about a writer in a dry spell whose problems are solved with the power of cat affection. The major difference, and the reason I’m now convinced that animation is a better medium for this kind of story, is that cats can actually be characters. The way this episode is structured would be impossible were it live-action, but works extremely well here.

I… I kind of don’t want to spoil it. If you like cats at all, you’ll like this show.

Euri’s verdict: Housemate > Roommate 

If you’re a pet owner, you may have found yourself wondering about what your pal may be thinking. Personally, my cat has had his fair share of bizarre moments, whether it’s an urge to bolt around the room unprovoked, or just staring into space as if he can see something we can’t. The hook of Housemate, besides being sickeningly adorable, is in showing us that these moments can be explained. This isn’t just a show about the relationship between a human and their cat, it’s also about showing us that our pets are smarter and more understanding than we might believe. Which is good to know, because I’d like to think my cat appreciates me for more than my ability to conjure food.

As colons has said, Housemate has some surprising similarities to that of the live-action Neko Atsume film from 2017, featuring writers that find themselves in a rut and looking for inspiration. That said, Housemate also has a focus on the loss of loved ones, and while it didn’t play a major role in this particular episode, I’m sure we’ll be learning more about how Mikazuki and his fluffy friend Haru go on to support each other emotionally.

Also the opening theme sounds like a knock-off Nyan Cat and I entirely approve of that.

3 thoughts on “First Look: My Roommate is a Cat

  1. “A burnt-out writer learns about the healing power of the love of cats.”

    As someone coming from the manga I was pretty surprised to see someone have this impression from the anime. I guess that while the show is really cute and Haru (the cat) is, it doesn’t do a good job of establishing Subaru and his situation. It’s probably because they don’t have the time nor the good sense of how to spread out information in a short adaptation (unlike Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori last year that did a great job adapting the manga), but it’s a pity regardless. I kind of wish they hadn’t introduced the friend character so soon, and hadn’t framed him as someone who comes by regularly. That kind of defeats the entire premise.

    Without any particular spoilers, Subaru’s deal is – well, supposed to be – that he’s a naturally sensitive and introverted person who regards his imagination as his “safe space”, and due to various issues he retreated there to the point where he prefers to isolate himself from the rest of the world and live in his own, safe comfort zone. It’s not really him being burnt out, it’s that without noticing he ended up being completely alone. I think the manga does a really good job handling his story, so I hope the anime will do it justice.

    • i must confess, the neko atsume film probably predisposed me to that interpretation

      certainly, though, subaru showing up sp early seems like a misstep if they’re gonna be faithful to what you describe, and i look forward to seeing how they handle the rest of this

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