Saturday, September 15, 2018

REVIEW: Chi's Sweet Home (anime TV series)

Chi's Sweet Home is an adorable slice-of-life comedy. I watched the second season (series?), Chi's Sweet Home: Chi's New Address, six years ago, but between now and then I've also read the entire manga series. I picked up this particular boxed set during a sale and kind of wish I'd gotten the second one as well. I suppose I had a good reason not to, though. No shelf space!

Chi's Sweet Home adapts most of the first three volumes of the manga into 104 3-minute episodes. The Yamadas find Chi, a kitten that accidentally became separated from her family, and take her in despite living in an apartment that doesn't allow cats. They try to find a home for her but fail, and eventually realize they want to keep her themselves. Unfortunately, that may be a difficult decision to stick to if their apartment manager finds her and they're faced with the choice of either giving her away or being evicted.

Overall, the series is very light and gentle. There's the threat of Chi being discovered, Chi's occasional vague and slightly heartbreaking memories of her mother and siblings, and the part where Chi was accidentally locked outside during a severe storm. That's about it as far as stressful content goes, and even that stuff is depicted as gently as possible. There are no cats in Chi's Sweet Home that get run over by cars, or die of old age (or anything else for that matter).

I don't know if it's just that I watched Chi's New Address at the perfect time in my life, but I felt like it was slightly better than Chi's Sweet Home. That said, this was still an excellent series, and I enjoyed watching Chi be cute. She and Yohei, the Yamada's well-behaved young son, were great together, and Mr. and Mrs. Yamada's attachment to Chi was sweet. I don't think there were any episodes I disliked, although some moments were more memorable than others. I loved the episode where Chi and Yohei struggled to find games they were willing to play together, and Mr. and Mrs. Yamada's efforts to win over Chi whenever they upset her (by taking her to the vet, or accidentally making a loud noise) reminded me of some of my own interactions with my cat. I did find the litterbox episodes to be a bit frustrating, though. Surely they could have found a "quick guide to owning your first cat" somewhere.

I had completely forgotten about the overly enthusiastic pet store lady, as well as the way Chi first met Blackie, the "bear cat." Chi's interactions with Blackie were wonderful. I loved the way he acted as a sort of gruff surrogate parent, teaching her about cat things that the Yamadas couldn't (or wouldn't, since I guarantee they wouldn't want her to know how to steal food or mark territory).

I thought Chi was at her best when she behaved most like a cat, doing things that felt right to her even though they baffled or frustrated her owners. While the hide-and-seek episodes were cute, they made it seem a bit too much like Chi understood the rules of the game.

All in all, this was a cute series, just like Chi's New Address, which I'd eventually like to get in order to complete my collection.


Most of the boxed set is English subtitles only, but the first four episodes are also available dubbed in English. It's the strangest extra I've ever seen. Why go to the effort of only dubbing the first four episodes of a series? Although I preferred the Japanese language track, this is one of those series that I wish had gotten a full English dub, because I think children would love it.

I believe this is my first Eastern Star/Discotek purchase ever. Maybe this sort of "extra" is how they usually do things?

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