The world is a confusing and, often times, frightening place. As such, growing up can be quite the experience. There are new faces, new places and an ever growing list of activities to learn. Of course, it certainly helps to have people around you, willing to impart their knowledge and assist your learning. A group who calmly explains the rights and wrongs of your actions, and points you down the correct path. A necessity of life…especially if you’re a cat.
Meet Chi, a young kitten who one day strayed too far from her mother and found herself lost in a park. Sad and lonely, she is found by a young boy named Youhei and happily taken home by him and his mother. In the process of finding the her a home, the family become attached to the cute little kitten and the whole “finding her a home” thing becomes less and less important. After failing to discover a suitable home, the family decides to keep the cat for themselves, in flagrant violation of their rent agreement. This of course introduces the “villain” of the series: the Apartment Manager *dun dun duun!* With a strict “No Pets Allowed” policy in place, the family is forced to keep the newest acquisition to their family a secret, which isn’t the easiest thing to do when said member is a hyperactive cat.
As the series progresses, the family is forced to rather quickly learn how to care for a kitten. Be it the right food to buy, the kind of toys that would be best or, most importantly, how to toilet train. The latter is a rather important factor for a while, what with the kitty preferring to do her business on freshly washed laundry than in the litter box. It is however during this chaos that the kitten receives the name Chi, after mistaking the word (which Youhei uses to voice his need to use the bathroom) as her name. Of course immediately after this this series stops using the word Chi for anything other than her name, with needing to pee mentioned perhaps one other time in the whole series (wouldn’t want to confuse the younger viewers).
Though not an intricately constructed plot of twists, turns and shock reveals, Chi’s Sweet Home does have some depth to it. The simplest way this is achieved is via us actually being able to understand Chi, though the humans within the series still hear nothing but meows. This grants the series a form of two way conversation, wherein we hear both sides of an argument, even if those involved can’t. Chi’s dialogue is also used to make her even cuter, by showing that most of the actions the family view as bad are simple misunderstandings on her part, usually involving her wanting to play. The English subtitles also really ram home the cute thing by replacing all of Chi’s Ls with Ws, resulting in her most oft spoken phrase “Wet’s pway!” Awww.
In addition to learning how to be a good pet, Chi also slowly learns how to be a good cat with help from a fellow feline who hangs around the apartments. Having entered a human household so young, Chi is completely unaware of what cats are supposed to do, originally claiming that cats are not even her kind, but rather Youhei, Mum and Dad are. Again, awww. Though she eventually gets the hang of certain cat behaviours, this forms a kind of clash with her family life. What is a triumphant moment in being a cat, such as learning to jump high, becomes a negative when she returns home, as said jumping entices her to climb the family’s new curtains. Conversely, being a good house cat metes Chi’s outdoor survival skills, with her penchant for loud playing scaring away the prey she seeks. It sure is tough being Chi isn’t it? You know, apart from the free food, free housing, free toys, unconditional love…
Now before you cower before the almighty episode count of this series, which comes in at an impressive 104, there is something you must know: each episode is only 3 minutes long. So all in all it’ll take you roughly the same amount of time it would take to finish a regular 12 episode anime to finish Chi. That being said, I hope you enjoy the theme song, because you’ll be hearing it 104 times. It’s either that or sitting with the remote close at hand so you can fast forward it, not skip mind you, doing that jumps from one episode to the next. Not a majorly detrimental factor of this release, but one you should note. However, with all the pros and cons of a three minute run time being said, the series possesses a surprising amount of continuity. As brief moments in the life of Chi, the story slowly develops as the family become more attached to her and her to them. Some episodes are even broken into parts, or simply bleed into the next one, though the term “cliffhanger” may be overstating things a bit.
If there’s one thing that can be said about Chi’s Sweet Home, it’s that it is one of the cutest series ever. Seriously, just look at her, with those big eyes and smiley face. Even the human family in the series is cute, though their eyes take the opposite style and are represented as dots. The overall colour scheme is also very soft, no harsh contrasts or solid colour edges, just in case the actual visuals weren’t pleasant enough for you.
Chi’s Sweet Home is, unsurprisingly, a sweet little series. With cute characters, cute relationships and cute visuals, one could even go as far as to call this series cute. That being said, the overarching plot is surprisingly thoughtful when you step back and look at it, especially when Chi’s short attention span is used to explain how she mostly forgets about her feline family in favour for her human one. Though these sombre moments are greatly outweighed by the humour that comes with owning a kitten…humour from an external perspective of course, it’s a lot less fun when your pet tears up your possessions. Regardless, Chi takes all the fun and innocence of owning an itty bitty kitty and displays it in charming animation for kids of all ages to enjoy. Although actual kids will certainly find it far more entertaining…permitting they can actually read the subtitles.
Find a sweet home all your own at Siren Visual