Do you ever feel depressed about growing up? I’m not sure about anyone else, but I know I sometimes feel like I can’t properly live up to all the expectations and carry so many responsibilities as an adult. I recently watched a short animated show that will warm you heart and make you feel better about such things. If that interests you, read on!
I’ve been obsessing over the short animation She and Her Cat -Everything Flows-. At first, I was attracted to the series because it was adapted from Makoto Shinkai’s original under-five-minute, low-tech, black and white animation She and Her Cat. I am an avid fan of Shinkai’s work. (Side note: If you don’t know about Makoto Shinkai, you have got to watch 5 Centimeters per Second and Garden of Words. He leads projects that have amazing settings and unusual stories about love.) However, this four episode short series, -Everything Flows- wasn’t created by Shinkai, so the feel is distinctly different, yet it’s a brilliant and beautiful adaptation.
The first episode, “She and Her Apartment”, introduces us the Daru the cat, and his owner, Miyu. Miyu’s roommate has just moved out and she is struggling to find a job before graduation to keep living on her own. Miyu’s mother calls her asking her to move back home, but she refuses. The story is set entirely in her apartment and animated in rich warm hues.
We get to see Daru’s life, mostly sitting around and waiting for his owner, while reflecting on her bravery to face each morning.
We also get to see an intimate portrait of a young soon-to-be-college-graduate preparing for life from the viewpoint of her pet. In the scene below, she rehearses for different interviews, looking more and more chagrinned at the words she’s reciting, as if she herself doesn’t believe them.
Daru remarks “Yet again, she stands up straight and opens the heavy door. On the other side of the door is an imperfect world that’s also a bit cruel. She’s doing her best to learn to love that world. And for that, I love her very much.” He stares outside the window of the apartment, gazing at that world beyond.
In the second episode, “She and Her Sky”, Daru tells the story of how he became Miyu’s cat.
We get to learn more about Miyu’s childhood and her relationship with her mom. She is an only child who lived with her mom and transferred to a new elementary school just before she got Daru. At first, she didn’t want him, but slowly, he wormed his way into her heart, eventually earning her her first friend in her new school.
Daru says “I don’t understand what she says, but I can clearly understand what she’s thinking. I’m hungry, aren’t you?” While the series plays this off as a funny moment that really is about food, I think it’s also meant on a deeper level. Both she and her cat are hungry for the world and the opportunities it will offer them.
In the third episode, “She and the Look in Her Eyes,” we are shown when Miyu decided to move out of her mother’s house. She wanted her mother to move on and remarry, but her mother is worried about her living alone. After an argument, Miyu sobs “She’ll never be happy if she doesn’t let me go. But, I always want to be with her too.”
In episode four, “She and Her Story” we come back to the present situation where Miyu is still looking for a job, but hasn’t been able to find one. Her former roommate is getting married, but we learn from an answering machine message that Miyu has said she can not attend the wedding. As the message plays, Miyu says “I’m sorry. I can’t handle it right now. Why can’t I move forward? I wish I were stronger, more of an adult…Help me.” Daru feels his owner’s sadness and when she remains in the apartment huddling in her bed, he takes matters into his own paws. (You’ll have to watch the series to see how he does this and what happens afterwards.)
Scenes from the fourth episode:
She and Her Cat-Everything Flows- is a sweet and timely story about growing up. It makes no qualms about saying growing up is hard to do. Daru’s kind words about his owner’s strength at keeping a routine, brushing her hair, pushing open the door, and heading out into each day are like a soothing pep talk to anyone who’s fallen on difficult times. Doing those small things really is worthy of mentioning and celebrating. Told through the unique perspective of a pet, this coming-of-age story is sure to melt your heart and remind you that you too are moving forward and are brave to be doing so.
Each episode is under six minutes, so you can watch the whole series in under half-an-hour. The series is currently free to watch on Crunchyroll. Do yourself a favor and watch it if you are ever feeling down about your ability to be an adult (or anything else really). Happy Watching!