"Miyo - a feline love" is an animated film from 2020 that made its Netflix debut to the delight of Japanese cinema lovers. Directed by Jun'ichi Satō and Tomotaka Shibayama and written by Mari Okada, the film tells of a girl who finds herself bartering her life for that of a cat. As in any film of this type, misunderstandings, remorse and the desire to return to normal will arise. The film is pleasant and fun but, unfortunately, it pales in comparison with other great Japanese animation titles, soon ending up becoming just one of many.
Miyo Sasaki is a girl who manages the divorce of her parents and her father's new partner, with the mother who prefers to disappear from her life, and a crush on Kento Hinode, a boy who goes to class with her. In what must surely be a difficult life for a young girl, a mysterious anthropomorphic cat who calls herself a "mask" offers her the opportunity to become a beautiful kitten, giving up her human life. The charm and light-heartedness of the feline form will lead Miyo to get to know Kento better, to fall in love with him and to better understand his life and feelings. It will be at this point that the trouble begins.
From the point of view of the plot "Miyo - a feline love" offers nothing new or interesting. If you pass the visual spectacle represented by the film, the synopsis is quite simple and even banal. The characters change their mind within a day, without ever stopping to reflect on what is offered to them or their life. The criticism of bullying and parts of Japanese society, of which Japanese films are always rich, is admirable.
Studio Colorido, Toho Animation and Twin Engine have done a really good job. If you fly over the banality of the plot, the film is often a riot for the eyes. We have chosen to take advantage of an urban environment that recalls the traditions of Japan, with old-fashioned houses as they are no longer seen even in the animated series. At the same time, it was preferred to move away from the rowdy Tokyo in favor of a town that could seem more mystical and "country".
The Japanese dubbing is of a high standard, with the likes of Mirai Shida, Natsuki Hanae, Hiroaki Ogi to lend their voices to the characters.
The animations are incredibly well done and, often, cats represent the true work of art in this film. One could safely declare that the whole film is a declaration of love for the felines but some scenes, especially those with Taro, leave you stunned.
The film was slated to hit Japanese theaters in June, but unfortunately the pandemic pushed it in a different direction instead. The rights were sold to Netflix, which immediately released the film for all countries and is slowly working on individual voiceovers. Although the Italian talent is not in question, the advice will always be to look at the work in the original language.