After much ado, the shop girl gets a name (and more).
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Subaru sits in his home, eagerly awaiting the shop girl (whose name is actually Nana) from the pet store who is going to teach him how to get Haru’s diet under control. She doesn’t think Haru is terribly overweight, but she’s absolutely stunned by the amount of food that Subaru feeds her. Nana shows Subaru and ingenious invention, made from a water bottle, that will allow Subaru to not only cut down Haru’s diet, but also ensure that she gets some exercise.
Things are going well until Haru gets her paw stuck on Nana’s house key charm. Nana leaves without her key, so Subaru chases after her, with Haru in tow. They catch up with Nana and decide to cut the key off of Haru to avoid hurting her. This means that Subaru will be coming home with Nana. At her place, Haru starts to play with another cat. Nana calls to both of her cats, and Subaru realizes that he can’t do the same for Haru. She teaches him how to call her, and they embrace.
We then switch to Haru’s point of view. Haru is unsure what to make of Nana. She seems better than either Yasaka or Kawasei, but she’s not sure. Nana then pets her, endearing the human to the cat forever. Haru gets her food toy and becomes obsessed with it. She eats until she’s full, and falls asleep due to exertion. When she wakes up, she smells something very familiar on Nana’s house key. Though Subaru tries to keep her from it, she refuses to let go of the key, getting it stuck to her paw.
Once she’s taken to Nana’s to have the key removed, she figures out the source of the smell. Haru’s long lost brother is Nana’s cat! The two of them catch up, trading notes about what has happened to them since they were separated when running from a flock of birds. Haru’s brother now goes by Hachi, and—along with Nana’s other cat Roku—has found a new home here. Haru is happy that someone is looking out for her spoiled baby brother. Hachi then teaches Haru about her name, and that it makes the humans happy when they respond to being called. Subaru calls Haru, and she comes. She’s quickly distracted, though, by Hachi. Subaru is recovering from being ditched when a man who seems to be Nana’s boyfriend walks in the door.
This show breaks my heart in the best way every week. I’m always glad to be getting away from Subaru’s family drama to focus on Haru’s life as an alley cat. The addition of Haru’s brother Hachi to the cast was a fun one, and this week’s final twist was my favorite of the series so far. My Roommate is A Cat is batting a thousand, as far as not making a bad episode goes, and this is one of its strongest entries yet.
Subaru, while less agoraphobic than he was at the beginning of the series, is still very distrustful of anyone who wants to get close to him. This week, his paranoia is going to have to compete with his (seemingly unrecognized) infatuation for Nana when she shows up at his house. This is the first time he’s invited anyone to his home since Haru, and Haru is the ostensible reason for their meeting. Haru continues to be Subaru’s main connection to the outside world, without her spending much time there herself.
Nana, for her part, is clever and effervescent in the way that all anime love interests are. She is infinitely patient and endlessly helpful, but the show’s adorable aesthetic disguises her occasional tropeyness, and the twist does some to separate her from her archetype, even if it pushes her into another one.
I was a big fan of Haru’s brother Hachi in this episode. Despite last week’s dog character not totally connecting with me, the levels of intelligence and naivety gave to each cat is both cute and good characterization. While Haru was the elder and wiser out on the streets, Hachi has a few things to teach her about being a housecat. We didn’t hear much from Roku this episode, but I anticipate him being a major part of some three-cat adventures.
The biggest thing for me this week, though, was the twist. Nana has a boyfriend. More than that, they live together. This is, in context, very serious. It’s one thing to place an obstacle in the way of two characters obviously destined to be together, but this puts a serious wrench in Subaru’s works. It’ll be a while before Subaru is even ready to confront his feelings, but it’s obvious that Nana’s boyfriend is threatened from the moment he laid eyes on Subaru.
While I did appreciate his presence, Nana’s man’s voice is a little too on the nose. Ditto his lines. We’re obviously not supposed to like him, we’ve spent five episodes falling in love with Subaru, so him calling Subaru his “bro” and asking him what’s going on shows a lack of faith in either the audience’s ability to maintain a rooting interest for their protagonist or their lack of confidence in the lovability of their main character. I’m not impressed either way.
This, though, is a minor quibble in an otherwise great episode. My Roommate is A Cat has done nothing but impress me week in and week out. They’ve managed to get much more mileage out of switching narrators at the half than I ever expected. I anticipated being sick of it by this point in the season, but I’ve begun to find myself wondering what Haru could be thinking during the first half of each episode. I can’t recommend this show highly enough for people of all ages. It’s suitable for kids, but it will melt even the coldest of hearts. I’m unabashedly rooting for Subaru, and I hope you are too.