A Whisker Away parents guide

A Whisker Away Parent Guide

This family friendly anime film comes with messages about believing in yourself and remaining hopeful.

Overall A

Netflix: Miyo Sasaki has fallen in love with a classmate, but struggles to get his attention. However, when Miyo finds a mask that allows her to transform into a cat, she finds a way to build a relationship...but at what cost?

Release date June 18, 2020

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A
Substance Use B

Why is A Whisker Away rated TV-PG? The MPAA rated A Whisker Away TV-PG

Run Time: 104 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Miyo (Mirai Shida) has had a hard time at since her parents’ divorce. Even her school crush, Hinode (Natsuki Hanae) doesn’t seem to notice her. Things are going downhill – until Miyo finds a mysterious Mask Seller (Koichi Yamadera), a large cat who gives her a mask which allows her to transform into a small white cat. In her new guise, Miyo runs into Hinode, who names her Taro and can’t seem to spend enough time with her. But Miyo knows this can’t last forever, and the Mask Seller seems to agree, constantly encouraging her to give up her human face and stay a cat…

Family-friendly anime comes in a few flavors: tragic, cute, and weird. A Whisker Away is the last two. It’s very cute, especially if you like cats, and has a surprisingly touching and heartfelt story. It’s also got a healthy helping of strangeness, mostly in the form of the Mask Seller, who is equal parts Cheshire Cat and Ursula, the campy villainess from The Little Mermaid. It’s a fun combination, but it’s also…weird. That said, there aren’t as many “lost in translation” moments as you sometimes get with anime productions. Not everything that is expected or traditional in Japanese storytelling translates smoothly for a western audience, but by and large this is quite accessible.

But the story has more to it than “cute” and “weird”. Miyo’s struggles with her parents’ divorce and with her new stepmother, Kaoru (Ayako Kawasumi) are surprisingly non-dramatic. Miyo isn’t running around slamming doors and yelling at Kaoru – nor is Kaoru the wicked stepmother, trying to invade Miyo’s family. Instead, both characters are complex and well-rounded and that complexity makes the story much more effective.

A Whisker Away is a good family movie, but only if your crew are quick readers. This production is only available with subtitles, and so younger children who can’t read or can’t read quickly aren’t going to have much fun. On the plus side, there are almost no content concerns, aside from some brief smoking and slapstick violence. Miyo does display some…inadvisable behavior at school, but it does come with consequences. Luckily, she might not have nine lives, but Miyo still manages to land on her feet and learn to value herself. This hopeful message is an important one for tween and teen viewers as they struggle with the challenges of adolescence.

Directed by Jun'ichi Sato & Tomotaka Shibayama. Starring Natsuki Hanae, Hiroaki Ogi, and Mirai Shida. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release June 18, 2020. Updated

Watch the trailer for A Whisker Away

Disney’s The Little Mermaid features a similar body-changing plot. Other family-friendly Japanese anime offerings include Ponyo, Spirited Away, and My Neighbour Totoro.

A Whisker Away
Rating & Content Info

Why is A Whisker Away rated TV-PG? A Whisker Away is rated TV-PG by the MPAA

Violence: There are several scenes of slapstick violence, including pushing, shoving, slapping, and being hit with random objects. An individual jumps off a roof, falls through tree branches, and is shown with some small scratches.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: None.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An individual is shown smoking on two occasions.

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A Whisker Away Parents' Guide

Miyo struggles with her parents’ messy divorce, and with relating to Kaoru, her new step-mother. Resources for both parents and children going through divorce can be found here.

Loved this movie? Try these books…

The Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate features five humans and one alien wh gain the power to transform into animals. There are 54 books in the series.

Book of a Thousand Days features a chilling encounter with a character who transforms into an animal. Written by Shannon Hale, the story is set in an imaginary world that resembles Mongolia.

J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series features wizards who can transform into animals. Animagi become central to the plot in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book in the series.

Dragons who can assume human shape live in uneasy coexistence with humans in Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina. The titular heroine is the daughter of a dragon and a human and struggles to feel comfortable with her identity.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of A Whisker Away movie is June 18, 2020. Here are some details…

Related home video titles:

Disney’s The Little Mermaid features a similar body-changing plot. Other family-friendly Japanese anime offerings include Ponyo, Spirited Away, and My Neighbour Totoro.