A Whisker Away

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A Whisker Away
Nakitai Watashi wa Neko o Kaburu poster.png
Official Japanese release poster
Japanese name
Literal meaningWanting to Cry, I Pretend to Be a Cat
Revised HepburnNakitai Watashi wa Neko o Kaburu
Directed by
Written byMari Okada
CinematographyShinya Matsui
Music byMina Kubota
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • June 18, 2020 (2020-06-18)
Running time
104 minutes

A Whisker Away (Japanese: 泣きたい私は猫をかぶる, Hepburn: Nakitai Watashi wa Neko o Kaburu, lit. "Wanting to Cry, I Pretend to Be a Cat") is a 2020 Japanese animated film produced by Studio Colorido, Toho Animation and Twin Engine. Directed by Junichi Sato and Tomotaka Shibayama, the film was released on June 18, 2020, on Netflix in Japanese.

Originally slated to premiere with the Japanese release of the film, the English dub's release was delayed until June 28, 2020, when it was officially released on Netflix.[1][2][3]


Miyo Sasaki is an unhappy middle school girl living in the town of Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture. She does not get along with her stepmother Kaoru. She always flirts with her crush, Kento Hinode, in spite of his repeated rejections. One day, she receives a magical Noh mask from a mysterious mask seller, which lets her become a cat. As "Tarō", she spends time with Hinode, keeps him company while he studies Japanese pottery, and listens to his problems. She longs to confess that the cat he loves and the girl he barely knows are the same person.

One day, Miyo overhears boys at school talking trash about Hinode and loudly intervenes by jumping off the school building to defend his honor. She hurts herself during the jump, and for the first time, Hinode shows warmth as he takes her to the nurse and shares his lunch with her. Later that evening, as Tarō, Miyo learns that Hinode's family is closing their pottery shop, as the family can no longer afford it. The need to cheer him up inspires Miyo to confess her love in a letter. In class, a boy snatches the note before she can deliver it and reads it aloud, embarrassing Miyo and Hinode. Hinode saves face by publicly telling Miyo that he hates her.

Miyo decides that life with Hinode as a cat is better than life without him as a human, and her human face falls off in the form of a porcelain mask. The mask seller claims her face and tells her that he will give it to a cat who wants to become human. Miyo's friends and family begin searching for her, including Hinode, who confesses to Tarō that he doesn't really hate her. Trapped in her cat body, Miyo begins losing her ability to understand humans and regrets her choice. Kinako, Kaoru's cat, obtains Miyo's human face and takes over her human life. She refuses to return Miyo's face, explaining that she is approaching the end of her natural lifespan but wishes to continue living and bring happiness to her owner.

Miyo follows the mask seller to the secret Island of Cats to convince him to turn her back into a human. Kinako comes to understand just how much Miyo's stepmom loved her cat and has a change of heart. She reveals the secret of the masks to Hinode and takes him to the island to save Miyo. Kinako gives Hinode a cat mask, which turns him into a half-cat. Kinako and Hinode are trapped by the mask seller but are rescued by Miyo and another cat who used to be a human.

The mask seller takes Miyo and Hinode to the "promised place" and attempts to finalize their transformations by extracting their lifespan, but is foiled by all of the resentful humans that he had previously turned into cats. As they travel back to the human world, Miyo and Hinode confess their love to each other and Kinako returns Miyo's face, returning her to normal.

The credits show Miyo telling her friend about how Hinode loves her, Hinode telling his mother that he wants to do pottery, and Hinode doing Miyo's signature "Hinode sunrise attack" to her.

Voice cast[edit]

Character Japanese voice English voice
Miyo "Muge" Sasaki / Tarō Mirai Shida[4] Cherami Leigh
Kento Hinode Natsuki Hanae[4] Johnny Yong Bosch
Kusugi-sensei Hiroaki Ogi Robert Buchholz
Hajime Fukushi Ochiai[5]
Mask Seller Kōichi Yamadera Keith Silverstein
Kaoru Mizutani Ayako Kawasumi Laura Post
Masamichi Isami Kensho Ono Griffin Burns
Yoriko Fukase Minako Kotobuki Erika Harlacher
Miki Saitō Sayaka Ohara Reba Buhr[6]
Tamaki Rei Sakuma[5]
Yōji Sasaki Susumu Chiba Todd Haberkorn
Sugita Oolongta Yoshida[5]
Kenzo Hinode Motomu Kiyokawa Kirk Thornton
Shōta Bannai Wataru Komada Bryce Papenbrook
Kakinuma Shin-ichiro Miki[5]
Ayumu Niibori Yūsuke Nagano Griffin Puatu
Tomoya Sakaguchi Daisuke Namikawa
Kinako Eri Kitamura[5] Cristina Vee
Yumi Hinode Rina Kitagawa
Shiori Mizoguchi Rie Hikisaka Kira Buckland
Sachiko Hinode Emi Shinohara


Alley in Tokoname with reinforced pottery walls as seen in the film

The film was animated by Studio Colorido.[7] The film takes place in Tokoname, Japan, since director Shibayama Tomotaka grew up there. Many scenes in the film are directly taken from actual places in the town.[8][9][10]

The theme song, "Hana ni Bōrei" (A Ghost in a Flower), and its ending theme, "Usotsuki" (The Lying Moon), are both performed by Japanese rock duo Yorushika.[11]


In May 2020, a manga adaptation was announced. Its first volume was released on June 10, 2020.[12]

No. Release date ISBN
01 June 18, 2020978-4041096192
  • Chapters 1–3
02 December 10, 2020978-4041108093
  • Chapters 4–


The film was originally scheduled for release in Japanese theaters on June 5, 2020, but it was pulled from the schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[13] The film was then sold to Netflix who released it digitally on June 18, 2020.[14] On September 18, 2020, it was announced the film would have a limited theatrical run in Japan throughout October 2020.[15] In Japan, the film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 23, 2021.[16]


On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 14 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10.[17] Lawrence Bennie of UK Film Review awarded it four out of five stars, calling it "Sweet, cute and charming", and "a great piece of anime escapism".[18] Jamie Morris of LeftLion also awarded it a positive review, saying it will "give plenty of people a reason to smile."[19]


  • Asian Academy Creative Awards "Best Animation Work Award"[20] (in Japanese)
  • The 24th Japanese Media Arts Festival Animation Division "Excellent Work Award"[21] (in Japanese)


  1. ^ WTK [@WTK] (June 18, 2020). "A Whisker Away (subtitled) is now streaming on Netflix (English dub delayed)" (Tweet). Archived from the original on June 18, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2021 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ WTK [@WTK] (June 29, 2020). "ICYMI, A Whisker Away (with English dub) is now streaming on Netflix" (Tweet). Archived from the original on June 29, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2021 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ Llewellyn, Tom (June 29, 2020). "A Whisker Away: English dubbing finally released on Netflix". HITC. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Sherman, Jennifer (January 27, 2020). "Studio Colorido's Original Anime Film Nakitai Watashi wa Neko o Kaburu Opens on June 5". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e Pineda, Rafael Antonio (May 28, 2020). "A Whisker Away Anime Film's Video Reveals New Cast Members". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  6. ^ Buhr, Reba [@rebabuhr] (July 7, 2020). "Yep dats me!" (Tweet). Retrieved July 7, 2020 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Filart, Matt (June 12, 2020). "Here's Everything We Know About Netflix's Upcoming Anime 'A Whisker Away'". TheThings. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  8. ^ Montoya, Alfonso (May 1, 2020). "A Whisker Away: Netflix release date and trailer". Summary.org.
  9. ^ "You can now visit the setting of "A Whisker Away" in Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture". Grape Japan. July 20, 2020.
  10. ^ "You Can Now Visit Real-Life Locations of 'A Whisker Away' in Japan". 9GAG. July 20, 2020.
  11. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (June 12, 2020). "A Whisker Away Anime Film's Video Reveals Yorushika Ending Song". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  12. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (May 17, 2020). "Studio Colorido's A Whisker Away Anime Film Gets Manga". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  13. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (April 26, 2020). "Nakitai Watashi wa Neko o Kaburu Film Delayed Due to COVID-19". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  14. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (April 29, 2020). "Colorido's A Whisker Away Anime Film Streams Globally on Netflix on June 18". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  15. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (September 21, 2020). "A Whisker Away Film Gets Limited Theatrical Run After COVID-19 Delay". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  16. ^ "Nakitai Watashi wa Neko wo Kaburu DVD/Blu-ray". Nakitai Watashi wa Neko wo Kaburu Website. March 19, 2021. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  17. ^ "A Whisker Away". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  18. ^ Bennie, Lawrence (June 19, 2020). "A Whisker Away Netflix film review". UK Film Review. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  19. ^ Morris, James (June 18, 2020). "Film Review: A Whisker Away". LeftLion. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  20. ^ "Japan's first! Winner of the Best Animation Work Award "I want to cry I wear a cat"". Sanspo. December 4, 2020. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  21. ^ "The 24th Animation Category Excellence Award". Japan Media Arts Festival. Retrieved August 17, 2021.

External links[edit]