Fantasia Film Festival: The Travelling Cat Chronicles Review

The Travelling Cat Chronicles

Film industries around the world have designed animal films to be emotionally manipulative, and Koichiro Miki’s The Travelling Cat Chronicles is no exception. The film follows Satoru and his cat, Nana, as they visit various friends throughout Japan to find a suitable home for Nana. Much like other animal films, The Travelling Cat Chronicles celebrates our unique and loving relationship with cats. 

However, The Travelling Cat Chronicles is not the cutesy family-friendly film that the trailers suggest it is. Instead, it’s a family-friendly melodrama that happens to have adorable animals in it. If you ever had that gutwrenching pain of saying goodbye to a pet, then The Travelling Cat Chronicles will hit you right in the feels. In the end, the film effectively tackles a lot of life issues such as friendship, family, loss, and grief with a positive and loving outlook.

Throughout Satoru’s life, he has faced countless hardships that one can only find in a telenovela or Korean drama. With each friendship revealed to the audience, it’s clear that Satoru has always been a cheerful person, despite his hardships. He’s a loving and attentive person and has tried to do his best for those around him. He is a study in kindness and loneliness. This reflection on the past is episodic by nature (similar structure to the novel of the same name), but it provides a lot of character depth to Satoru’s character.

The situations Satoru goes through is a lot for someone’s lifetime. It’s a storytelling aspect that’s a double-edged sword. On the bright side, it can showcase the kind of upbeat spirit that Satoru has. Despite his tragic life, he always looks at the brighter side of things. In a way, his life is inspirational because, despite the constant tragedy that follows him, he doesn’t let the tragedies define who he is. However, the soap opera storyline does get taxing because of the neverending drama that happens in his life. It’s one after the other, and it can get a bit exhausting. Regardless, you can see in the Sota Fukushi’s performance that he’s hurt, but doesn’t let it change his mood. He is the type of person to look on the bright side of things always and changes emotion on a dime.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles - Sota Fukushi

Despite his loneliness, he finds comfort and companionship with animals — especially with cats. Humans have a special loving bond with pets that is different from other relationships we have in our lives — even though cats aren’t as quick to love humans as dogs do. They’re more sassy and condescending than the other pets out there. This pompous nature is something you can hear with Nana’s thoughts throughout the film.

Nana’s commentary often hits the right beats and complements the story well — though yes, they can get a little cheesy. It also shows a kinder and gentler side of cats that we rarely see in pop culture nowadays. Nana is a proud and very loving cat. He’s loyal to Satoru in the good and bad times. Although Satoru doesn’t show sadness much, Nana knows when he’s is down and always tries to comfort him.

Overall, The Travelling Cat Chronicles effectively tackles a lot of life issues such as friendship, family, loss, and grief with an optimistic and loving outlook. The film’s greatest strength is that it allows the audience to experience empathetic happiness even as Satoru’s soap opera hardships get in the way of that happening. Be sure to grab a box of tissues, and your feline companion because the film aims its sights on animal lovers with skilled precision.

Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

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