Created by popular anime producer Studio Colorido, A Whisker Away is a quirky yet charming animated film that tells the typical teenage love story in a new and amusing way.

Loud and free-spirited, Miyo (Mirai Shida) is a lovesick teen who struggles to cope with life’s many problems, from her unrequited feelings for a boy to the fallout of her mother abandoning the family. Exuberant and (at times) irritating, she fails to fit in with her peers and feels even more out of place at home. Overwhelmed by her loneliness and frustration, she accepts the bizarre offer of an obese tabby cat who promises her the ability to turn into a cat, if only she takes one of his masks. 

Courtesy of Netflix

With a magical mask in hand, Miyo finds life as a cat far more enjoyable than that of a teenage girl. Most importantly, she can finally get close to Kento (Natsuki Hanae), the handsome but closed off classmate she’s liked for a long time. Soon she’s spending all her afternoons with him, cuddled up in his arms, and learning more about his life than she ever did as a human.

Perfect right? Not quite. Firstly, the weird, all-knowing tabby who sold her the mask keeps showing up asking for her human face. If he manages to get his way, she’ll be stuck as a cat forever and he’ll receive her lifespan. Secondly, the scenes between Kento and Miyo in cat form are difficult to watch – yes, they are sometimes cute, but mostly they are creepy. After all, he has no idea who she is and she’s as good as stalking him. As such, it can make for some uncomfortable viewing.

Courtesy of Netflix

Thankfully, these scenes aren’t too common, and there are plenty of sweet moments outside of the cat world to make up for it. Plus, romance does blossom between the two when they are human, and it’s just what you’d want: cute, awkward and perfectly imperfect. That said, Miyo and Kento have a rocky road ahead of them. Half the time they don’t seem to know their own feelings, let alone the other’s. Add in a whole other world where cats live like humans, and you have some serious twists in this couple’s tale of woe.

As with any teen romance, there’s miscommunication, hurt feelings and rash decision-making, but the strange world in which the film is set makes up for any cliché storylines. A Whisker Away pairs a unique plot with familiar tropes and amusing dialogue to create something that’s a little different but mostly safe. It’s a perfect anime for newbies to dip their toes into, while still pleasing those who have been fans of the genre for years. If you’ve been curious about anime in the past, but haven’t known where to start, this could be the perfect film for you.

Watch A Whisker Away on Netflix now.