A Whisker Away (2020) Review

A Whisker Away (2020) Review

Directed by: Junichi Sato, Tomotaka Shibayama

Written by: Mari Okada

Starring: Mirai Shida, Natsuki Hanae, Hiroaki Ogi

Rated: TV-PG

Run-Time: 1h 44m

Genre: Drama

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Available on Netflix

A peculiar girl transforms into a cat to catch her crushes attention. But before she realizes it, the line between humans and animal starts to blur. (Netflix)

The trailer for A Whisker Away immediately brings you in with the visuals of a cute animated cat, but if you’re like me and only saw it in passing when browsing through Netflix. The movie is about a cute animated cat, but it’s a little more complicated than that. 

A Whisker Away takes you into a whimsical world that’s softly developed in a very Ghibli-eque manner. What you find is that in this world there is a cat merchant, who, in exchange for your human face, will give you a mask that allows you to become a cat (your face is then in turn provided to a cat who is then able to take your place). Of course, you are given a trial period, so see whether you really want to be a cat. To an extent the film is reminiscent of Ghibli’s The Cat Returns, but doesn’t manage to quite hit the mark. 

The film seems to be an attempt to capture the whimsy such a story told through animation can have, but falls short. It’s not easy to say where because there’s nothing blaringly wrong with the film. It’s unique, but not so unique that you can say you’ve never seen anything like it before, because you probably have. It’s beautifully animated, but doesn’t do anything special in regards to it’s animation. The characters aren’t memorable, even after watching the movie twice I can only remember two characters’ names, primarily because of how often the names were said. Otherwise, there isn’t much to say about them. The motivations for what they did was relatable, but the way they handled it wasn’t which made it hard to truly relate to them. The film wasn’t engrossing as films should be, rather than being transported to another magical world, the film feels like nothing more than… well a film. In the end, I can’t say I regret watching it, but it’s not a movie you’d be excited to watch more than once.

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A World of Secrets Review

A World of Secrets Review

by James Maxwell

Publisher 47North

Print Length: 304

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Special thanks to Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for providing me with an eARC.

A World of Secrets will be available on Amazon July 16, 2020

Taimin and Selena must discover the truth about their world—before it’s too late.

In a world of secrets, Taimin and Selena are desperate for answers. They need to discover the truth about their origins and the firewall that borders the wasteland. If they don’t find the hidden path they seek, the citizens of Zorn will die.

As they make the perilous journey to the distant firewall, Taimin and Selena are joined by three companions: a young healer, a weapons trader, and an old rover. Together the five are in constant danger, unable to rely on Selena’s powers as she has lost the ability to farcast—and she doesn’t know how to get it back.

Now Taimin finds himself hunted by a new enemy—a strange creature on a bloodthirsty quest of his own. Taimin and Selena get ever closer to the answers that are essential to their survival. But will they learn the truth in time to save themselves? (Goodreads)

An exciting sequel to The Girl from Nowhere, A World of Secrets is a follow-up readers dream of. The story is interesting and well-paced and isn’t hard to understand if you’ve read the first book (which, in the case of this series is 100% required reading). The first book was an enjoyable read, but the second is only an improvement. It’s quick read and almost impossible to put down. With much of the world-development layed out in the first book the second takes the time to develop its characters more. With that said there is still more of this world to discover. And though the story at times comes off as predictable, it’s predictable in the sense that the events make sense to the story and the reveals are exciting “I knew it!” moments. 

There is always room for improvement, of course, in the realm of writing. There are a large number of redundant descriptions as well as unnecessarily ones. Additionally some developments in character relationships seemed sudden and which added to a disconnect between the reader and the characters. Some revelations could have been handled better, but suffice regardless. 

I would recommend this series to any science fiction fan, especially readers who are interested in series that include humans interacting with other species. The first book was good, the second great, and I have high hopes for the conclusion of the series.

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