In a city somewhere in Japan, there’s a flyer often seen on Third Street with a picture of a cat with a kinked tail, bearing the words: “Have you seen Tama?” A young boy gazes at the flyer, but he has fluffy ears on his head…!? Watch the dogs and cats from Third Street take on a human form and get up to some mischief. (Source: Official Site)
Gosh darn it, if this isn’t the cutest thing I’ve seen all season. Uchitama may use cat-and-dog-earred people as its gimmick, but what it’s really about is the lives of pets outside of their homes, with the human forms doing double duty as both giving viewers a more expressive form for the characters (while cashing in on what is clearly a key theme this season) and providing a little extra absurdity. It works surprisingly well, never losing the feel of actual animals doing their thing with the added joy of seeing humans in ridiculous positions, such as heatbathing under cars or loafing under benches.
And this episode, made up of three short parts, really does a good job of capturing how animals act and interact. While there’s more getting along than not, I’ve absolutely had a dog and a cat who were best friends, and Justin (the cat) certainly did go for walkabouts to the degree that Tama seems to within the show. (And yes, he took Lilly the dog with him on occasion, much like Tama takes Pochi.) Other very familiar actions include Tora deciding that his owner’s laptop must be “Waiha” because it’s so warm and cozy – and decimating the man’s work in the process – and that one stray that all the housecats tolerate eating their food. Sadly, the fact that Nora, the stray, seems to have had a person once also rings true.
While that fidelity to familiar cat and dog behaviors is a major draw here, the way that the animals think and talk to each other also forms a highlight, as does the fact that there are dogs included in the mix of neighborhood animals, although I imagine it will seem odd to some viewers that the dogs apparently have the same freedom as the cats. It does stand out as weird in the story’s urban setting; I would guess that it’s both a storytelling device and a holdover from the franchise’s earlier roots. Why someone keeps feeding Bull pastry is an entirely different issue and we’re doubtless not intended to take umbrage at it the way I did.
The downside here is that this would have worked equally well, if not better, as shorts, as well as the fact that not a whole lot happens from moment to moment. It’s saved by its intense cuteness and charm, as well as the fidelity to domestic animal behavior, but I could see this getting a bit old if it isn’t careful to mix things up each week. Be that as it may, however, this is utterly adorable and absolutely worth checking out, especially if there’s a cat or dog (or both!) currently sharing your life. You can also free Uchi Tama?! Uchi no Tama Shirimasen ka? anime watch online and free download.