After the success of his published novel and the autograph signing, Subaru must now begin work on a new series. The problem is, Subaru’s been hit with a bad case of writer’s block, and can’t think of anything else to write. While looking out into his backyard one day, Subaru pays attention to the backyard garden for the first time. Subaru’s kind neighbor informs him that his mother planted all of the plants and flowers in the garden from seedlings that she brought home from her various travels. Apparently, Subaru’s mother planted all of these things to bring Subaru joy.
Seeing that Subaru is struggling so badly with writer’s block, Kawase suggests that Subaru take a small trip to have a change in perspective. Amazingly, Subaru agrees to this. Subaru decides to travel to Tokushima prefecture—the last travel destination that his parents took before their fatal accident. Subaru’s attempt at taking Haru to a pet hotel fail, so he leaves the cat at home and asks his friend Hiroto to check in on Haru.
With that, Subaru sets out to Tokushima, even staying in the same inn his parents stayed at. While in Tokushima, Subaru is constantly reminded of his parents, and deeply saddened that he didn’t appreciate their presence more while they were still alive. Before he leaves for the airport on his last day in Tokushima, Subaru is able to obtain some indigo flowers to bring back home with him. But when he gets to the airport, he is shocked to find that all flights have been cancelled due to the sudden stormy weather.
I’ve watched enough slice-of-life anime by now that I was able to correctly predict that My Roommate is a Cat would make some attempt at a dramatic two-parter ending. Even knowing this, I found this episode to be emotionally hard-hitting. We see how far Subaru has come since the first episode of the series, but we also see him mourning his parents more visibly than ever before. I am fortunate as my parents are still alive, but I can only imagine how painful this episode would be for those who have lost one or both parents.
Despite the melancholy tone of this episode, it was also a bit inspiring and cathartic to see Subaru visit his parents’ last travel destination. In order to take the trip at all, he had to face his fears of going outside of his house, and overcome his crippling social anxiety. It’s also notable that Subaru takes some flowers with him before he heads home—intending to plant them in his garden, in the planter his mother left behind. Subaru is essentially completing his parents’ journey by doing so. People mourn and honor their parents in different ways, and it’s nice to see an anime that actually takes a long look at this process.
(As an aside, the more I think about this episode, the sadder this episode becomes. While Subaru regrets not going on the last trip with his parents, it’s because he DIDN’T go that he’s still alive at all… Oof.)
We don’t get to see much of Haru’s perspective this time, which interesting. I suppose the episode writers/directors didn’t want to take too much focus away from Subaru. It also sets things up nicely for a Haru-centric episode next week. The only minor gripe I have with this episode is that Subaru gave up way too easily in trying to take Haru to a pet hotel. He only tried to get Haru in a pet carrier ONCE during the episode and then just went “NOPE.” I know Haru had to be left at home for “plot reasons,” and that the scene was likely rushed due to a lack of airtime; but this plot point felt just a tiny bit flimsy. Well, at least Subaru did actually consider taking Haru to a pet hotel in the beginning, which should quell all the “why didn’t he just take her to a pet hotel?” questions.
Minor criticism aside, I felt that this was a very good episode. It ultimately ends on a cliffhanger, which has been a rarity for this series. Although Subaru’s current situation seems dire, I can’t fathom this anime having a tragic ending—not with all the trials and character development that Subaru had gone through to get to this point. While I am 95% sure that the My Roommate is a Cat anime will have a happy ending, I still really hope that is the case in next week’s episode. Please let Subaru and Haru be happy.
Out of five: