Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
She and Her Cat is a five-minute OVA anime short created by Makoto Shinkai. Shinkai created almost everything for the short except for the music; the music was done by his friend, Tenmon. This black and white short tells about a relationship between a male cat and his female owner, with the story being told from the cat's perspective. She and Her Cat is the first project that Makoto Shinkai directed. Shinkai provided the voice of the cat, while Miko Shinohara (Shinkai's fiancee) provided the voice for the cat's owner.
Since the story is being told from the cat's perspective, it makes sense that the short is in black and white (since it is believed that cats can't distinguish colors). When I finished watching the short, I was originally disappointed that some information never came out in it; for example, what was it about the phone call that upset the cat's owner so much? But as I think about it, I realize that since the story is being told from the cat's perspective, the cat wouldn't know what was going on. The cat could explain what he could see, such as the tears and her reactions to the phone call, but he would have no idea what was truly being said during the conversation.
She and Her Cat was originally released in 1999, and won the DoGA CG Animation contest Grand Prix in 2000. The short is included on the American DVD release of Shinkai's Voices of a Distant Star. There are actually three versions included: a "Digest Version" (which runs for one-and-a-half minutes), a three-minute version, and the full five-minute version.
To be honest, I don't understand the point of the shorter versions. As expected, if you start with the "Digest Version" and work your way up to the full-length version, more and more details come out. Personally, I thought the full-length version was the strongest, and I really didn't see a need for the shorter versions.
The short is rather well-done for its runtime, and is illustrated with some very interesting animation. The animation is definitely a more rudimentary version of what would later be seen in Voices of a Distant Star and The Place Promised in Our Early Days.
She and Her Cat doesn't contain anything, in my opinion, that would be offensive or inappropriate for younger children. However, even with the short runtime, I'm not entirely sure that younger children would be able to completely enjoy the short, because it is subtitled and does not have an English dub. Older children who can read the subtitles would probably get some enjoyment from the short. She and Her Cat can also be appreciated by adults.
In order to write this review, I borrowed a copy of the Voices of a Distant Star DVD from Blockbuster.