Cat Soup sees an anime cat (big eyes, big head) drowning in a bath-tub only to enter a place where he sees his ill big sister being led away to another place. He tries to save her but he only half rescues her. He himself is rescued by his father and resuscitated and then tries to restore his sister – only managing to partially bring her back to life. The two then set off on a hellish journey to recover a flower which will restore her fully.
If that plot summary sounds linear or like it might make sense then I have done it a disservice because this short film is loaded with weird images and sequences of symbolism associated with death, the power of the sea and many other things that I must confess went over my head. I have seen the tsunami be important as an idea within other Japanese films and there are some other characters and ideas that seem to stem from Japanese culture in here but for me little of it landed. This is of course because my cultural roots are different and I cannot be expected to get things that the target audience have grown up within – although having said that it is also a factor that the short film is off the wall nuts for the majority.
The animation is what makes it worth trying; it is anime cutesy but yet incredibly randomly creative and disturbing. It is like a trip but to say that is to take away from the work that went into crafting each frame and making them flow across 30 minutes. It may watch like an acid trip but it is still very creative and I found it engaging on that level, even though I'm pretty sure it has almost no actual meaning. Worth a look if you appreciate creative and unusual animation styles but in terms of the content and the symbolism I didn't really take anything away from it.
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