Neko Atsume worked well as a mobile game, but paws-ibly not as a full-length film [Review]

A simple plot and lots of cute felines make this a relaxing watch for pet-lovers

Joshua Lee |

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Masaru is an author with writer's block who tries his hand at collecting cats.

If you were one of the many people that were obsessed with Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector back in 2015, then you’ll be excited to hear that there is now a movie based on the award-winning Japanese mobile phone game.

The film version, entitled Neko Atsume House, has a simple storyline that makes the film genuinely relaxing to watch, and features dozens of adorable cats on the big screen.

The film follows Masaru Sakumoto (Atsushi Ito), a novelist suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. Hoping to find some form of inspiration, he moves from Tokyo to an old house in a quiet village. But the change of environment doesn’t help, and Sakumoto remains as frustrated as ever.

One day, several stray cats show up in Sakumoto’s back garden, and he begins placing food and toys in his garden, hoping to attract more cats. What unfolds is a charming story where Sakumoto learns more about himself and what really matters in life, through his obsession with cat collecting.

This film’s main highlight is its simplicity. Neko Atsume House doesn’t have a lot of drama or conflict, and this makes it genuinely relaxing to watch. It is satisfying to just enjoy the cats playing and having fun on screen, and seeing an down-on-his-luck Sakumoto stumbling through his everyday life is a great source of humour.

Fans will be able to spot some of the game’s iconic toys in the film, like the beach ball or the pyramid tent. You’ll also see some of main cats from the game, although it would have been great to see some of the rarer cats, like Tubbs, Chairman Meow, or Conductor Whiskers.

One issue with this film is the camera movement, as the camera seems to endlessly pan around from scene to scene. In Neko Atsume House this movement is shaky and distracting, but not a deal breaker.

If you’re into fast-paced action and high tension drama, then Neko Atsume House is not for you. But cat lovers and fans of the original mobile game will find the film’s simple storyline and relaxing pace adorably entertaining.

Edited by Jamie Lam