Coming across a show with the age rate of 7+ was never meant to be a life lesson and slight punch over the mid-life crisis. At the first glance, ‘Rilakkuma and Kaoru’ is a very cute stop-motion show telling the story about Rilakkuma and Korilakkuma the bears, Kiiroitori the bird, and the human Kaoru living together in a small apartment. It’s a slice-of-life of Kaoru’s normal human life and her 3 friends throughout the year to which the audience of the age of 20+ might respond with a shout, ‘RELATABLE!’ from the back.
For those who have witnessed silent animated series such as Larva, Oscar’s Oasis, and Shaun the Sheep, this show gives similar approach with not giving lines for the bears and the bird – only coos and chirps giving more endearing details to the cute animals, making them more adorable. The speaking character, Kaoru lives a pretty simple and normal (maybe boring) life of a salary-woman who makes sure her 3 companions have foods and snacks on their plates.
When once again glancing at the age rating of 7+ and the 3 pets, anyone might think this show is too adorable and childish to watch. Now, this is where the problem arises, at least for me. I was EXPECTING an adorable child show, but this show is just a mixture of whimsy and mundane touch with a story that’s too real to digest. While the three whimsical creatures seem to be directed to children, the character of Kaoru is dealing with her independent and repeating life as an office worker and an adult woman.
Job, love-life, friendship; Kaoru’s day resonates around the internal conflict of her feeling worthless and left out. Nothing is ever a taboo in this story; living stuffed animal snacking and getting a job, rant about friends who are busy with their lives and never have time to hang out, and even depression. This show can take a dark turn sometimes; from a story about dancing snowmen in the middle of winter, to the image of Kaoru’s depression represented by the animation of Kaoru falling through a hole into the dark ocean.
On the other side, the presence of Rilakkuma cs is to remind Kaoru about the possibilities and good things in her life. With their innocence impulse, the three stuffed animals are acting as Kaoru’s guide into maturity, learning about forgiveness and acceptance and grasping the knowledge that moving forward from people and moments is a part of growing older.
This story is about the internal growth of a woman that is labeled to be an adult, growing and figuring out a way of life. With the changing of seasons building up such a vibrant ambiance, Rilakkuma and Kaoru might be a new means of psychological therapy for modern minds. It ‘counsels’ you about the uncertain future and unseen paths. Adult life is the petrichor of the fresh rain down on the summer heat. Is it good? Is it sticky? Does it smell good? However, it is blossoming in one way or another.