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Geek It! Animation Review: Rilakkuma and Kaoru

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One of Netflix’s best animated series, RILAKKUMA AND KAORU is guaranteed to warm your heart with its cuteness. Here is our review:

Set in Japan, Kaoru is a normal human woman who lives with three roommates: two bears Rilakkuma (the big brown bear) and Korilakkuma (the smaller white bear) and a pet chick, Kiirotori. Immediately, this setting along with its characters is one-of-a-kind — how often do we see ‘pets’ co-living with humans anyway?

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But this setting isn’t the one that we are visually accustomed to as the art form is neither live-action or computer generated animation. Instead, this story of Rilakkuma and Kaoru is told in stop-motion — a form of animation that is still considered underrated.

From the furniture of the house to the fur on Rilakkuma’s body, the glorious attention to every minuscule detail is astonishingly mind-blowing. But no stone is left unturned in this quaint and magical world as the attention to detail goes beyond Kaoru’s home. Cherry blossoms floating in the air. The detail of the surrounding rustic buildings. Displaying a deep reverence for Kaoru’s world, it just shows the amount of time and effort that animators put into their work.

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As you may or may not know, Rilakkuma is based on a Japanese stationery character. As fans of cute characters, we were ecstatic to see our favourite plushies being brought to life. From the way they get excited over snacks to the way they’re curious about new items, it is highly satisfying to see them ‘alive’ in action. Even though they don’t speak at all, they still make cute sounds when they talk or interact with people.

For a show that is marketed at young viewers, the show surprisingly caters towards people in their twenties. Stealing the limelight just as much as Rilakkuma, Kaoru is a young adult dealing with problems of a twenty-something woman. Kaoru is kind, caring, and always determined to do her best in everything. Despite living with three housemates, Kaoru spends quite a bit of time contemplating about her life and personal dilemmas.

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All her friends have their own families now; everyone thinks she is too serious; she is under great pressure to have a boyfriend and get married; and she is undervalued at work whilst continuing to work long hours. As a result, we often see Kaoru feeling hopeless, depressed, and expressing her mental insecurities.

But despite having many bad days, she does her best to stay busy and positive by taking one day at a time. If it weren’t for her housemates, Kaoru wouldn’t be where she is today. With such relatable thoughts and emotions, the story will no doubt hit hard with adult viewers.

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RATING: B+

RILAKKUMA AND KAORU may seem like a children’s show but this wonderful stop-motion animated series is a precious gem. Captivating viewers with its story and characters, this series will leave fuzzy warm feelings in your heart for a long time. Time to Netflix and chill! 

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