this is tagged 'kids' but it definitely is for adults...
what i love about rilakkuma's designs is that they are very cute but aren't targeted solely at women. the unusual visuals and sound design are incredible and are integral to the anime's themes.
this series is mostly about mental hygiene and managing your anxieties. these include common ones like career indecision and money problems but it also tackles social issues like compulsive behavior, our relationship with the internet and such. there are a lot of hugs, crying, and laughs and the viewer will feel compelled to connect with their own feelings.
the strangest thing is that rilakkuma and
co. can't speak and mostly have emoticon-like expressions. however, their feelings are clearly understood and felt. i believe one of the intents of the creators was to invite the viewers to become more honest with themselves and living with integrity being a priority.
also rilakkuma is a very relaxed bear. the chillest bear ever. this means the anime conveys a very forgiving approach to life. reminding the audience that it's okay to do mistakes, that having trouble socially is not a sign of weakness and that being good towards oneself is always positive.
the warm feeling of intimacy at kaoru's home, the different atmosphere at her work, and the always soothing breeze of the seasons are all things that are beautifully rendered in the show and should be appreciated by everyone. if you like works with elements which you can relate to your real life to an extent, rilakkuma to kaoru-san is a must watch.
Rilakkuma and his friends began their lives as mascots developed by the San-X company in 2003. Their initial appearance in children’s picture books made them desirable for very young children to acquire merchandise of—rather that be stuffed animals, notebooks, or anything else their little hearts desired. (Such is the genius of companies like this who manufacture adorable characters to essentially print money.)
After sixteen years, the characters (and their fans) are getting up there in age. (Thankfully due to the magic of animation, Rilakkuma and his friends will always appear the same age, with the same cuteness.) Some
of the kids who walked around with Rilakkuma backpacks are old enough to have kids of their own. As such, perhaps in response to the success (and associated merchandise sales) with older viewers from Netflix and Sanrio’s Aggretsuko, San-X decided to try creating something similar—a series which worked on separate levels for adult and child viewers.
Rilakkuma and Kaoru follows the daily life of Kaoru, a hard-working woman in Tokyo who’s struggling to find her value in life. Thankfully, she’s got some friends to offer her a unique perspective on life: Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, and Kiiroitori, to be exact. Despite the initial bizarreness of seeing a woman living with two bears and an abnormally-skilled bird, no one in the world of the series seems to be bothered by it. In fact, having anyone be bothered by it would likely take away from the atmosphere of the series.
Rilakkuma and Kaoru, while not shying completely away from conflict, is set up to be a very calm series. Most conflict is restricted to things like “Oh no, we burnt the pancakes!”. It is little problems like this, and the often humorous solutions that the bears and the bird come up with, that will keep child viewers entertained (though I’m sure adults won’t mind the cuteness either).
At the same time, there is an underlying level of conflict that adults will be able to pick up on with the character of Kaoru. She is a single office woman who struggles with feelings of being unwanted/useless to her company and the world around her and is sometimes desperate to a fault to make something of herself. She is a character a lot of adult viewers can see themselves in, and perhaps grow from based on her experiences.
If I had to knock on the series at all, it’d be that the length of it keeps it from reaching its full potential. It tells a great, quick story, but it’s something that I could see on children’s TV airing in two 11-minute segments to reach a full half-hour (with commercials). As it stands, there’s not enough for it to potentially receive that kind of syndication. There’s plenty more of the world that stands to be explored (will we ever know what’s under Rilakkuma’s zipper?). Hopefully we’ll get an announcement for another season soon.
Rilakkuma and Kaoru is one of the shows that makes Netflix worth it.
A lot of people find stop motion creepy, but I found it endearing in this case. Rilakkuma and his animal friends look like plushies, which captures the source material of fluffy collectibles really well. The humans don't look quite as good as the animals, but their designs aren't ugly or anything. Aside from the character models, the settings also look amazing. They all look like little, cute dollhouses, but simultaneously they look like real places to live in. Sure, being stop motion it doesn't look flawless, but I think that's part of the
charm and style of it.
3 of the main characters don't talk, but their personalities are well conveyed by their actions and the little sounds they make. Rilakkuma is a big, lazy boy who spends a lot of his time sleeping or eating, Korilakkuma is a bit more childish, but also more responsible than Rilakkuma. Kiroiitori acts like an overworked maid, although like the bears, he also thinks about sweets a lot. Your heart will break when you see tears in Rilakkuma's eyes, as well.
The story is very simplistic, but it fits well with the short runtime, and each episode has a small but very sweet message that ties it all together at the end. While Kaoru at first is a really depressing sort of character, we get to see her overcome her problems, as opposed to the more cynical view of Aggretsuko (which is also an amazing show) where everything just seems to go in a downward spiral of torment for the protagonist. Kaoru has her anxieties, even the bears do at times, and they work through each small problems together a loving family unit. Thanks to this, each episode of Rilakkuma and Kaoru will have you feeling a little more hopeful for your own future.
I'll say right now that clay animation and the like gives me the heebie-jeebies, something about the way they move just creeps me out. Thankfully that wasn't the case as much with this anime.
Rilakkuma And Kaoru is about a Japanese office woman, her stuffed animals' friends who live at home, and their (mostly) mundane and uneventful life.
No one questions why these stuffed animals are alive they just accept it's part of life, Which reminded me a lot of Shirokuma.
Most of what happens in the anime will either be minor mischief, Kaoru taking care of her friends, or just relaxed moments. Make no mistake though, Rilakkuma
And Kaoru is by no means a borning show, infact it always drew me in to watch more of their slow paced relaxed world.
The animation can seem clunky and as stated above even scary at first, but after about episode 3 i had mostly gotten used to it, the stuffed animals are animated very cutely and their surrounding gives a very warm and homey feeling, while the human characters are also animated well, it can be a hit or miss on if they creep you out or not.
Overall i'm really glad i watched this show, each episode felt like dropping by on an old friend, the whole nature of the show was very comforting and relaxed which i loved, and it had a main character i felt was relatable to. (besides the fluffy animal part lol) Perfectly fine to watch with kids too, aside from one episode about a ghost that might be a tad scary.