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Manga / My Roommate is a Cat

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Subaru Mikazuki is a reclusive novelist, content to lock himself away with his writing and avoid people whenever he can. His antisocial nature is only intensified following the deaths of his parents.

"Haru" is a street cat, walking the city and surviving day to day. While passing through a cemetery, she catches wind of food. Food left on the family grave of Subaru's family.

One fated meeting later, and Subaru and this stray feline find themselves a dysfunctional new set of roommates. Between his very reduced existing social circle turning out to be made of cat lovers and the requirements for properly caring for a cat making him meet new people, Subaru finds himself giving people a second chance in spite of himself. Haru, meanwhile, needs to slowly adapt to being cared for by a human and periodically finding herself needing to care for him.

My Roommate Is a Cat (Japanese title: Doukyonin Wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama No Ue, "My Housemate Is on My Lap, But Sometimes on My Head") is a manga written by Minatsuki and illustrated by Asu Futatsuya, which began serialization in the shoujo publication Comic Polaris in 2015. It received an anime adaptation in the winter 2019 season.

Contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Pet in a Box: Haru and her siblings share an early memory of being left on the street in a cardboard box with no parents or anyone else around. Thankfully, they run into Tora soon enough.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The anime changes Subaru's hair from brown to black. What makes this a strange example is that the promos initially depicted Subaru with brown hair, while the posters and anime depicts Subaru with black hair.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Haru sometimes gets frustrated with Subaru out of concern for him. Case in point, her trying to get him to eat because she's genuinely afraid he might starve to death.
  • Animal Talk: While most animals are cats to start with, Haru has no problem talking with the neighbor's dog when they have a chance encounter at the vet's office.
  • Apathy Killed the Cat: Not literally, but you'd think Subaru would have done some research on how to properly take care of a cat when he brought Haru in, either from the reference books he asked his editor to get or just looking it up online. He doesn't, and thus has to be pressed on matters such as giving his new cat a name, getting her a collar, or taking her to the vet.
  • Big Friendly Dog: The neighbor's dog, a big golden retriever named Taro, is exactly as friendly as he is large.
  • Big Little Brother: Subaru is shocked when meeting Yu for the first time and learning he's Nana's younger brother and still in high school, since he's so much bigger than her and Subaru, who are both in their early twenties.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Royal Cat" for the pet food brand Royal Canin.
  • Blank White Eyes: A comedic staple of the series, often used to show Subaru's No Social Skills and adorable side. This is often used hand-in-hand with Blue with Shock and Color Failure.
  • Bookworm: Subaru, a novelist who is shown spending whatever free time he has reading books from his childhood to the present day.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Subaru is a decent novelist, with his employers remarking that his works are very successful and popular. He is also a social recluse that actively avoids human contact or even leaving his house to spend his time reading.
  • Cats Are Magic: Haru is able to see the ghosts of Subaru's parents, who thank the cat for watching over him and helping him move on by getting her to draw Subaru's attention towards some memorabilia they left around for him.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Haru is quite the snarky feline, especially in regards to her hapless new owner. Much like any cat owner can attest, it's clear Haru views herself as Subaru's protector at times, seeing him as hopeless in many regards.
  • Cats Hate Water: Haru. Her reaction to having to take a bath can at best be described as horror.
  • Censored Child Death: Shortly before the beginning of the series, she goes off to find food for her two starving younger siblings. When she gets back one of them is dead, having been killed by crows, while the other one is missing but thankfully is alive.
  • Character Development: Subaru, who starts the series as an antisocial recluse, slowly begins to open up more and comes somewhat out of his shell thanks to the influence of Haru and his expanding social circle. This eventually culminates in him, to the shock of his friend, choosing to travel to the countryside of his own volition to gain inspiration for his writing.
  • Childhood Friend: Hiroto Yasaka, who has been Subaru's friend for a decade and started the series as his Only Friend.
  • Cliffhanger: Episode 11 ends with Subaru's flight being delayed because of the storm.
  • Comically Missing the Point: For quite a while, Haru isn't aware that Haru is her name. She assumes it means "Food".
  • Cool Big Sis: Tora, the female stray that took in Haru and her siblings, raised them and taught them how to survive. Haru is also this to her own siblings.
  • Creepy Crows: Attacks from crows are a recurring problem during Haru's time as a stray, and are The Dreaded to all stray cats. It's also what killed one of her siblings.
  • Crush Blush: Nagisa, Hiroto's younger sister and the second eldest of the Hirasaka siblings, has this while speaking to Subaru.
  • Cuteness Overload: Kawase loses it whenever Haru is around. He starts holding meetings at Subaru's house just so he can see her.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Haru's siblings are shown to have been killed by a number of factors, namely crows. It's heavily implied that she has some sort of survivor's guilt over this and tries to make up for her mistakes by taking care of Subaru.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Flashbacks show that Subaru's parents were nothing short of loving, decent people who always cared for him. Even when Subaru refused their offers to go on trips with them, they were never shown to be anything less than understanding and caring.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Hiroto drops by bringing food for Subaru since he's too anxiety-ridden to go shopping, much like an outdoor cat who brings kills to its owner.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Subverted. While they’re still depicted as goofy and less serious than cats, the dog Haru meets at the vet (who's eventually revealed to be the neighbor's dog Taro) is depicted as smarter than the cats, in that while all the cats, even the ones who had been there multiple times, only saw the vet as some kind of torture chamber, the dog managed to put two and two together and notice that whenever he’s sick or hurt, he starts feeling better after he goes there.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Subaru shows how he's not great dealing with people when at a cafe with his editor Kawase. He becomes clearly uncomfortable and jumpy due to the large number of people around and gets short with Kawase for bringing him to such a crowded place before leaving in a rush.
  • Face of a Thug:
    • Nana's other cat, Roku. A tough looking, deep-voiced ex-stray who quickly proves to be friendly and prone to silly moments despite his intimidating features.
    • Also Nana's little brother, Yuugo. Big, imposing, with a stern expression, he's mistaken as a criminal when he loiters around Subaru's home.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The corpse of one of Haru's siblings is shown in a flashback, having been attacked to death by crows.
  • Fell Asleep Driving: The news report seen in flashbacks shows that the bus crash that killed Subaru's parents happened when the bus collided with a truck whose driver fell asleep at the wheel.
  • First Pet Story: Subaru starts out quite clueless about how to properly care for a cat, initially thinking he can just let a former stray into his house and give it food whenever its bowl is empty. It takes prompts from other people for him to give Haru a name, get her a collar and take her to the vet's.
  • Forgets to Eat: In the first episode, Subaru becomes so focused on his work that he ends up neglecting eating or sleeping. Deconstructed as he quickly ends up collapsing from it. This is apparently not uncommon as his editor was informed of this by a colleague and Hiroto regularly checks up on him and is unsurprised on how empty his fridge is. Even the vet to whom he takes Haru notices, pointing out how skinny he is.
  • From Stray to Pet: Some of the consequences of this are explored, even though Haru and Subaru are lucky enough that some of the worst potential consequences didn't happen.
    • One of the potential problems with Subaru not taking Haru to the vet immediately was that she could be sick from living on the streets, which fortunately turned out to not be the case.
    • Because Haru is used to food being scarce and eating what she can find immediately, Subaru ends up accidentally overfeeding her because he just fills her bowl whenever it's empty.
    • The hyper-vigilance Haru acquired while on the streets results in her being a little hostile towards the more smothering displays of affection coming from humans, notably Hiroto's youngest siblings and Kawase.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • While it looks like Subaru is a misanthropic bookworm, the manga gradually reveals that he actually has crippling anxiety and agoraphobia along with massive survivor's guilt. It's not that he actively hates people, he's just very out of his depth when it comes to interacting with them. It takes getting Haru for him to start undergoing his Character Development.
    • At first glance, Haru looks like the typical prissy cat. Then it's revealed that she has a much harder background than she lets on and clearly has some sort of survivor's guilt due to the death and disappearance of her siblings save for Hachi.
  • Introverted Cat Person: Subaru was quite the introvert even before he adopted Haru, so he becomes this in the first episode. It takes him a while to actually embrace it however.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Kuro, Tora's male stray friend. When first seeing Haru and her siblings, he's rather gruff, pointing out what a drag it will be to have more mouths to feed. Despite that, he still helped train them to survive, gave them extra tips and tossed himself in along with Tora against some crows to let Haru and her siblings escape.
    • Subaru also starts to become this through Character Development. While still somewhat solitary and loving to read, he slowly starts to open up to and appreciate the people around him.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: The majority of the humans that Subaru's social circle consists of are this, and are willing to help him out with taking care of Haru.
  • Lost in Translation: The last lines said in the anime are 同居人はひざ、時々、頭のうえ which translates to My housemate is on my lap, but sometimes on my head. This is the Japanese name of the series, so its importance is lost of you don't know that.
  • Manchild: Kawase, whose excitable Large Ham tendencies seem more fitting on a kid. Unsurprisingly, when meeting Hiroto's younger siblings, two of whom are in elementary school and the youngest a toddler, he got along with them swimmingly.
  • Massively Numbered Siblings: Hiroto is the oldest of five children. So is Haru, though that's pretty normal for cats.
  • Messy Hair:
    • Notably all the males, sans Yugo, are depicted with this, with Hiroto and Kawase being the biggest offenders. Nana is also depicted with this as well, namely with her bangs.
    • Some of the cats have this as well, with Roku being the biggest standout.
  • The Muse: Why does Subaru take a stray cat into his house? Because the cat inspires him to write a new novel with a cat as a character.
  • Never Given a Name: Beings stray cats, Haru and her siblings naturally don't have names. Subaru also doesn't initially give her a name until his friends notice and press the issue. It takes her rediscovered brother, dubbed Hachi, to inform her Haru is her name and not a signal to eat.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Atsushi Kawase, Subaru's editor. Despite Subaru being rather cross with him, he still maintains a friendly demeanor towards him and is all too willing to try to establish a closer relationship than just writer and editor. When Subaru doesn't answer his cell phone for a while and collapses in his house, Kawase immediately goes in and helps him out. When Subaru goes unresponsive to his calls again later on, he had no problems rushing through a rainstorm to get to his house to check on him.
    • Subaru's Childhood Friend Hiroto is also this. Regularly coming in to check up on him, trying to get him to open up and taking Subaru's grumpiness and abrasive nature in stride. He even goes and leaves some food in Subaru's fridge when he notices that it's empty.
    • Nana is a sweet girl who takes Subaru's eccentricities and awkwardness in stride and goes out of her way to help him with Haru even outside of work, to the point they quickly become friends. She even adopted two stray cats, one of which turns out to be Hachi, Haru's little brother. She's also a big fan of his work.
  • No Social Skills: Subaru. His tendency to actively avoid human contact in favor of drowning himself in books has left him out of his depth in social interactions. When meeting Nana at the pet store to get cat food, he mistakes her questioning about Haru's name and age as for his own. This also extends to Haru when he takes her in, forgetting to even name her until pressed.
  • Numerical Theme Naming: Cross-species example with Nana (7), naming her cats Roku (6) and Hachi (8).
  • Odd Friendship: At the start of the series, solitary Bookworm Subaru's Only Friend was the extraverted Nice Guy Hiroto. Also with him and his Manchild of an editor Kawase.
  • On the Next: Instead of actually describing the next episode, Haru and Taro have a short conversation unrelated to the next episode.
  • Only Friend: At the start of the series, the only thing close to human contact Subaru had was his Childhood Friend Hiroto. His social circle slowly begins to expand, however.
  • Parental Abandonment: Subaru's parents both died in a bus accident little before the beginning of the series. Haru and her siblings also never met their own biological parents, but were thankfully taken in by Tora and Kuro.
  • Parting-Words Regret: Subaru eventually comes to regret for never taking his parents' offers to go with them on trips right up to the day they died.
  • Perspective Flip: The manga's main gag. First showing us Subaru's view, then flipping over to see how Haru reacts to the same situation.
  • Posthumous Character: Due to their death being part of the story's premise, Subaru's parents get their entire development via flashback.
  • Promoted to Parent: Being the biggest of her litter, Haru was left in charge when they were abandoned.
  • Reclusive Artist: invoked Subaru is an in-universe example, being a novelist who hates leaving his house.
  • The Reveal: In the final episode, we see Haru on Subaru's head, just like in the opening...but this time we see Subaru's expression below, and he has a rare happy smile.
  • Ship Tease: There's some subtle teasing here and there between Nana and Subaru, as the former takes a liking to him and helps him out in any way possible regarding Haru while the latter seems to actually enjoy her company. Subaru even makes an effort to actually say (or in this case, yell) "thank you" to Nana after he signs her book after building up the courage to do so, to which she returns.
  • Shown Their Work: Cat behavior and care is mostly accurately shown. In particular, it's stated that onions are toxic to cats, so Hiroto and Kawase lure Haru out with her dinner so she doesn't accidentally nibble on a leek they put on Subaru.
  • The Shut-In: Subaru, who rarely leaves his house unless necessary in favor of staying indoors to focus on his work and reading. When he runs out of cat food, he immediately tried to order some from online delivery and seemed to be on the verge of a panic attack at the thought of having to go out an a simple grocery run when the website said it would take days for his food to arrive. Flashback shows he was this even when he was younger, preferring to stay inside to read books even during summer vacation and declining his parents' many offers to go on trips outside of town.
  • Significant Name Overlap: Haru the cat shares the same name as the daughter of a restaurant owner whom she used to get food from while she's still a stray. This is actually justified: since the girl calls her own name while feeding the cat, the cat mistakes "Haru" as a cue for food. Later, when Subaru tests out several different names to give the cat, she responds to "Haru" (thinking that she'd be fed), and is named thus.
  • Sprouting Ears: In episode 4, when Hiroto walks away after bringing Subaru to the pet shop (to buy a collar for Haru), Subaru imagines himself as a rabbit and the shopkeeper as a wolf.
  • Starving Artist: Due to being a shut-in who gets hyperfixated on his work to the exclusion of all else, Subaru often ends up passing out due to lack of food. He keeps very little food in his house even though he could afford to buy it.
  • Tears of Remorse:
    • Subaru in episode 3, when he finds an album his mother put together with various notes about vacations he might enjoy, and realizes too late how much his parents loved him and how much thought they put towards ways to connect with him. As it hits him how little appreciation he showed their efforts, he begins to cry.
    • This happens to Subaru again in episode 11 on his trip to Tokushima, as it's implied that his parents may have planned their trip to Tokushima because of him. Once again, he ends up sobbing after realizing how little he appreciated their efforts.
  • This Is My Human: Haru, who sees Subaru as hopeless without her there to protect him.
  • Title Drop: The last lines uttered are the Japanese title of the series.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: Subaru gradually starts to shed his gloomy, aloof exterior throughout the series, especially after confronting his grief over his parents' death.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After taking in Haru, Subaru gradually goes from an aloof recluse to a much warmer person who's willing to open up towards people by the end of the series.
  • Tropey, Come Home: Haru runs away during a storm in episode 12, and Subaru has to look for her. Ironically, Haru herself escaped to search for Subaru himself.
  • Tsundere: Haru towards Subaru. She regularly refers to him as useless without her and often teases him, but is always there to help him out and provide support, despite all of the struggles of understanding each other.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Flashbacks show that Subaru was more cheerful as a kid, and actually may have made a token attempt to connect to other children in contrast to how gloomy and willfully withdrawn he is in the present day.
  • Ventriloquist Animal: The animals can talk to each other, however their mouths don't move with their words.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • One-sided on Subaru's half with Hiroto. While he at times appeared annoyed by how exuberant Hiroto can be, he still doesn't truly mind him. Hiroto, meanwhile, has been nothing but decent towards Subaru, even trying to get him to open up more, was there with him on his parents' funeral, and tries to make sure he's taking care of himself.
    • Subaru's relationship with his editor Kawase is also this, with him at times getting exasperated by how exuberant the latter can be but slowly warms up to him. The latter of course, is nothing short of nice to him, token teasing aside.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 12, at least for the first part. Haru ends up going out in search of Subaru, who's stuck in Tokushima because of the rain. This leads to a huge search amongst the storm to try and find her in time before it's too late.
  • When He Smiles: Needless to say, when Subaru smiles, it is positively adorable. You're bound to find these moments when he's around Haru.
  • You Are Not Alone: This is An Aesop for Subaru as he learns how to take care of Haru and by extension begins interacting with people and going outside his house.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Doukyonin Wa Hiza Tokidoki Atama No Ue


Social Anxiety v Book Signing

Reclusive and socially anxious author Subaru Mikazuki attempts to participate in a book signing for his latest novel.

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Main / ReclusiveArtist

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