Comedy and seriousness with the Kawamoto cats in March comes in like a Lion
March comes in like a Lion has always tried to blend some comedy into its serious overall tone. This has not always worked very well, because it's mostly been broad, silly comedy that could easily feel out of place amidst the rest of the show (and that was when the comedy even worked, which I feel it often didn't). One of those somewhat jarring comedy elements has been the Kawamoto family's cats, who've generally been presented as goofy things that the show went as far as giving voices to, so the cats could natter on about wanting some of the food on the table and so on.
Then came the most recent run of episodes, starting with episode 26, where Kawamoto Hina is in real emotional distress and the household is roiled with emotions. Now suddenly the Kawamoto cats are cats, presented with realistic looks, and we see them pressing up against their humans, trying to reassure them, or hiding under the table from the tensions around them. None of them speak, none of them are comedic or goofy. The mood has shifted and the cats are one of our bellweathers of that shift.
I really like this and think it's quite clever. It's not obtrusive; the cats and their behavior is a background thing in these scenes that you wouldn't consciously notice unless you were looking for it. But both that behavior and the shift from their previous behavior and presentation quietly helps reinforce the whole mood. And I think it wouldn't work as well as it does if the show had kept the Kawamoto cats as merely ordinary cats before; it is the shift from broad and unreal comedy cats to silent real ones that helps sell it so well.
(This elaborates on a tweet or two of mine, because I feel like it.)
Written on 21 November 2017.