Content Consideration: depictions of animal neglect
What’s it about? The mighty Azatoth Empire has traveled the galaxy and at last come to Earth. Before deciding whether the planet should be destroyed, they send their agent Liza Luna down to see if Earth has anything of value to offer. She’s skeptical, but a visit to a café introduces her to Earth’s most powerful creatures: adorable cats.
Do you like watching cute animal videos? Do you like them enough to watch them for 22 minutes at a stretch, and also they’re animated rather than being the real thing? If yes, Too Cute Crisis might have something to offer you.
It’s tough to get around the fact that this show has exactly one joke: Liza is introduced to a new animal, screams in thrilled disbelief at the sight of their cuteness, rinse and repeat. It’s a concept that would work well for a five-to-ten minute short, but unless you’re really into cute animated critters, a full-length episode is a little bit of a stretch.
The visuals aren’t exactly making up the deficit, either. Hatori Jun is almost completely green as a director, jumping from production and storyboard work right up to head director on Taisho Otome Fairy Tale in 2021. It’s…kind of obvious in the perfunctory nature of the production, without even the framing gimmicks or energy deployed to liven up limited animation. While series composer Satsuki Aya is fresh off her excellent work on Ippon Again!, it’s tough to liven up visuals that basically amount to talking heads standing around and looking at photos.
I should mention that I do carry a hefty dose of toxoplasmosis brain worms and constant low-grade depressions, so the low bar of “look at the cute kitties and puppies” did somewhat work for me. The joke is repetitive but there’s a baseline soothing element to be found in people bonding over how much they love fuzzy pets (with a shoutout to birds and reptiles for those feeling left out). The most excited the episode gets is for a few minutes in the finale, when Liza finds an abandoned cat on the side of the road and orders a tactical laser strike on the people who’d been neglecting the poor little kitten.
It never rises above functional, but it also achieves its very specific goal—y’aaaaaaaaaaaaaaall, the end credits have photos of what I think might be staff pets? And they’re precious?—which makes it hard to do more than shrug from a critical perspective. It doesn’t have the narrative heft of a My Roommate is a Cat or How to Keep a Mummy, both of which managed to tell surprisingly touching stories about family and loss alongside cute pet shenanigans, but if your life needs an immediate dose of lil animated cats being cute and you’ve already seen those two shows (as well as the charming micro-short series With a Dog and a Cat, Every Day is Fun!), this will keep you entertained week to week.