• Hope Eliza

Rilakkuma and Kaoru – [SPOILER FREE] Review

Updated: Apr 11


The latest Japanese mascot to grace our Netflix subscriptions – following Sanrio’s Aggretsuko – is Rilakkuma and his buddies Kaoru, Korilakkuma & Kiiroitori. Rilakkuma is the product of Japanese stationary company San-X and his stop motion animated series debuted on Netflix on the 19th April 2019. Since I’ve been anticipating this series, I didn’t waste any time getting through all 13 episodes and finished it the day after its release. Here’s what I thought about Rilakkuma’s wholesome adventures.


Firstly, who actually IS Rilakkuma? Before yesterday I only knew the basics about him, I knew he was a Japanese character and that I had seen him floating about the internet for years now. For those of you who are in a similar position to me, here’s some context. Rilakkuma (pronounced like ree•la•koo•ma) is one relaxed bear, which is literally where he got his name from as “rirakkusu” is the transliteration of “relax”, and Kuma is the Japanese word for Bear. He appears in human Kaoru’s apartment after she wishes for a pet to make her home life more fulfilling. She initially wanted a cat but when her pet bird Kiiroitori had other ideas, Rilakkuma ended up staying. Joining the gang is Korilakkuma, a smaller and younger bear who also appeared in Kaoru’s apartment one day. The 4 friends live under the same roof and go on many adventures together. In the Netflix series alone they take part in Hanami (flower watching) during Cherry Blossom season, attend a summer festival, encounter a ghost and so much more! The primary voice work falls to Lana Condor of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before fame who lends her voice to the very patient Kaoru.


Rilakkuma and Kaoru is comprised of 13 episodes which have a run time of around 12 minutes each, with the exception of the final episode which totals at 15 minutes. Each episode features its own self contained adventure however there are other minor story lines that run throughout the season. My favourite episodes include: Cherry Blossom, Fireworks, Slim Down, Getting a Job and Moving Out… but basically like all of them. The series is so pure, it is very much a show that you can escape in with its beautiful hand crafted style, enchanting Japanese setting and adorable cast of characters. It is also a very relatable series, as Kaoru faces many of the trials and tribulations that many 20 – 30 year old’s face regarding their work, love and home lives. Upon first glance, this show may appear to be aimed at children but let me assure you, this show can be appreciated at literally any age.


Here’s the short answer:

Pros:

  • Adorable

  • Beautiful visuals

  • Innocent humour

  • So easy to escape into

  • Doesn’t rely on viewers prior knowledge of Rilakkuma

  • Short bursts good for if you’re squeezing an episode in on the train or before work, etc.


Cons:

  • Not long enough! (GIVE US SEASON 2)

  • Some episode’s go off track at times and you wonder if you’re watching a TV series or having an intense fever dream.

  • Short bursts can prove to be a bad thing as you can race through the series very easily, it would literally take you 2.5 hours.

  • That’s it, nothing else. It’s perfect.


I am such a fan of Netflix’s new interest in Japanese mascots and giving them their own animated series. I have my fingers crossed for a Gudetama series one day! I 100% recommend this series to anyone, especially those who are a fan of animation and all things kawaii! For more of my work see what else I have to offer here as well as nerdoutwordout.com.


Rilakkuma and Kaoru is now streaming on Netflix worldwide!


If you liked this post, try some of these:


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I'm Hope!

A film graduate from the UK, I use this site to write about the general geekery that I am interested in with the hope of one day being able to do it professionally. I also write for video game fan site Nerd Out Word Out (follow the link at the top of the page!)

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