Rent-a-Neko (neko = cat) is a Japanese film by Naoko Ogigami from 2012.
The film premiered at the 2012 Stockholm International Film Festival.
It's a strange story about cats, loneliness and judgements.
The director is already well known for her 2007 film "Megane (glasses)".


Title: Rent-a-Cat
Original title: レンタネコ rent-a-neko
Published: 2012
Length: 110 minutes

Director: Naoko Okigami
Script: Naoko Okigami
Music: Kōsuke Itō

Sayoko: Mikako Ichigawa
Toshiko Yoshiōka: Reikō Kusamura
Goro Yoshida: Ken Mitsuishi
Megumi Yoshikawa: Mahō Yamada
Shigaru Yoshizawa: Kei Tanaka
Strange neighbour: Katsuya Kobayashi


As funny as it may sound like, Rent-a-Cat is a kawaii-style affair that brings out strange and fascinating things about the Land of the Rising Sun. In spite of all the comical aspects of its plot, the picture is able to deliver an universal message, hiding it under the charming mask of attractive visuals and adorable characters. Through its simple tale about a cat-renting business, Rent-a-Cat evaluates the problem of loneliness in our contemporary world. The main character, a woman named Sayoko (Mikako Ichikawa), lives in a typical Japanese house witch a bunch of adorable cats. She comes up with an ingenious idea. She decides to open up a cat rental for all the lonely people in her neighborhood. Strolling across the nearby river as the weird cat lady who offers her felines as the means to happiness. People come to her umbrella-topped cart, in order to rent one of the cute cats, to get rid of those painful holes in their hearts. However, as she begins to understand, she is actually the one who leads a lonely life.
She begins to realize that building a close relationship with an ordinary cat is much simpler than doing so with a human being. She tries to follow this dream of finding the love of her life. During her every day walks she meets a lot of different characters: some of them cheerless, some creepy, other withdrawn and shallow. The only person who takes an interest in Sayoko is her old-time schoolmate. Given his preposterous attitude, he is not a suitable candidate for a romance.
The main entertainment value of the picture comes from numerous laughable situations, like the dream where Sayoko has to choose a cat based on the class that it's attached to, or the many appearances of a mysterious and critical neighbor-in-drag. With its convincing storyline, subtle poetic style, charming and alluring atmosphere, great attention to details and many adorable cats walking all over the screen Rent-a-Cat is a cheerful comedy that will definitely lighten up your day.