#1 It’s about the adventures of a dumb, little cat
Chi is an energetic kitten that winds up living with a family consisting of a husband, wife, and their young son Youhei. The anime’s episodes show us snippets of her daily life, which involves causing lots of ruckus, going on adventures, meeting friends, and having a lot of fun. It’s excellent entertainment, sure to amuse people of all ages and much of it will be really familiar to those who have cats themselves or had them in the past. It’s a fantastic reminder of how dumb and lovable these creatures are.
Chi herself makes for an excellent protagonist, being a kitten with an abundance of curiosity, but who has much to learn about the world around her. I really like that both Chi and the Yamada family she lives with have spoken dialogue, but obviously don’t understand each other. The miscommunication is entertaining and it gives us a fun interpretation of what a cat is thinking when it interacts with Humans.
#2 Lots of short episodes
Not counting the recent 3D remake and the extra special episode, Chi’s Sweet Home and its sequel have 208 episodes put together, each of which lasts 3 minutes. it’s a lot of content delivered in short bursts, with most episodes feeling longer than their actual runtime.
This format makes the show really addicting to binge. I just put it on one evening and when I was shutting down a few hours later I was already at episode 80 and it felt like I had experienced so much. 208 may feel daunting at first, but I promise you’ll blow through those in a few days once you become infatuated with Chi’s cuteness.
#3 Many different animals
The show was directed Mitsuyuki Masuhara who’d later go on to direct Polar Bear Café, which I bring up now because it’s the only link I have for how this show looks as good as it does. I can’t really name many anime that are known for featuring animals and even fewer which made them look this good, but here we have a series of 3-minute shorts that made cats and other critters look exceptionally well-animated and entertaining.
From the elderly Fuji-san to the lady-like Scottish fold Alice, and from horses to foxes, there are a lot of diverse animals that appear in this show and they look simply great, with the animation truly reflecting their personalities. My favorite, by far, is the absolutely massive black cat that becomes sort-of a tutor to Chi. People refer to him as a bear, but look at this mountain of fluff! He’s adorable and I want to pet him.
#4 Today a show about a cat made me cry
I am all for lighthearted fun, but I find that comedy-driven slice-of-life shows work best when the fun is balanced out with something else. All happy all the time sounds good on paper, but it’s a little dull and predictable, whereas a mixture of emotions keeps it feeling fresh. Case in point, Chi’s Sweet Home is often kind of sad or bittersweet.
The show already kicks off with Chi losing her mother and being left alone in the world, until she is taken in by the Yamada family. From there trouble arises, as the landlady of their apartment complex has a rule against cats and the family faces eviction if they can’t keep Chi hidden, which becomes increasingly difficult as she begins to take a liking to the outside world. Chi may have to leave the Yamada family, but she also faces other struggles like friends moving away and getting lost, events which hit especially hard because she is such an adorable and upbeat protagonist. Watching Chi being sad is like pouring a bottle of shampoo straight into your eyes; how can you not tear up at that.
To be fair, most of this is concentrated in the first season, with the second season being much more diverse in its comedy and introducing a lot more characters. I mostly prefer the first season for just that reason, though I also praise the second one for doing a lot of build-up for a dramatic finale that gets those tears flowing again. I definitely had to pause the show a few times to go and hug my own cat for a bit.