A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rilakkuma and Kaoru is a stop-motion animation series that is geared toward teens and adults rather than kids because it focuses on the experiences and sometimes complex emotions of a 20-something woman. While there's nothing overtly inappropriate for kids and tweens, they lack the context that would help them understand Kaoru, her feelings, and her actions. Some episodes involve mild scares like the presumed kidnapping of a main character and the concept of supernatural beings like ghosts, and very occasionally there's a matter of violence, as when an illustration depicts someone's recollection of being hit by a vehicle and dying. This delightful, whimsical, and introspective series is a highly enjoyable departure from more traditional TV series.
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What's the story?
RILAKKUMA AND KAORU is a slice-of-life series about Kaoru (voiced by Mikako Tabe), a youngish female professional who shares her apartment with three unusual roommates: two toy-like bears named Rilakkuma and Korilakkuma, and a yellow chick named Kiiroitori. While Kaoru spends her days working hard at the office, Rilakkuma wiles away the hours being as lazy and unproductive as possible until their friend comes home.
Is it any good?
At first glance, this series is a real conundrum because of its somewhat odd mix of human and stuffed characters and its stop-motion animation, all of which seems geared toward viewers too young for its TV-PG rating. As you watch, though, you become immersed in the all-too-realistically mundane and uncertain experience of 20-something Kaoru, who feels undervalued at work, overlooked in love, and at times a bit aimless in life. Even so, she finds immense happiness in coming home to her people, who just happen to be stuffies with a lot of love to share.
Rilakkuma and Kaoru is a charming, satisfying series with surprising insight into the psyche of its main human character, who quickly overtakes her darling co-stars' appeal with her own. It's a joyful and clever project that marries this style of animation with such relatable grown-up content, yielding a unique series that will endear itself to just about anyone who watches.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Kaoru's life experience. Where does she find personal fulfillment? Does that sense of fulfillment change as Rilakkuma and Kaoru progresses? Is every person's definition of success the same? How would you define a life well lived?
How do the animal characters' personalities influence Kaoru in positive ways? Why is she willing to put up with Rilakkuma's overall laziness? Do you ever find yourself forgiving other people's shortcomings because of their better qualities? What are some of your best qualities as a person? As a friend?
What examples of perseverance do you see in Kaoru? Is she a good role model? How does she cope with emotions like uncertainty and self-doubt when they arise? Can you relate to her struggles in these areas?
Themes & Topics
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