Rilakkuma and Kaoru

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Rilakkuma and Kaoru TV Poster Image
Human, animal characters shine in quirky slice-of-life show.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Kaoru's life revolves around her work and relationships with three animal roommates she cares for. Even though they don't speak words and are mostly self-absorbed, their presence helps her overcome small trials in her life, and by caring for them, she finds fulfillment. Kaoru copes with issues of self-doubt, worry, and self-esteem, which she manages in a variety of constructive and (less often) nonconstructive ways. Strong themes of friendship and loyalty.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kaoru is gentle and caring, and she dotes on her animal roommates and her young neighbor, Tokio. Despite small disappointments in her life, she's optimistic about the future. Rilakkuma is chronically lazy, but it just adds to his appeal as a character.



Little violence, but occasional related topic. E.g., in one episode, Rilakkuma is kidnapped, and Kaoru pictures him tied up in a dark room. In another, a ghost appears to Kaoru and her friends to tell her story of dying, which is depicted in a sketch cartoon that shows her getting hit by a truck.


Rarely "sucks."



Characters are based on images from a line of stationery products and accessories.


Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byWillSci May 7, 2019

Whimsical and Heartwarming

Love it as an adult, our three year old does too. One episode has some scary stuff but makes it fun and warm as the scene unfolds. The episode is easy to spot,... Continue reading
Adult Written bynduns April 21, 2020

Nice, charming and wholesome, though not quite as innocent as western preschool shows

This is a really cute, charming, heart-warming series. The characters are likable and relatable and nothing is too frightening or hardcore. That said, though,... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLoranikas303 April 29, 2020
Teen, 17 years old Written bywizardortitan May 12, 2019

Cute show with only very mild content concerns.

A show that works on multiple levels for different audiences, similar to Aggretsuko - though considerably tamer than Aggretsuko. The subtitled version uses the... Continue reading

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?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love quirky animation

Themes & Topics

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