Having watched a grand total of three new anime since Christmas, I'm sure I'm not being premature by declaring this the most wholesome one of the new season.
Subaru's parents are dead. Rather than turning into Batman, he instead has become an introvert, hating everybody and hiding from the world in order to write his books (which are very popular).
He is completely happy, and nothing can break through that wall of safety. Honest.
Except possibly for Haru, a cat he rescues from the mean streets.
Haru is a stray, and an orphan as well. Having been deserted as one of a litter, she found herself looking after a collection of younger kitten siblings. That means finding shelter, defending them from vicious predators and finding food.
That's where this first gets very sad indeed. The backstory of Haru and Subaru is pretty grim, with them both being very wary of anybody new and generally defensive. Subaru has got some deep-seated depression due to having lost his parents young and being haunted by their absence, and Haru tends to live in angry mode. She's got good reasons for that.
I'm not crying. You're crying.
Which sets us up for the start of our emotional arc. Haru has to learn to trust Subaru, and Subaru has to learn to deal with all of the people that now just happen to "pop round" because there's a cat present. His editor has a decent excuse, but the old school friend and the nice lady who runs the local pet shop are mostly cat obsessed. (There may be romance there later. We will see.)
However, the main relationship is between Subaru and Haru, who is determined to always be with him, as he's incapable of looking after himself.
How do we know what a cat thinks, I don't hear you ask?
That's where the two-halved nature of this comes into its own. The first half of every episode is from Subaru's point of view. We get him writing, dealing with irritating guests, forgetting to eat, and sinking into a miserable funk over the fact he never properly connected with his parents before they died.
Throughout all of this, Haru tends to sit around making angry faces. It's very cute.
In the second half of each episode, the perspective flips to Haru, who has a cat's eye view of the first half's events. Her opinions usually focus on food and naps, but occasionally it's something a bit more cheerful. And it inevitably results in them both getting closer together and them learning how to love.
Yes, it sounds sappy. Yes, it is sappy. I'm enjoying the hell out of it.