Final Thoughts – There She Is!! (ONA)

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There She Is!! is a five episode Korean flash that I watched about two years ago. Since I was feeling a bit nostalgic and the show is pretty short, I decided to see how well it’s held up. As it turns out, it proved to be as sweet and fun to watch as it was the first time.

The story follows the relationship between a female rabbit, Doki, and a male cat, Nabi, who she falls in love with at first sight. Though Nabi who initially tries to avoid and resist Doki’s extravagant shows of love, he eventually gives in and goes on a date with her, discovering that he, too, had fallen just a bit for the cheerful rabbit. This is all fine and dandy, but what really makes these shorts pop are the societal reactions to their relationship and how Nabi deals with them. In their society of rabbits and cats, Nabi and Doki’s intermingling is severely frowned upon as the majority views such a relationship as socially unacceptable. The last two episodes deal almost exclusively with the growing number of problems that pop up for the two as they try to be a regular couple in a society that sees them as abnormal and wrong.

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Though the two start out only receiving the occasional frown and odd glance, by the fourth short, the two are facing drastically more violent harassment. The windows in Nabi’s house are smashed with rocks; the vending machines they met at, along with Nabi’s house, have phrases denouncing the two sprayed all over them; and a group of anti-Rabbit/Cats arbitrarily beat up Doki and her pet when they spot the two. At this point, the story takes on a drastically more serious tone in comparison to the light, comical nature that had accompanied Doki’s frenzied wooing of Nabi. Nabi becomes increasingly upset with those around them who actively discriminate against them and angrily reacts to those who chastise them, until eventually he reaches his breaking point.

Although the show could have easily been a series of shorts about Doki and Nagi running around as a comedic couple, it probably wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting to watch. Seeing the increasing amount of discrimination and harassment the couple faces is interesting to see since it’s so different, especially for a group of 4-5 minute shorts. The negativity of Doki and Nabi’s society is surprisingly uncomfortable to watch and their violence even more so. Strangely enough, though, the more serious elements of the show here works really well. Though the near split of the society into pro-Doki/Nabi and anti-Doki-Nabi is a bit silly, it really builds up the idea that it’s really just them against all these people. They don’t want to belong to either camp and only want to be able to date normally like everyone else. It was a bit heartbreaking to see Doki and Nabi gradually pushed apart because of people who have no business with them.

Though the story gets a bit dreary here, it soon picks up again as Nabi realizes he doesn’t give two craps about what everyone else thinks. After this revelation, he, with the help of various friends, goes to Doki and the two go back to their meeting spot and have a drink. Though the happy ending was to be expected, I still find myself impressed with Nabi’s decision to not give in to either side and to, instead, choose Doki and his relationship with her. Sure his life may have been slightly easier had he chosen to either leave Doki alone or join the supporters, but the thing is, he wasn’t advocating any great social change. He and Doki didn’t deliberately go against their society’s views because they wanted to make a statement. They stated dating because of the feelings they had for each other. In the end, his decision isn’t going to change the mind of everyone who was against them. There’s not even a guarantee that the harassment will stop. All that matters, though, is that they will weather through the storm together and possibly see more fair societal view down the road.

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What I especially love about Nabi’s decision is that he rejects a plane ticket to Paradise where,  one would assume, Doki and he would be able to live happily. He didn’t want to run away from his problems. He didn’t want to live in paradise. He wanted to live with Doki in their own imperfect society and prove that they wouldn’t run away. He wanted to show everyone they can live normally. His decision to only focus on what he wants and cares about it what I really love about the show. It’s uplifting, in a way, to see his determination.

Despite being animated in flash and having some of the simplest animation I’ve seen, There She Is!! makes it work. The simplicity matches that of the love story which really just boils down to a rabbit and a cat falling in love. Something that makes the animation more interesting to look at, though, is the use of, or lack of, color during specific parts of the story. As for sound, no one talks, but each episode is accompanied by a different song that typically matches the overall upbeat tone of the show and fit in nicely with the flow of the story.

Though you would think There She Is!! wouldn’t be anything special, you shouldn’t pass this one up. It manages to tell a sweet and generally well-developed love story without the use of any dialogue, only action. You can’t help but fall for Doki and Nabi, hoping that they’ll beat the odds and work it out. I love this show to bits and, with the entire show being about 23 minutes long, can’t recommend it enough.

Overall Score: 9/10

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