By Katlynn Rossignol
Journey to a friendly little island, which is home to a “young old lady” named Bee. After being fired from her latest job, Bee wishes she had a pet cat, which prompts the magical introduction of Puppycat. It turns out that it takes money to care for a new pet, so it’s a good thing that Puppycat is an employee of Temp Space, an interstellar employment agency. Together, Bee and Puppycat do temp jobs around the universe while also avoiding mysterious entities that are fighting to get their hands on them.
Art and Storytelling:
“Bee and Puppycat” is a beautifully stylized show. The color palettes are gorgeous and they give everything a dreamlike, ethereal look. The artwork’s style is reminiscent of “Adventure Time” and Anime, and characters will often break model in order to emphasize their emotions. The sound design is primarily done with gentle piano music, chimes, and even moments of silence, along with the typical sound effects and voice acting. The voice cast does an excellent job bringing life to the characters, including the unusual voice actor for Puppycat. Throughout the entirety of the show, Puppycat is voiced by an AI Vocaloid named Oliver and only speaks in gibberish, using captions to show what he’s saying.
“Bee and Puppycat’s” story is told in a unique style with a slice-of-life, episodic format, filled with deep lore that incorporates elements of sci-fi and magical girl adventures. The show asks that you accept everything that happens as the “norm” of the established world and that you watch the events without taking them too literally. At the same time, almost every character has an endearing, serious, or tragic backstory. The humor is often random and absurd, which works well with the bizarre planets they visit (i.e. Toilet Planet, Clown Planet, and Cat-Head Planet to name a few). There are occasional moments of light profanity, but it’s rare and casual in nature.
While the show definitely has its plot, it’s much more focused on the characters. Its premise may be about Bee and Puppycat doing temp work, but the temp work is often used as a way to fix a problem in their normal lives. They aren’t just going to work on a daily basis, but are instead doing occasional side jobs when they need something, such as money or to be teleported home. These side jobs tend to reflect the situation or relational problem between characters and challenges them to overcome it.
It’s clear the writers for “Bee and Puppycat” have something to say about passions, work, and identity. Many characters throughout the show struggle with their identity, whether it be in their past or future. The story establishes backstories for its characters, but the characters aren’t defined by their past. Characters are also seen deciding whether following their passions or working a stable job is the right course for their lives, and the show doesn’t pick a side. Whether they chose their jobs or passions, both were shown to have their perks and their consequences.
It’s important to talk about “Bee and Puppycat’s” production history since it has taken a long time for it to get its Netflix release. The show started in 2013 with a 2 part pilot created by Natasha Allegri, which was released on Frederator Studios’ Youtube channel, Cartoon Hangover. After the pilot was complete, the show ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to produce the first season, which is now available to watch in its entirety on Youtube.
During the production of season two, which was titled “Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space”, the show was picked up by Netflix. After Netflix acquired the show, they redid season one within the first 3 episodes, then the rest of the new season was added to it. The reboot of season one also changed some of the original plot points and added some adventures from the “Bee and Puppycat” comics. All together, this moved the release date of season two from 2019 to 2022. This review covers the events of the Netflix version of the series, which includes the season one reboot and the new season two.
“Bee and Puppycat ” is a gorgeous visual delight and respects its audience by letting the story show its themes, instead of stating them aloud every episode. The calming atmosphere was a treat to watch and destress to, and the wacky hijinks give every episode a unique flavor.
As someone accustomed to western children’s animation, I found that the more mature handling of subjects in “Bee and Puppycat” allowed for a more thoughtful watching experience. The show never felt the need to explain itself to the audience, but instead invited them to sit back and enjoy the ride with whatever came next. I loved the flashbacks and lore infused within the episodes, and I’m hopeful for the show’s return for another season.
I would recommend “Bee and Puppycat” to those who enjoy slice-of-life adventures, quirky characters, and calming atmospheres.
“Bee and Puppycat” is now available to watch on Netflix.
Katlynn Rossignol is a Freshman Communications Major and A&E writer for Cedars. She loves 2D animation, superhero movies, and the color pink.
Header image courtesy of Animation World Network