Fushigi Neko no Kyuu-chan / Wonder Cat Kyuu-chan by Nitori Sasami

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In my never-ending quest to read manga about absolutely nothing (and cats!), I have discovered this adorable 4-koma (four panel) manga called Fushigi Neko no Kyuu-chan/ Wonder Cat Kyuu-chan.

SPOILERS

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I’m not really sure a person could spoil a story this simple, but let me try.

Some cold-hearted person has abandoned this cat in a box, in the snow, in what looks like public park.

Our unnamed protagonist strolls by and sees the cat:

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I’m not even entirely sure what gender this person is, and I kind of love that.

At first, it looks like our unnamed hero will pass this cat by without picking it up.  Spoiler! Chapter 2, our hero totally comes back for the cat.

In the way of these things, they become fast friends and hilarity ensues in a very cat-like manner:

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Clearly, Nitori-sensei has a cat.

There are, in point of fact, a lot of four panel chapters, like this, with little to no words. Nitori-sensei is also not beyond pure silliness (at one point we discover that our cat doesn’t want to take a bath before removing their ‘mittens,’ which are literal this once, for comedic effect.)

There are currently 30 chapters of this 2018 manga. Would I recommend it? Yeah, absolutely! I mean, cats! Doing nothing but cat things! CAAAAAATTTTS!!!

The thing that makes Fushigi Neko no Kyuu-chan / Wonder Cat Kyuu-chan stand out is that the protagonist occasionally seems heartless.  Like, how initially they walk by Kyuu-chan and seem to leave the cat in the snow, alone.  Normally, this kind of humor can bounce me out, but, for some reason (maybe the shortness of the scenes) it worked for me here.

I honestly don’t know what’s in the air in 2018, but between this and Ojii-sama to Neko, I could potentially die from all teh cute cat stuff.

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So, yeah, two thumbs (mittens?) up for this one.

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Ojisama to Neko by Sakurai Umi

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Something new to fulfill my desire to read heartwarming stories about absolutely NOTHING!!!!

Ojisama to Neko / The Gentleman and the Cat is ridiculously adorable. It’s kind of the manga version of the children’s series, Mr. Putter & Tabby, because you have an older man–a widower, living alone–who wants an older cat, the sort that other people pass by in the shelter because they prefer cute kittens.

This story, unlike some of the other cat stories I’ve reviewed, does give several scenes from the point of view of the cat.  Honestly, in this case, that makes the story that much more heartwarming.  Our ‘neko’ hero, for instance, has never had a name in all his life, having spent most of it in a pet store, waiting to be adopted.  He was happy to be called anything, even ‘Snotty.’

When our ‘oji-sama’ very carefully picks a name, a GOOD name, we get this:

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This whole freaking manga makes me eternally so happy.

It’s just chapter after chapter of these two being adorable and loving… I MEAN WHAT MORE COULD YOU POSSIBLY WANT????

Cat!

Nice old guy!

CAT!

There are, as of the publication of this review, only 5 very short chapters available.  It’s brand-new (2018) and they’re being scanned just about as fast as they’re coming out in Japan.  My son Mason, in fact, first saw this on Tumblr a few months ago, before any of the usual pirate sites had picked it up.  I’m really happy that MangaRock (linked above) and a few other folks are starting to put it in their roster. It’s as useless as it is AWESOME. I mean, by chapter five the most thrilling thing that has happened is that the Gentleman went shopping for cat supplies and the Cat got a name.

AND YET I’M SO SATISFIED I FEEL ‘ETERNALLY SO HAPPY.’

Bachi Bachi by Kuma Hyougo

I went looking under the tag “animal characteristics” at Baka-Update and was promptly inundated by a flood of choices, most of them NOT yaoi.  Alphabetically, this is the first one I found that looked promising.

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SPOILERS

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So, the guys on the cover aren’t actually animals or have animal characteristics.

In fact, they’re regular high school volleyball players.  They are the stars of the first chapter, “Bachi Bachi,” in which it looks like we’re getting set-up for the little guy to facilitate a love confession between his two senpai. What ends up happening, instead, is that they both confess they’re in love with him.  Very graphic sex ensues and they become a happy-for-now threesome.

The second chapter, “Youth, the Color of Sunset,” which involves another hottie dad….

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I’m beginning to worry about myself, but look at his guy!

In this story, we have a lonely, super-gay hairdresser who is working late one night when a pushy young woman comes in and demands that he make her dad hot, so Dad can find a woman. It seems he’s been divorced for some time and that was all fine when the daughter was still at home, but she’s off for college now, and it’s time for dad to get some action.

Guess where he finds it?

Yep, got it in one.

“Samurai Honeybee” follows a kick boxer who decides to try out a karate class at his local gym.  The normal instructor steps aside and let’s his super-attractive, younger apprentice teach the course. Kick-boxer is immediately smitten, but initially thinks his desire is to surpass the little runt and show him how awesome his skills are.

Instructor-kid is my usual type…. (the one staring stupidly out at us below:)

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As he’s actually an ex-gang member who turned to Karate to get out of the life of crime (I’d say “straighten-up” except… yeah, there’s nothing “straight” about what happens next.)  In his past, he looks even more like my usual sort:

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Playing out the scene we all want in a shounen anime, our kick-boxing main character challenges youthful karate instructor to a duel. If kick-boxer can beat karate instructor, he gets to dominate him.

And… that works out exactly how you hope. Right there in the dojo….

“Nana-nii-san’s dog and cat: 723-1122” is the “animal” chapter.  Here we have a science fictional universe where at some unnamed point in the future a virus spread that made most people infertile. The Japanese response to this, apparently, was to create human/animal hybrids.

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When the virus was cured, the “pets” were tossed out onto the street to perish from neglect.  Our hero, Nana (Seven), who is, himself a clone, has adopted two of these strays.  There is another threesome in this one that is kind kinky, and maybe hot??–I’m not sure I want to admit that, though.

The cat is charmingly cat-like, so that amused me.

The next chapter is called “Hatagaya Lullaby” and follows an old-fashioned, middle-aged author and the young goth rockstar that live in the same apartment building. They meet by accident and start up an intellectual affair–this might be one of the first times I’ve seen this kind of meet-cute.  The rockstar has read sensei’s work and they pass time talking about literature and eventually sensei, even though he really doesn’t fit with the goth scene, appreciates the similar artistry and poetry that goes into song lyric writing.

This, somehow, miraculously, leads to sex.

Clearly, the mangaka does not know any real novelists.  😉

The last chapter, “Blue, the Color of Depression” is a return to hairstylist and hottie dad, who have now moved in together.  Hairdresser is feeling like a bad partner because when he comes home, he finds hottie dad passed out on the couch, sick. Dad refuses to let hairdresser take care of him, but after a call to the daughter, hairdresser finds out that Dad just needs some attention.

Hairdresser takes time off work to be with Dad and everything is good again.

Kinda cute, I guess. It is actually sweet to have a romantic story in among a lot of very graphic smut.

Speaking of all the smut, I totally recommend this one.  I had a hard time finding a place that had all the chapters AND wasn’t totally riddled with spyware/pop-ups (the problem with full-on graphic images, I imagine), but, eventually, I discovered the full version of Bachi Bachi on MangaPark.

Have fun, kids. Read responsibly.

Itou Junji no Neko Nikki: Yon & Mu

Okay, so everyone who heard that I was reading horror manga in prep for WorldCON said, “You’ve GOT to read Junji Itou!”  So I went looking… and stumbled across this ADORABLE gem: Itou Junji no Neko Nikki: Yon & Mu.

SPOILERS

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This is NOT a horror manga.  You can tell it’s written by a horror mangaka, but it’s incredibly sweet and funny in the vein of Chi’s Sweet Home.  It’s also one volume, 10 chapters long and I think it took me ten minutes to read.  If you are a cat lover, you will adore this.

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The cat art is adorable.  Plus, if you’ve ever been jealous of a cat’s affection, accidentally picked up something you thought was a cat toy but wasn’t, or lost sleep worrying about a cat who was either lost or at the vet the story lines are very relatable.

Not scary.

Cute as hell.

I’m totally bringing it up on the panel though, because I feel like if you’re a fan of his horror stuff you should read his cat diaries!

Chi’s Sweet Home is… Wait For it… TOTALLY SWEET. (Vols. 1 -5)

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As I’ve revealed here many times before, one of my jobs is as substitute circulation staff in a county library system.  Chi’s Sweet Home by Kanata Konami is one of those junior lit manga that I’ve re-shelved so often that I finally broke, and decided to read a few volumes.

It’s…

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God damn it, it’s f*cking adorable.

In fact, I kind of hate myself for loving it so much.  The story follows Chi, a lost kitten, who ends up being adopted by the Yamada family.  If Chi were an American kitten, she would be called ‘Pee-pee,’ because, through various hi jinx, Chi thinks that every time the young boy, Youhei, announces he’s successfully potty-trained he’s calling for her.

What did I tell you?  It’s ridiculous like this.  And, somehow charming as f*ck.

I read volumes 1 through 5, because that was as many as my library had, and I would probably still be reading if they’d had more.

I’ve already confessed that I have a weakness for stories about nothing more than life in Japan.  Well, Chi’s Sweet Home actually has a lot more tension than say, What Did You Eat Yesterday?, because the Yamadas live in an apartment building that doesn’t allow cats.  Thus, there’s constant danger that Chi will be discovered and they’ll be evicted.  By volume 5, they mostly have that particular issue sorted out, but then Chi starts roaming the new neighborhood and is always getting lost or some other vaguely harrowing adventure.

So, honestly, the story, for what it is, is fairly gripping.

And so cute.

So god damn cute.

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I mean, come ON.  I dare you not to find this cute.