A couple of months ago, I noticed a large increase in manga collectrions about cats. And, because I like a challenge, and I know our customer base loves two things: manga, and books about cats, I decided to order and read every cat manga series I could get my hands on.
Here are my reactions from Hsssssst to Purrrr:
A Man And His Cat
Rating: Swing It By Its Tail And Hurl It Into The Sun
A story about a couple who decide, once the kids move out, to buy a cat. Only the wife dies, so the husband goes and adopts an older, not so cute cat. This sounds awesome. A story about grief and animals, and healing. Unfortunately, the cat talks exclusively in meow-puns. "I'm meowry sorry." (what?) "Meow am so lucky, meow." "I love you meowy much." I hated every panel. I hope when the writer dies, there is an afterlife, and they are forced to live with a six foot cat that talks exactly like this, and smells forever of cat pee. If you live on pixie stix and glitter and think purrhaps the dialogue wouldn't give you paws, then this might be the turd in your slipper you're looking for.
The Masterful Cat Is Depressed Again
Rating: Spray It With A Water Bottle And Make It Sleep Outside
The conceit: a nervous office worker has a large cat butler working at her house who attends to all her needs (not like that) is cute. Unfortunately, the protagonist screeches every line. And she just wants to get married, guys, why can't she be like all her normal friends? If all you've ever wanted in life was a Cathy Lives With Garfield gag comic strip, except the characters are Much More Annoying, then run right out and buy this before....actually, take your time, any store that thought to stock this certainly has enough to last them a long while.
Rating: Not Allowed On The Couch But Can Get Pets
I'm not big on gag comics. And this was a webcomic where the joke is "Aren't cats weird." except the cat in question is a ghost cat who interacts with a Goth girl. Ehhh. It's ok. It's definitely targeting young adults. And while it wasn't for me, it didn't cause me physical pain to read it. The art is not nearly as good as any other book on this list, and despite being a humor book, I never laughed a single time reading it. Still, in comparison to the previous two books, this is The Watchmen of cat manga (note: I think The Watchmen is an imporant, overrated boook that appeals mostly to young readers and nostalgic fifty-somethings).
I Am A Cat (The Manga Edition)
Rating: A Good Cat That Mostly Hides Under The Bed
This is also a cool conceit. This is an early twentieth century Japanese story about classism viewed through the eyes of cats. The original short stories are taught in Japanese schools now, so it's a fascinating piece of culture to be translated into manga, and then English. It didn't really grip me, but it's so different from everything else on the list that I appreciated its narrative. It's not exactly Showa (an amazing manga series about Japanese history), but if you like historical manga about Japanese culture, this is probably amazing.
I Am A Cat Barista
Rating: Extra Treats And Snuggles
This is my favorite gag manga that I've ever read. In each chapter, a person leaves a stressful situation and discovers a bar. The bar is staffed by a single, talking cat who makes drinks (not necessarily alcoholic) that give the person a new clarity about their life situation. Every character's situation is different, and they all react differently to the cat. There are characters who recur, and you get to see their development. It's a really comforting book that I will definitely order future volumes of.
Cat Massage Therapy
Rating: I'm Buying It A Cat Tower, A Fluffy Pillow, And The Most Expensive Food it Likes
I expected this to be another gag comic. Instead, it's a narrative story about a physical therapy business run by talking cats who get integrated into the Japanese business world. This is another comforting story that I want more of. And I only ordered it because one of our customers who mainly orders books with guns and boobs ordered it, and I thought "This is going to be terrible." I was so happy to be wrong.