Review: ‘A Man and His Cat’ Volume 1
A Man and His Cat
by Umi Sakurai
Square Enix Manga, $12.99
Rated All Ages
This charming story of two lonely beings finding each other is heartwarming in its simplicity. The cat of the title has aged out in the pet store, too weird-looking to be taken home, until an older man picks him, calling him “lovable”. The two bond together.
The short chapters, most only four pages, slowly show how they come to support each other, as the cat is taken home, named Fukumaru, and settles into his new home. The man tries to take pictures when his pet does cute things and shares his piano-playing with him.
The moments add up to a slow-building portrait of comfort and support. It’s happy and relaxing to see the two cuddle. Fukumaru learns that food tastes better in a loving environment, and the two sleep better together. The cartooning isn’t overly exaggerated, except when it comes to the blob of a cat, who’s all the more adorable for it.
There are other cat manga out there, but this one stands apart, due to its older protagonist, lumpy-looking feline, and emphasis on feelings of home. The tendency to translate the cat’s speech with puns — “meowy” instead of “my”, “mew” for “you” — takes some getting used to, but it’s the only stumbling point in this quiet but affecting book. This manga is a great way to build empathy for those who might otherwise be overlooked.
Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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