A man & his cat is pretty famous. OK maybe some of you have never heard of it but Japanese readers fell in love with this manga when it started publishing and I had been hearing about it for years. And I thought about buying it on several occasions but I was always just a little afraid the story would make me sad.
However, a very kind friend of mine recently lend me the five first volumes and assured me that I would only be crying because of how sweet it is. And here we are…
Why I Picked up A Man & His Cat
I occasionally go on these manga escapades where I read a bunch of series based on a tag. Food was one and Cat was another. This manga comes up pretty much every time you look for manga and cat together.
The top manga launch in Japan in the first half of 2018, A Man and His Cat was also voted one of the top ten manga of 2018 by Japanese bookstore employees nationwide. Having won hearts and topped charts in Japan, this hotly anticipated series about an older gentleman and his unique, adorable cat is available in English for the first time!
In the pet shop he calls home, a chubby, homely cat whiles away the hours listening to coos of delight from potential pet parents…but he knows it’s not him they’re fussing over. Even as his price drops with each passing day, no one spares the kitty a glance. Having all but given up on life, the feline dejectedly awaits his first birthday, when he’ll officially be past his sell-by date. So when an older gentleman comes into the shop and wants to take him home, the kitten himself is most shocked of all! Will the man and the cat find what they’re looking for…in each other?
My First Impression
He’s not ugly (if you know, you know)
What I liked
Let me assure you that my friend was right. I did tear up and it was because this manga is just so sweet. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an edge of pain. This is the story of a man who has lost the love of his life and is living out her dream for her. They don’t go on about it too much but it’s still what’s happening and you can feel the edge of that loss on the corners of the pages.
The thing about stories like this, stories about healing and recovering from pain (in this case loneliness) is that you need the reader to feel that pain in order to appreciate the recovery. A man and his cat shares the pain as gently as possible but it’s still there.
I’m putting all of this in the good section because it is. It’s well done. The gentle lows really make you appreciate the calm highs and you’re left thinking that a world in which you can come home exhausted from work to a kitty anxiously waiting to get fed might be the best world of all. At least that’s how it was for me. And a manga that can do that is going to get high points from me.
In practice, it reminds me most of My roommate is a cat but when my friend lend it to me, she kept comparing it to Wonder cat kyuu-chan. In fact, A man and his cat is probably somewhere between the two or a mix of both.
In case you didn’t know, I really like both my roommate is a cat and wonder cat kyuu Chan. That last paragraph was a tribute to how nice a man ND his CT is.
Beyond that, it’s a manga tailor-made for me and full of the tropes I enjoy. The cast is considerably older, it’s a Iyashikei, there’s a cat getting tons of love, and there are respectful adult friendships. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
I like this manga a lot. I don’t think there’s anything bad about it but…
Have you ever had a friend that got a new pet or baby I suppose, that they were really into. Every time you saw them they would make you sit through a slideshow of pictures they took of it, and there were ALWAYS new pictures. And since you have nice and polite friends, they would listen to you patiently or force themselves to make some small talk before getting right back to regaling you with the most mundane exploits of their little bundles of joy. Like how they pooped in a new place or how gluttonous they are.
We’ve all known someone like that, right? I’m pretty sure that I’m someone like that… Well, a Man and his Cat is someone like that in manga form. And if you don’t care about pets or about people feeling less lonely, then it’s just a story about some old dude getting a random cat and buying cat food. Sometimes taking pictures of his cat…
I figure part of my readers read those last few sentences and thought to themselves, that sounds amazing! And it is, you guys should totally go and read A Man and his Cat as soon as you get the chance.
Another part of my readers might have thought, is there any teenage girls in it or when does the action start? And for you guys, there are tons of really marvellous manga out there that you will love, A Man and His cat is just not one of them.