Author: Junji Ito
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
First Published: October 27, 2015
Master of Japanese horror manga Junji Ito presents a series of hissterical tales chronicling his real-life trials and tribulations of becoming a cat owner. Junji Ito, as J-kun, has recently built a new house and has invited his financée, A-ko, to live with him. Little did he know…his blushing bride-to-be has some unexpected company in tow—Yon, a ghastly-looking family cat, and Mu, an adorable Norwegian forest cat. Despite being a dog person, J-kun finds himself purrsuaded by their odd cuteness and thus begins his comedic struggle to gain the affection of his new feline friends.
A little off-beat for the king of Japanese horror, Cat Diary: Yon & Mu is a collection of short and funny anecdotes about Ito’s family and their two cats: Yonsuke and Mu. Decidedly a dog person, Ito comes to adopt two cats when his fiancé Ako moves in with him.
“Are you a dog person? Or a cat person?”
From the drawings I had seen before picking this book up, I had expected this collection to contain some element of horror, but it was nothing of the sort. Everything in this collection was bursting with humor and sweet family memories that many cat owners can relate to. Ito’s clumsy attempts to adjust and gain the affection of his new furry family had me giggling with each story. Ito’s signature horror style dramatize every day events, but it was charming and helped to amplify the humor.
Both cats had distinct personalities and habits that made each of them unique and adorable in their own way. It was really cool to see the cat’s personalities drawn and written so well, and it gives the reader an intimate portrait into Ito’s family life. Included in the volume were actual pictures of both cats, as well as Q&A’s with the author and a goodbye letter to Yon, who passed away after the original publication of this manga. I teared up a little bit reading about the loss of Yon after utterly falling in love with him through the comics.
This manga can be enjoyed by both fans of Junji Ito’s work as well as non-fans who just love cats. The volume is light-hearted and fun, and even for a comic that is essentially just about cats – it brings something refreshing and new due to Ito’s horror art style. It was great getting to know one of my favorite manga artists and his family, and in general, I’m a cat person, so this book checked off every box for me.
- Pros: A heartwarming and humorous look into a previously reclusive mangaka’s life with his cats.
- Cons: Ito’s brand of humor is at times overblown wth some horror imagery, may not appeal to non-Ito fans.