A Man & His Cat is the debut release of the new, North American manga publisher: Square Enix Manga & Books. Square Enix has been licensing out its manga titles for years, but they just recently established their own publishing company in North America and they’re kicking this new venture off with a bang, as this slice-of-life manga by Umi Sakurai is an adorable treat!
Due to his flat face and an unfortunately placed spot under his nose that resembles a booger, one nameless kitty has remained unsold in the pet shop for nearly a year. He’s watched as the more attractive kittens and puppies have gone on to loving new homes and resigned himself to never having a family of his own. That was until a distinguished looking man named Mr. Kanada walked into the store. Mr. Kanada recently lost his wife and is looking for a companion to ease his loneliness. When he sees the nameless cat, he finds his unusual appearance completely loveable and decides to buy him, much to the kitty’s surprise and delight. Mr. Kanada names the cat Fukumaru and the two start their new lives together and begin to fill the holes in each other’s hearts.
A Man & His Cat is comprised of a series of gently paced short stories focusing on Mr. Kanada and Fukumaru getting to know each other and adjusting to their new lives together. These vignettes are mostly humorous, as Mr. Kanada experiences being a cat owner for the first time and encounters many common problems, such as: excitedly buying a bunch of toys and accessories and then watching as your cat only displays interest in playing with the box they came in, or being crushed when your cat is doing something extremely cute but then immediately stops as soon as you have your phone ready to take a picture. They’re all very darling and relatable stories for anyone who’s owned a cat or is familiar with their foibles. Fukumaru’s butterball body and ugly-cute face only add to the hilarity of these scenarios, as does the fact that Mr. Kanada is completely enamoured with his “adorable” cat and openly gushes about him, much to his everyone else’s confusion. But Mr. Kanada doesn’t care what anyone else thinks; he knows that his beloved Fukumaru is the cutest cat ever and Fukumaru loves his new “daddy” just as much. They make for a very sweet pair and ultimately Mr. Kanada’s friends and co-workers are all glad to see what joy Fukumaru has brought to his life, even if they now think Mr. Kanada is a bit of a weirdo.
Some stories get a little sentimental, as we learn that Mr. Kanada’s late wife had always wanted to get a cat and that this is what had inspired him to buy one in the first place. We also see flashbacks to Fukumaru’s sad and lonely existence at the pet store before Mr. Kanada bought him and see how hurt he felt that no one wanted him, but these moments just make the loving relationship Mr. Kanada and Fukumaru share now all the more heart-warming. There are times when the manga’s cutesy-ness can get a bit cloying, such as Fukumaru’s tendency to speak in cat puns (like saying “Meowment” instead of “Moment”), but overall the tenderness that infuses Mr. Kanada and Fukumaru’s interactions is completely endearing and I found this manga to be a delightful read.
A Man & His Cat is a light-hearted and charming manga and a strong launch title that has me excited to read more from this publisher. I highly recommend this manga to fans of titles like Chi’s Sweet Home, to anyone who loves cats and to anyone who just wants to read something that’s touching and adorable.
Final Score: 8 out of 10.
For more information on this manga, visit Square Enix Manga & Books website: https://squareenixmangaandbooks.square-enix-games.com/en-us/product/9781646090266
What did you think of this manga? What’s your favourite manga about cats or pets in general? Let me know in the comments!