Has anyone out there heard of Wannyan Dobutsu Byouin: Suteki na Juui-San ni Narou! before? Apparently, it’s a video game for the 3DS that was released in 2015 where the player cares for a series of adorable animals at a veterinary hospital. It doesn’t look like the game was ever localized to North America but, thankfully, the manga spinoff by Mingo Ito, a.k.a. Yuzu the Pet Vet, has been licensed, so we’re still able to enjoy all of the cuteness in manga form!
When Yuzu’s mother becomes ill and needs to be hospitalized, she moves in with her uncle who runs a veterinary clinic called Blue Sky City Bow Meow Animal Hospital. Poor Yuzu is struggling with feelings of guilt because she didn’t realize that her mother was sick earlier and, on top of all that, her uncle is short staffed and she has to help out in the clinic – and she’s terrified of animals! As she works in the vet clinic and sees the struggles that the pets and their owners are going through, Yuzu is inspired to face her own troubles head-on and learns that she might have what it takes to work with animals after all!
Yuzu the Pet Vet is a series that’s aimed at younger readers and I think that it’s a great manga for kids. The art style is cute, all of the animals are delightfully adorable and focusing the drama around children’s relationships with their pets allows the manga to tackle some pretty serious topics in a way that should be easy for children to relate to. Some subjects that this book addresses include: coping with the death of a loved one and accepting and caring for someone with a chronic condition. Some of these stories can get pretty emotional but there isn’t anything that I feel would be too upsetting for most middle grade readers to handle. There isn’t any blood or medical gore to speak of and the only animal patient that dies in this volume passes away peacefully from old age. I personally only cried a little while reading this book… Yep, a totally reasonable amount of tears for an adult reading a story about puppies and kittens aimed at children were shed… Honest…
My one complaint was that this volume was a little heavy on stories that featured dogs. Of the four pet patients that Yuzu and her uncle assist in this volume, three were dogs and one was a cat. Now, I like dogs as much as the next person, but I would’ve liked to have seen a greater variety of pets showcased, if for no other reason than to see more animals rendered in this precious art style! Hopefully, we’ll get to see some different kinds of animals in future volumes.
I had several pet cats when I was growing up and I thought a lot about them and how important they were, and still are, to me while I was reading this manga. Yuzu the Pet Vet’s depiction of the bonds between humans and their pets really connected with me and I feel that this sweet and touching series is a perfect fit for both children and animal lovers of all ages.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
For more information on this series, visit Kodansha Comics website.
What did you think of this manga? Did you have any pets growing up? How about now? Let me know in the comments!