Manga Mini Reviews (The Cat Proposed & MADK Vol 1)

The Cat Proposed

Souta Matoi is at the end of his rope. He’s over-worked, exhausted and feels like his life is empty. On the way home from work one day, he briefly contemplates committing suicide. Thankfully, Souta comes to his senses before he can go through with it and, looking for a distraction, he decides to attend a kodan performance, a traditional kind of one-man play. Souta is mesmerized by the performance and can’t take his eyes off of the charismatic storyteller, Kihachi. He’s so entranced that, at one point, Kihachi’s face seems to transform into that of a cat’s, causing Souta to freak out in the middle of the play. Souta, initially assumes that this was a hallucination brought on by lack of sleep, but then Kihachi approaches him after the show and reveals himself to be a bakeneko, a supernatural cat-creature capable of shape-shifting into a human. Then, Kihachi drops another bombshell in Souta’s lap; since the bakeneko are so secretive and reclusive, Kinachi could face harsh repercussions from his fellow bakeneko for being discovered by Souta, and Souta will likely be punished as well. There’s just one way to avoid this: Souta must become Kihachi’s mate!

The Cat Proposed, by Denot Hayane, is a charming supernatural romance that’s character focused, slightly melancholy and very sweet. Souta’s job has been draining the life out of him and over-work has taken a serious toll on his physical and mental health. Learning about bakeneko and the supernatural world comes as a shock, but the pretend marriage to Kihachi allows Souta to experience what it’s like to have someone looking out for him. Thanks to Kihachi’s care and attention, he starts taking a healthier attitude towards his job and is even inspired to start writing again. Kihachi, meanwhile, has lived a very long life and witnessed a lot of suffering. He worries about outliving Souta and feels guilty for getting him to agree to their fake marriage, since he was romantically interested in Souta as soon as he saw him. He winds up treating Souta like a kid in order to put some distance between them, something that hurts Souta, who is taking their marriage arrangement seriously. The resolution to this conflict was tender and touching and I felt that Kihachi and Souta made an adorable couple.

The Cat Proposed is at times humorous, at other times dramatic, and always magical. I’d recommend this manga to cat lovers, BL manga fans and anyone who enjoys supernatural romances.

Final Score: 8 out of 10.

For more information on this manga, visit Tokyopop’s website.

MADK Vol 1

Makoto is a tormented teen who has a very unusual fetish that he knows would repulse people if they knew about it. Feeling monstrous and desperate, Makoto summons a demon and pledges to give them his soul if they will allow him to indulge his sexual fantasies until he’s satisfied. Archduke J, the beautiful and powerful demon he summoned, agrees to his terms and proceeds to fulfill all of Makoto’s desires, even comforting the lonely and tortured boy before he takes his life. Makoto expected that to be the end of everything, but Archduke J winds up taking a liking to him and he whisks Makoto’s soul back to the underworld with him, where Makoto becomes the beguiling Archduke’s plaything and begins the process of transforming into a demon himself.

Ryo Suzuri’s MADK is a BL horror manga that feels like it’s targeted at a very niche audience, seeing as how Makoto’s kink is eating his partner’s flesh. While it turns out that I don’t belong to that target group, and was frequently uncomfortable while I was reading this, there’s a lot here that’s compelling. The art is beautiful – though some of the imagery it depicts is grotesque – and this manga is surprisingly funny. I actually laughed out loud in several places. The feelings shared between Makoto and Archduke J are more possessive or obsessive then romantic, but there is something fascinating about their dynamic and the manga quickly starts to build tension around Makoto’s transformation. I couldn’t help but be curious about how their relationship will change as Makoto continues to figure out the rules of the demon world and comes into his own as a demon.

While I found more to enjoy in this manga then I expected, I’m not a fan of horror and this proved to be a bit too weird and intense for my tastes. I think horror fans will find a lot to love here, but I wouldn’t recommend this manga to anyone who is squeamish about gore or body horror. This manga also contains scenes of non-consensual sex, so use your own discretion when deciding if you want to pick this title up.

I wasn’t sure how to rate this manga, so I don’t think I’ll assign it a score. Suffice it to say, if I was scoring it based on my own enjoyment, I’d probably give it a 5 or 5.5 out of 10, but, if I was rating it based solely on how successful it is at telling a story that incorporates elements of both horror and boys love, it probably deserves a 8.5 or a 9 out of 10.

For more information on this manga, visit SuBLime Manga’s website.

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