Chi’s Sweet Home 1 by Konami Kanata: A-

From the back cover:
TAKE THIS KITTY HOME

Chi is a mischievous newborn American shorthair who, while on a leisurely stroll with her family, found herself lost. When we found Chi it was clear to us she was completely distraught as she longed for the warmth and protection of her mother. Feeling sympathy for the little furball, we quietly whisked her away, inviting her into our small apartment home… where pets are strictly not permitted. While we dread parting with her, there is no way she can stay.

Little Chi is a happy and healthy litter-box trained kitten. And while she can be a little bit of a handful, she has been a great source of joy in our lives and a wonderful companion to our young son. Living with Chi has completely changed our lives, and we are sure she will have the same impact with whomever gives her a good home.

Review:
One day, a small tabby kitten is enjoying a stroll with her mother and siblings when she’s distracted by a fascinating bird and ends up getting separated from her family. She’s found by a small boy named Yohei, and his parents end up taking care of her in their no-pets-allowed apartment while they try to find someone willing to take her. Eventually, of course, they wind up falling in love with the adorable kitten and decide to keep her.

At first, Chi is determined to get home, but pesky distractions like bowls of milk and tantalizingly drippy faucets keep delaying her departure. In time, memories of her feline mother fade and she begins to look on her human caretakers as her new family, even though they subject her to horrors like baths and trips to the vet. Chi’s kitty behavior is not idealized—a few chapters deal with her struggle to find an acceptable place to “wee,” for example—but is sympathetic because a) she’s incredibly cute and b) readers have insight to her thoughts, be they earnestly confused (see above re: wee) or simply exuberant (her delight in the discovery that Daddy’s jeans are the ideal surface for sharpening one’s claws).

I had fully expected to find Chi adorable—it took only eight panels for me to say “Aww!”—but hadn’t considered that Yohei would be just as cute. I’m not sure how old he is—not quite old enough to be perfectly potty trained himself—but he’s a clever little boy, and it’s he who ends up giving Chi the clue she needs to figure out that the box in the bathroom with all the lumpy stuff in it is sadly not a playpen but her new toilet. (As a side note, I had always figured that Chi’s name was related to chiisai, the Japanese word for small, but it actually relates to pee. Poor kitty!)

Although unusual for manga, the full-color artwork in Chi’s Sweet Home is absolutely gorgeous. It’s vibrant without being garish, and is such an integral part of the story that I find it impossible to imagine how this series must look when it runs in Morning, at which point in time the art is still black-and-white. I don’t think I even want to know! The warm colors, small trim size, and left-to-right orientation (a smart marketing decision on Vertical’s part) all contribute to a book that looks and feels like something kids would be drawn to. I’m going to test this theory by loaning it to my coworker’s daughter.

On a final note, Chi has at her disposal a vast array of facial expressions. As I read, a thought kept niggling at me: “This reminds me of something. What is it?!” After much pondering, I realized that some of the faces Chi makes remind me of Kimi ni Todoke’s Sawako in super-deformed moments. Presented for your consideration:

Chi’s Sweet Home is published in English by Vertical, Inc. Volume one will be released on June 29, 2010. The series is ongoing in Japan, where volume seven came out two months ago.

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Comments

  1. Sam Kusek says

    HAHA I love the comparison at the end! This book makes me miss owning cats but I agree; it is a gorgeous book! Great review!

  2. Hee! I can’t read this yet, because my book has not arrived, but I stopped by for the pictures at the end. AWESOME. 😀 :


Trackbacks

  1. […] Michelle (Soliloquy in Blue) Smith gives the book an A-: “Although unusual for manga, the full-color artwork in Chi’s Sweet Home is absolutely gorgeous. It’s vibrant without being garish, and is such an integral part of the story that I find it impossible to imagine how this series must look when it runs in Morning, at which point in time the art is still black-and-white. I don’t think I even want to know!” […]

  2. […] vol. 9 of Black God (ANN) David Brothers on Children of the Sea (ComicsAlliance) Michelle Smith on vol. 1 of Chi’s Sweet Home (Soliloquy in Blue) Theron Martin on vol. 16 of Claymore (ANN) Lissa Pattillo on Domu (Kuriousity) […]

  3. […] Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Chi’s Sweet Home (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Michelle Smith on vol. 1 of Chi’s Sweet Home (Soliloquy in Blue) Kevin Hodgson on Escape from Pyramid X (The Graphic Classroom) Christopher […]

  4. […] reviews have been decidedly enthusiastic, with Michelle Smith offering this apt summary of Chi’s appeal: At first, Chi is determined to get home, but pesky distractions like bowls of milk and […]

Speak Your Mind

*