Matsumoto’s Twitter cartoons about her dog and cat are collected here in a slim volume. The two animals featured are the exuberant, loving, excitable Inu-Kun, a small poodle, and the cool, deliberate Neko-Sama, a white cat with black markings.
Each vignette is only a few pages long and they are divided by black and white photographs of the animals and shorter comic strips about their antics. The stories often start with Matsumoto’s feelings, or an idea she has had, then show the varying reactions of the two animals. There are also funny stories about how people feel about animals, and some more reflective stories about Matsumoto’s childhood and previous pets, and her grief at their loss.
Inu is most often shown with a curly top-knot and fluffy ears, eyes sparkling, as he leaps and barks and loves every minute of life. Neko is a stolid bundle of fur, glaring with narrowed eyes at his owner, as he refuses to be drawn into her silliness but can’t resist trying out the toys and treats she brings. Neko is a cynical and suspicious cat, but he always makes sure his owner is happy in his own grumpy way.
Although there’s nothing wildly inappropriate for younger readers here, it’s very much from the perspective of a young adult starting to live on their own. In one vignette Matsumoto comes home drunk, but just ends up playing silly games with her pets. Another, more troubling episode has her calling a psychic when she’s lonely and being told she’s the reincarnation of an indigenous Peruvian llama herder. At one point, the psychic says “You are a girl with black hair and swarthy skin.” It’s played for laughs but seemed to me to show both ignorance and insensitivity to another culture.
This new series doesn’t have the depth and staying power of similar titles like Chi’s Sweet Home, but if you have a lot of teens who love quick animal comics and beg for Pusheen and similar pop culture cats, they’ll probably appreciate this light-hearted manga.
With a dog and a cat, every day is fun 1
By Hidekichi Matsumoto
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NFNT Age Recommendation: Teen (13-16)