This is a neat manga that tells a simple, yet complex, story from the perspective of an abandoned cat.
Title: She and Her Cat
Publisher: Kodansha (JP), Vertical Comics (US)
Story/Artist: Makoto Shinkai, Tsubasa Yamaguchi
Serialized in: Monthly Afternoon
Translation: Kumar Sivasubramanian
Original Release Date: August 1, 2017
Journey into the world of Makoto Shinkai’s She and Her Cat from the perspective of… the cat.
Drawn by Tsubasa Yamaguchi, this manga’s origins started with a five-minute OVA. Then in 2016, it got a manga and an anime. Vertical licensed it, and now we get to enjoy this work about adulthood. We all experience it, from its highs to its lows. For Miyu however, the realities of this life slowly begin to catch up with her.
Until she meets an abandoned cat on her way home.
There are a few things with She and Her Cat that were an issue. The biggest is it being vague about what Miyu actually does for a living. It throws one hint later in the volume, but even then it’s still unclear. While the story is told from the cat’s perspective, it then doesn’t make sense to have pages involving her when the cat’s not around. In other words, it struggled a bit with finding a way to show what Miyu is doing.
The art is a bit inconsistent. Like they’ll be a drawing where Miyu’s legs seems a bit out of proportion compared to the rest of her body, or we’ll get a cool scene where Miyu’s at her lowest point, and juxtaposed with Chobi’s reaction it works amazingly.
But thankfully, none of that takes away from what is a very strong piece on adulthood. While it does involve putting a ton of information together, She and Her Cat explores the daily struggles of adulthood. In Miyu’s case, not too long out of college and living alone, she has a job that’s tough and shies away from a social life. In addition, she wants to try and do things by herself, which only puts more pressure on her to live her life.
That’s why meeting Chobi is a turn from her. Also a turn is telling this story from Chobi’s perspective. While it could have established things better, it’s refreshing to read this from the perspective of the abandoned cat. From his perspective she saved him from dying in the streets, so she’s his ray of light. But as Chobi later learns, it’s not easy for her to live her lifestyle, and the ebbs and flows of that eventually takes a toll, and he’s there to document it.
Also, the ending is kind of a reminder that sometimes, you just can’t do it alone. But you also have to be independent enough to get things done too. Shinkai and Yamaguchi have teamed up to work on something that’s short, to the point, and sticks out in a nice way. This is a neat short story work that’s not quite up there with the best manga adaptation of his work (5 Centimeters Per Second), but it’s a worthy read on its own.