*Chi’s Sweet Home Book 2 — Recommended

Thanks to a gift from fellow reviewer Ed Sizemore, even though I didn’t like the first book of Chi’s Sweet Home, I read the second. And everything I disliked about the previous volume had been fixed!

Chis Sweet Home Book 2 cover
Chi’s Sweet Home Book 2
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This book was the “cute cat doing cute things” comic I’d come to expect from hearing others praise it. All of the out-of-place depressing “I miss my mom” stuff was gone. The overdone lisp in the cat’s internal voice had been minimized. Almost all of the exaggerated near-slapstick of hiding the cat from the neighbors was eliminated. (The situation does come up in a chapter or two here, but it’s handled at a reasonable level.)

Enough of what this comic isn’t. What is it? It’s 18 comfortably colored chapters of adorable cat behavior. Chi begs for people food (two of my favorite stories here). Chi doesn’t like water but is attracted by tub toys (another high point). Chi begs for attention or naps with the child or bothers dad at work or fights going to the vet. These are all very standard pet situations, but they’re drawn well, and the lovely pastel colors make them especially pleasant to relax with. This captures the joy and amusing frustration of pet ownership for those who can’t or don’t have one. Readers who do will love it even more.

There’s another character introduced in this volume, a free-roaming adult black cat who invades Chi’s space and shows her another way to behave and to relate to humans. In contrast to Chi’s kittenish cuteness, it’s almost frightening, The Cat Who Walks by Himself, to evoke Kipling. I don’t particularly like this cat, but I don’t think I’m supposed to. I’m still curious as to how much more we see of him and why. One other cat makes a guest appearance in a bonus chapter. FukuFuku is the star of an earlier series by Konami Kanata, drawn in a more minimal style and having less of a personality (at least in this appearance). That history is explained in an additional text note, a helpful addition.

Overall, if you haven’t tried this series yet, I recommend passing on the first book and starting here. Just as many TV shows don’t hit their stride until several episodes in, this series doesn’t demonstrate its full appeal until after the situation has been established. You won’t miss anything skipping that uneven setup.

10 Comments

  1. I still haven’t started volume 1 yet but I’m pretty far ahead in the anime. I did sort of like the whole focus on the mom in the beginning. As someone who has adopted kittens from shelters it’s comforting to think that perhaps they forget about missing their mothers relatively quickly. But at the same time it’s a bit sad too.

  2. If the book hadn’t been pitched to me (from multiple sources) as “cute kitty”, I probably wouldn’t have been put off so much by the melancholy and sadness. So it was really a case of my misleading expectations not setting me up for the different mood. This volume was much more what I was expecting (and looking for).

  3. I love this series to death! I have all the volumes in Japanese as well as English, and Vertical did a great job.

    And I personally think they did even better with the second volume than they did with the first.

  4. [...] New York Times Bestseller list for manga. The series deserves it. I did pick up volumes 3 and 4 of Chi’s Sweet Home and will review them with my nine-year-old nephew Christopher [...]

  5. [...] a victim of budgeting: Chi’s Sweet Home Volume 3 (Vertical, $13.95). Maybe Ed will loan it to [...]

  6. [...] the latest Manga Out Loud podcast, Ed talks with his nephew about Chi’s Sweet Home, the kitty cat manga. They specifically discuss books 3 and 4, and Christopher is already ready for [...]

  7. [...] cat comic” continues with some family changes. As Book 3 starts, the big black cat introduced in Book 2 is teaching kitten Chi how to open doors on her own, not an action that’s a particularly good [...]

  8. [...] They will be in the small/indie publishers section of NYCC. Five words make them a must-see booth: Chi’s Sweet Home and [...]

  9. [...] makes it surprising that there aren’t more of them. If you’ve finished with the latest Chi’s Sweet Home and are looking for more, you’ll want to check out Freedom!. Coming this spring, this is the [...]

  10. […] People love to decorate, to personalize their Apple machines, and the ad demonstrates just how creative they can get with the Apple logo on the top. For example, here’s Chi, from the manga series Chi’s Sweet Home. […]

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