Chi’s Sweet Home Volumes 3 and 4
The “cute cat comic” by Konami Kanata continues with some family changes. As volume 3 starts, the big black cat introduced in volume 2 is teaching kitten Chi how to open doors on her own, not an action that’s a particularly good idea. The black cat is the source of all trouble, Chi’s inappropriate parent figure, showing how to mark territory and hunt birds and other ways to annoy people. That indicates how animal instincts don’t always match people preferences.
The kitty’s inner monologue, populated with extra letters, is still just this side of being cloyingly cute, as Chi ponders “gowing for a walk” or thinks something’s “scarewy” or congratulates herself on having “moved it shome”. Stories with the family don’t get as far inside her head, instead viewing her from the outside, as when they’re trying to take her picture (but she won’t hold still) or hiding her from the apartment manager. That conflict becomes more of a driver, as the family comes to a decision and carries it through in volume 4, where most of the volume is about Chi’s learning and reactions.
The colors really make this book, with the outside shades being particularly attractive, pure green grass and deep blue skies with puffy clouds. My favorite chapters in volume 3 were the ones where a young cousin came to visit, because seeing an agressive kid chase a kitty is just too cute, especially in a format where I know no one, human or pet, is really getting hurt. Touching in a different way is Chi’s frustration at being locked inside more aggressively, to prevent her from being discovered.
Volume 4 takes Chi to a new place, as the family packs and relocates to a pet-friendly housing complex. If you like the parts where she misunderstands human choices best, then this is the volume for you, as the poor thing doesn’t understand boxing up belongings or movers or having a new home. She’s got a lot to adjust to, including exploring a staircase for the first time.
Visually, there are even more adorable animals, as all the neighbors have pets too, including a lovely bouncy beagle. Chi winds up settling in and playing hide-and-seek in a cute chapter sequence near the end, but she’s never too far from the melancholy that pops up throughout the series.