A Man and His Cat Volume 4

Umi Sakurai continues to build out this world, balancing moments of substantial emotional depth with scenes of cute cat behavior with universal appeal.

A Man and His Cat volume 4 follows up from the previous volume. Hibino’s resentment towards Mr. Kanda, from the days when they were both concert pianists, is explained. Thankfully, they get new chances to interact, now that Kanda has retired from the stage, when they meet in the pet store and Kanda begins helping Hibino with the cat he never wanted.

Coincidentally, it turns out that Hibino’s cat might be a littermate of Kanda’s Fukumaru. We find out more about what drives Hibino’s jealousy (as his mother is a monster) as well as get new perspective on Kanda’s take on the situation. He’s not perfect, as he needs to face his own opportunities for growth. That it all comes together through the selfless affection for their cats makes it more thematic.

A Man and His Cat Volume 4

The emotions in this series can be ridiculously over-the-top. For example, when Hibino decides to keep the cat and names her, the feline has tears in her eyes because she’s so grateful to have a home. It’s exaggerated and yet rewarding. And there’s something satisfying about seeing people make new friends and encourage each other to stretch beyond their limitations and try new things, as when Mr. Kanda goes to a rock concert by one of his fellow teachers. The art supports all the realizations and relationships by showing us happy people and their pets.

The cats don’t resemble the actual animals at all, to my eyes, but the comfortable scenes of owner and pet cuddling each other are still heart-warming. The silly one-pagers, which illustrate small moments of cat behavior, provide mental resting space in between the bigger stories. I like that they’re understandable even to those without cats.

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