I Am a Cat Barista Volume 1
The premise of I Am a Cat Barista by Hiro Maijima is clear from the title, but on its own, that doesn’t capture the charm and comfort of this reassuring series.
Every chapter is another story where someone discovers this unusual cat café, “a place only the weariest of souls can find.” The human-sized cat barista doesn’t offer a menu. Instead, he observes and gives them what they most need.
An exhausted office worker with a jerk boss who’s too tired to sleep gets warm milk with honey and a place to relax. He gives a university student too shy to talk to the boy she’s interested in super-sweet coffee and a pep talk to build confidence.
Other stories involve a hangover remedy, a reminder to avoid peer pressure, delicious-looking desserts, and always a listening ear. One favorite shows the owner responding with his own enthusiasms when meeting a woman who’s embarrassed by her fandom. They bond over shared passion.
One might think that the owner is a cat just to make things visually interesting, but the author does try to tie in the animal’s behavior. Maijima notes that cats like to watch people, which gives the barista the information he needs to meet the customers’ wants. When a woman needs a place to rest and calm herself while looking for her lost cat, the barista is uniquely suited to help.
This manga is a welcome balm to tired readers, a wonderful dream of a place of comfort. I’m not sure how many teens will understand the feeling of deep weariness shared by many of the customers, where a cuddly-looking barista providing a treat and reassurance is calming. (The book is rated Teen and up.) Perhaps everyone is more over-committed these days than they should be. If so, this should be your next read.
Plus, in a bonus page, the barista is adorable when he sticks the tip of his tongue out while cleaning.
(Review originally posted at Good Comics for Kids.)