By: Konata Konami
Translator: Ed Chavez
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Series: Chi's Sweet Home
There are certain books you stumble across repeatedly whether they are mentioned by friends or are included in lists or articles online. One manga I kept coming across is a story about a cat that looked absolutely adorable. I’ve finally read Chi’s Sweet Home, Vol. 1 by Konata Konami.
The story follows Chi, a cute little kitten that gets separated from its mother and siblings only to be found by a little boy visiting a park. Chi is taken home by the family even though they aren’t allowed pets in their apartment. What follows are a series of cute happenings and hi-jinks around Chi’s new home.
Now. Let’s get into the good and the pet peeve, shall we?
The idea for this manga is very cute. I love cats. I love cat pictures. I love videos of cats doing funny things. After hearing about this manga for so long I jumped at the chance to read it. Chi is adorable, and the story heartwarming. It’s light, fluffy, and doesn’t have a whole lot overarching plot line. But that’s alright. It’s just not that sort of story. It’s episodic in nature, fun, and fluffy.
Chi gets into the sort of antics that you’d expect of a kitten. We see the kitten do kitten things and the family that takes her in go from bemused to exasperate. Both Chi’s behavior and the behavior of her humans are very true to life, which adds a lot to the manga.
The thing that bothers me the most about this manga is that it was flopped. Flopping, for those who don’t recognize the word, is when a publisher takes a manga that is normally read back to front and left to right flips the entire work so that its read the way we normally see in the US. This is unnecessary at best. Simply put, I don’t like it when the publisher assumes readers are morons who can’t figure out how to read a handful of dialogue bubbles in the correct order. I dislike the fact that the mangaka’s artwork was altered even more.
Aside from backwards, ancient practices the rest of the western manga industry left behind more than a decade ago, I have some issues with the dialogue. The manga is told from Chi’s point of view. Being a kitten, Chi talks in baby speak. At first this was very cute. It really got across just how young Chi was and how ignorant to the world she is. However, it did start to grate a bit on one’s nerve as the manga went on.
I do really like the art. It bears no frills, no deep shadowing or intense detail, but the story being told doesn’t call for it. The art itself tells the story perfectly well and could absolutely tell the story perfectly well without the use of any dialogue. I really like this about the manga. It definitely made me want to keep reading despite disliking certain aspects of the story.
I can’t help but feel that Chi’s Sweet Home deserved a better English release. I can’t say that I will be continuing with the series, but if I happen across more copies at the library it is possible. Ah well, I suppose I can’t adore everything. Still, if you’re looking for something cute and heartwarming this definitely the sort of manga that will put a smile on your face.
You like episodic, sweet stories; You like stories in contemporary settings
Don't Read If:
Manga printed in US graphic novel formatting drive's you crazy; Baby talk annoys you