Junji Ito is renowned for his entries into the horror manga genre. Uzumaki and Gyo in particular have left him established as a fan favourite in western manga circles along with both titles also being adapted into films. Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack stands out as one of my more interesting anime viewing experiences having seen a midnight screening at Scotland Loves Anime 2012. I struggle to think of a more insane cinema experience than I had that night watching a film about foul smelling killer fish with robotic legs attacking Tokyo whilst surrounded by slightly inebriated Glaswegian anime fans.
As a result, I’ve always had time for Ito’s work and this week sees a new English release of one of his titles. Now, those expecting a straight up horror story may be disappointed as this one-shot is a little more off-kilter than his better known works (not that killer fish isn’t off-kilter). However, Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu is a truly unique experience as Ito pairs his iconic horror art style with real life escapades. Ito (or J-Kun as he is referred to in the book) has recently built a new house and has invited his fiancée, A-ko, to live with him. However, his blushing bride-to-be has some unexpected company in tow—Yon, a ghastly-looking family cat, and Mu, an adorable Norwegian forest cat. Despite being a dog person, J-kun finds himself drawn to their odd cuteness and thus begins his comedic struggle to gain the affection of his new feline friends.
Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu was one of our early releases at the Turnaround Stand at MCM London Comic Con. It sold out pretty quickly and it’s not hard to see why. While Ito’s name is a draw in itself, it is the pairing of his traditional creepy art style with hilarious pet hijinks that make this worth the read. Yon and Mu for the most part are presented as two normal cute cats. But when the more difficult aspects of cat ownership come into play, Ito brings out the more horrifying elements of his art style. Particular moments that stand out include Mu’s change from calm and docile to serial biter along with all the “gifts” that are brought into the house including a snake. Also included at the end are bonus features including colour photos of the real Yon and Mu, and answers to fan questions which validate the whole experience.
Any Ito fan should pick this up—even if they were expecting a straight up horror story—and cat lovers are bound to appreciate the real life trials and tribulations that go with owning them.
Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu is published 5 November by Kodansha Comics.
Post by Leo Sutherland.
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