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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!
Natalie Reiss
Progress: 20/120 pages
Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
Progress: 148/441 pages
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
Progress: 667/3165 minutes
A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Report on the Selected Problems of the Technical Departments of the University of Illinois Library
Raynard C. Swank
Progress: 20/42 pages
Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases
Professor Roy Benaroch, The Great Courses, The Great Courses
Progress: 34/725 minutes
Chi's Sweet Home, Volume 1 - Kanata Konami I think very highly of this series so far. True, not much goes on, but Chi is delightful. If you have ever lived with a cat, you will probably find quite a bit of Chi's behavior and the Yamada family's experiences to be familiar. And, if you're like me, you may find yourself wishing you could have a big Chi poster to plaster on one of your walls.The things the Yamadas go through with Chi are things many cat owners (or pet owners, in general) go through when they get their first cat, especially when the cat is a found stray. My own cat, who I have now lived with for almost 8 months, was found under a car when she was a tiny kitten. I had a bit more time to adjust to having her than the Yamadas had with Chi, but I remember getting all of her things, figuring out where to put everything, making sure she knew how to use the litter box, and, in general, just trying to figure out what her personality was like and how she was going to fit into my life. Remembering all of that, I had to smile while reading about the Yamadas doing some of the very same things I did.Although the danger that Chi will be discovered is very real, this volume, at least, focuses primarily on humor and sweetness. Even during the times when Chi is almost discovered and Mr. and Mrs. Yamada worry that they might be evicted, Kanata doesn't weigh things down with that worry and keeps things light with fairly humorous solutions. As anyone who has ever tried to hide owning a cat knows, however, this situation can't last long, and I wonder how Kanata will be able to keep the tone of the series light. For now, for example, the Yamadas have managed to camouflage Chi's habit of sitting on the windowsill, but Chi will soon get much bigger and more obvious. Also, if apartment-living in Japan works the same way as apartment-living in America, the Yamadas will have to figure out what to do when they need maintenance work done or when someone comes to do apartment inspections or pest control.For those who are wondering, Chi is anthropomorphized somewhat - she meows rather than speaking, but readers are shown her thoughts, which are done in a somewhat inconsistent babytalk. While the babytalk helps emphasize how young Chi is (and may have been a feature of the original Japanese), the inconsistency bothered me a little. For instance, Chi will say something like, "So scarewy!" Shouldn't that have been, "So scawey"? Sometimes her l's and r's are replaced with w's and sometimes not. While I'm sure readability might have been compromised if that had been done, I couldn't seem to keep myself from noting every time Chi's l's and r's were fine. It was a little distracting, so I hope that Chi grows out of her babytalk in future volumes.Chi has happy, sad, angry, and scared expressions, just like any of the human characters in this volume. However, I thought Kanata did an excellent job of making Chi's expressions seem believable on a cat. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've seen some of those same expressions on my kitten's face, particularly "serious face" and "happy purring face." Kanata can definitely draw cats well. As an added bonus, the entire volume is in color. Manga lovers know how amazing this is. All of the manga I've ever read has been black-and-white. If any pages were in color, it was usually only a few extra drawings of the first few pages of the manga, and US companies don't always release volumes with those color pages actually still in color. I don't think I've ever read anything published by Vertical before, but they've impressed me with this volume, which has gorgeous color throughout, feels well-made, and is still somehow only $13.95 (and that's the cover price - you should be able to find it cheaper).As a cat lover, I can't help but worry about Chi's future with the Yamadas and feel sad about her continued futile search for her mother. Chi wants to find her mother but can't, or, being a kitten, gets distracted during her searches. She dreams about being with her mother and remembers her mother grooming her when Mr. Yamada pets her in her sleep. It's the kind of thing that makes me want to go hug my own kitten.Overall, I loved this volume. I loved it so much, in fact, that I plan on buying the later volumes as I can afford them. This is one of those series that I think I would regret not having bought if it ever went out of print, so I'm going to make an effort to collect it.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)