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It is said that internet is for cats, so we definitely have to talk about them in the otaku world. We humans are fascinated with cats. In folk tales and legends, we notice their shrewdness and cunning. They have been associated with women, particularly as companions or incarnations of goddesses and witches. Cats either can guard your soul and help you, or trick you with their evil.
In Japan, cats have been part of the animist religion since a long time ago. Japanese have an old tradition of writing about cats in novels like I Am a Cat, by Natsume Soseki. Nowadays, these furry animals are considered as some of the greatest companions a human can have. That is why there is no surprise at the protagonism of cats in both anime and manga. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s briefly discuss ten of the top felines in manga!
10. Cha from Cha! Chu! Cho! 10
- Volumes: 1
- Published: 2000
Ei Mihara’s debut was Cha! Chu! Cho!. In this short story, she tells us the adventures of Cha, an old cat that suffers from constipation. We know how people can grow stubborn with age, so apparently, this also happens with Cha. His owner goes more and more desperate, as the cat refuses to take his medicine and more liquids. So, how will Cha and his owner manage with his sickness? Nope, we are not going to tell you 😉
What is adorable about Cha is how he resembles real life cats so much. Besides that, he also reminds us about real people. If you love cats but do not have much time to spend on reading manga, you should totally give Cha and his adventures a try!
9. Hiyori from Deka Neko Hiyori 6
- Volumes: 1
- Published: 2012
Emi Hashimoto’s debut was Deka Neko Hiyori. Apparently, the author knows cats well. She was able to capture the habits of these felines. Her protagonist, Hiyori the Main Coon, is a fat cat who behaves like a cute kitten.
Hiyori’s human has lived alone for 8 years, so her decision to adopt Hiyori turns out to be a great idea. Although, you should know that life with a fat cat will be a bit weird and hilarious. Hiyori always gets her way, after all!
8. Cats from Louvre no Neko (Les Chats du Louvre) 10
- Volumes: 1
- Published: 2016
Taiyou Matsumoto is an unconventional mangaka that has had success in the past with works like Ping Pong, Blue Spring and Sunny. For someone who likes to play with surrealism, cats are a good topic choice. Matsumoto’s style in Louvre no Neko resembles the old posters from the Art Nouveau times in Europe. It is almost as if we were not reading manga! Thus, it is ideal to tell us a story about cats in Paris.
Matsumoto opts to portray his cats in a mysterious way. The focus shifts from the predictable tourists in the Louvre Museum to the cats, who wander inside the building mostly in the dark. Surrounded by some of the most glorious art works in the world, the cats do what they know how to do best: being fascinating, immersed in the silence of history. We can not chose a single one, as all of them are special 🙂
7. Tae from Neko no Machi no Ko 14
- Volumes: 1
- Published: Jan 26, 2006 to Aug 27, 2010
Satoshi Morie has a long trajectory in the shoujo manga realm, although his works tend to be short. In Neko no Machi no Ko, we get to know a traditional town in Japan where tea houses abound and stray cats are well taken care of. Among them, a white female cat named Tae is the favorite of the residents, to the point that she is called Tae-san. She is called “Mother” by a child (Shiro) who was left behind by his birth mother. As Shiro lost his human mother and Tae had her kittens taken away from her, they become a family.
This does not mean that Shiro does not have people who care for him, but rather that his separation from his human mother was so traumatic, that he only finds solace in the company of other cats, especially Tae. This lady cat is patient, tender and is always there for him. She also makes a strong bond between Shiro and the residents of the town, as some sort of catalyst for the kid to overcome his sadness. For being a model of a mother, she is one of the most memorable cats in the manga world.
6. Black Cat from Kuroneko no Me ga Yami Ni (Black Cat) 10
- Volumes: 1
- Published: Jan 10, 1980
Let’s meet a cat who is the opposite to Tae-san, shall we? His story will attract you if you like horror stories like the ones written by Edgar Allan Poe. Hideshi Hino is a famous mangaka specialized in the vizare, with works like Panorama of Hell and Dead Little Girl. In Black Cat, he introduces us to Black Cat, a cat who is left to fend for himself.
Through Black Cat’s eyes, we wander cursed house after cursed house, meeting all sorts of human beings. Our feline protagonist is both fascinated and repellent towards people, as he observes and experiences the many facets of human nature. One thing will be sure, through Black Cat’s narratives, your skin will crawl and you will learn to respect animals. Specially experienced felines like Black Cat.
5. Kitty from Kyou no Nyakotan 9
- Volumes: 1
- Published: 2012
Minori Kashiwa is the creative mind behind Kyou no Nyakotan. If you like the countryside or nature, then you have something in common with the protagonist. This kitten lives close to the rise fields and he loves to explore the world. So, what happens when he encounters a baby duck?
What is adorable about the protagonist of Kyou no Nyakotan is his innocence and the way he becomes a friend with other animal species. This manga is also short for a quick read. However, if you enjoy this type of cat protagonists with sweet stories, you would also like to read the sequels to the kitten’s adventures in Kyou no Nyakotan Yurutto and Kyou no Raisu Bosu.
4. Nekomura from Kyou no Nekomura-san 9
- Volumes: 5
- Published: 2005 to 2011
Talking about I Am a Cat, some of the essence of its protagonist might have inspired Yoriko Hoshi, the creator of Nekomura. This lady cat is so industrious that she finds employment as a housekeeper for an upper-class family. However, Nekomura also is curious and likes to eavesdrop whenever she gets the opportunity. No mystery is left alone by her!
Nekomura’s story is full of comedy and the daily live situations of the Japanese. Our cat lady was so popular, than a sequel called Kaasa no Nekomura-san followed this manga. Remember, no one is better to tell you how Japanese are really like than an observant and poignant cat like Nekomura!
3. Bernie from Bernie no Enikki (Bernie’s Drawing Diary) 12
- Volumes: 1
- Published: 2001
If you love cats and utopias in a cozy environment, you might like to meet Bernie. Perhaps he is a distant cousin of Peter Rabbit and the rest of the creations by Beatrix Potter too 😉 Anyway, the debut of the mangaka Mineco tells us the story of what happened after humans disappear from the face of the Earth. Civilization has been advanced by cats and is everything we would have wished it was for us!
The protagonist of the story is a Puerto Rican black cat called Bernie, the eldest brother in a family of cats. His father is always busy fishing at the sea and his mother passed away, so Bernie is responsible for his younger siblings. Although our protagonist is still a little kitten, he does his best to be mature while also having fun. When he enters elementary school, he receives a diary to record his adventures as he grows up, being encouraged to pour his imagination on the pages. Bernie’s personality will remind you of the joys of the simple things in life 🙂
2. Madara from Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume’s Book of Friends) 11
- Volumes: 21
- Published: Jun 10, 2003 to present
Yuki Midorikawa is a young mangaka who really hit the sweet spot with Natsume Yuujinchou. The story follows the adventures of Natsume, a young man who can see spirits and receives a book that binds them, which used to belong to his grandmother. His mission now is to set them free, and for this reason, he will be counting on one of the most charismatic cats in the manga world: Madara.
Trapped in the form of a Lucky Cat (maneki neko) in a Shrine, Madara was released by Natsume. That is why he has retained the cute shape of a cat, although that does not explain why he loves to play with cats toys. Anyway, Madara is an old and knowledgeable spirit, who teaches a lot of useful stuff to Natsume. Plus, he has a dark side as well! Madara is truly a multidimensional cat. However, the number one spot to the most memorable cat in manga is for another one...
1. Chi Yamada from Chi’s Sweet Home
- Volumes: 12
- Published: Jan 8, 2004 to Jun 18, 2015
Kanata Konami authored other manga about cats before hitting the jackpot with Chi. The story could not be more simple: a small kitten gets lost and is adopted by the Yamadas, who name her Chi. The kitten is frightened by everything at first, but slowly bonds with the Yamadas and becomes one more member of the household.
So, why is Chi our cat of choice? Well, because she has everything we could wish from a beloved protagonist. Chi is extremely cute and can be adorable. However, she also has an aggressive side. In her blue days, she can be melancholic, while in her sunny days, she enjoys life to its fullest.
So, did you like our choice of cats? We tried to review mostly cats only found in manga, as cats in anime are already very famous. Have you read this manga with cats? Which other cats in manga do you remember? Don’t forget that we are open to all your comments and suggestions. See you soon!