Redemption comes in the form of the fifth volume of Konami Kanata’s excellent Chi’s Sweet Home (Vertical). In this volume, Chi discovers that she doesn’t need to leave the house to have an adventure. Along the way, she also grasps the importance of being able to feign innocence. Anyone who’s ever lived with a cat will nod in rueful recognition at this development.
Of course, Chi also manages to spend some time in the great, suburban outdoors, making a new friend and relying on some old ones when she wanders well beyond her familiar boundaries. Fun as Chi’s adventures are, and lovely as it is to think about a protective community keeping her safe, I’m very much a partisan of the indoor-only feline experience. It makes me reflexively uncomfortable to see a kitten given that much liberty, no matter how charming the fictional results. Of course, this is why I would be a terrible parent to a human child; they’d never know a moment’s unsupervised peace.
As is usual, Kanata sneaks in some extremely moving moments where hints of Chi’s past life intrude on the way she lives now. These interludes really balance out the sweet charm of the more antic, observational sequences, and they make the book work better than it might have without them. In slice-of-life storytelling like this, a variety of experiences and emotions are always welcome, even for a kitten.
(Remarks are based on a review copy provided by the publisher.)
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