My latest manga obsession is an adorable 4koma series that is super-easy to get into and sure to bring a smile to your face! Longtime readers of my blog posts know that I am a big fan of monsters. I love anything spooky, whether it has horns, fangs, or a ridiculous number of eyes. I am also a huge fan of manga, folklore, and Japanese culture. So, it would make perfect sense that a series that combined all these things would be just right for me! Keep reading to learn about the adorable series I’ve been enjoying so much lately: Yokai Cats by Pandanina.

Let’s first get some of our terminology out of the way. Yōkai, for those of you not familiar with the word, translates loosely from the Japanese as “monster”. The literal translation is something closer to “strange apparition”. These are the strange, weird, paranormal creatures of Japanese folklore. And Japan has an amazing array of them, from giant walls that can move on their own, to a hopping, one-eyed, one-legged umbrella monster. And then, of course, there’s cats. We all know cats–those cute, fuzzy little creatures that play with yarn and chase mice and steal our chairs as soon as we get up from them. Put those two concepts together, and you get yōkai cats!

Each page features a 4-paneled comic (called 4koma) about the lives of humans and their yōkai cats. There’s Ningyo, the mermaid cat that softens the hardened heart of a ruthless CEO; Kappa, with its green fur, love of sumo, and bowl-shaped indentation on the top of its head; and Rokurokubi with its extremely long neck.

My personal favorite is Nurikabe, which is a giant, fluffy wall.

This is a super-chill series with full-color illustrations and relatively little plot, so readers can jump in and out of the series as they see fit. Enjoy the fun of watching humans interact with their unusual pets, which despite appearances are still very much sweet, adorable cats. Sure, they might be faceless, thin as a scarf, or made of smoke, but they’re really, really cute and we can’t help but love them. In our collection, we currently have books 1-7 (and I anticipate there will be more in the future)!

Happy Reading!

Erin

I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.