Flash Review – Junji Ito’s Cat Diary

In the intense war between which is better, cats or dogs, everybody in their right mind knows that dogs are the only choice. Even acclaimed horror mangaka Junji Ito agrees with me. But then in the worst betrayal since Benedict Arnold did his thing, he defects, all because his pupilless wife brought cats into his life.

The Autobiography:

This manga is a striking diversion from Junji Ito’s usual affair. It’s a collection of anecdotes on his cats, and the only thing horrifying in it is his wife’s taste in pants. It is a bit tricky coming to grips with this genre diversion if you’ve read his other works, but this is like the behind the scenes extra on a BluRay set, where you get to see a splash of the life of the talent behind works like Uzumaki and the Enigma of Amigara Fault and learn that he’s just a regular guy and not some cackling madman drawing deformed human faces in the dim corner of his bedroom.

The Frightful Imagery:

There’s the most interesting juxtaposition between the artwork and the stories, and that’s how Ito drew all the chapters in his trademark creepy style with no sense of irony. A good chunk of this manga’s enjoyability comes straight from this contrast, and given its lighthearted and oftentimes silly nature, it almost feels like a parody of his other works.

The Inferior Choice:

Junji Ito may no longer be a brother-in-arms in the dog army, but his slices of life as a cat owner are plenty charming. You get a sense of the personalities of his two felines, and even though he’s a traitor to dogkind everywhere, I sympathize with his plights of struggle, such as when he needs to get up but his cats have fallen asleep on his chair legs.

The Verdict:

I originally bought this with a batch of his other works, but when I found out it was a comedy, I thought, “Comedy? I don’t read Junji Ito to laugh, I read him to watch hair sprout out every pore on a girl’s body.” But I was pleasantly surprised. Sticking to his style enhanced the comedic tone, and it was amusing seeing how smitten a man becomes with a pair of tiny tigers in his household. It’s less of a cover-to-cover manga and more of the stories you tell your buddy while you’re at the bar. It’s a break from the norm.

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