Vertical Comics’s special edition of Chi’s Sweet Home is massive! There is no way anyone in the demographic that Konami Kanata’s manga is meant for could carry it. Each one of the four volumes (which have three regular-sized ones crammed in) is weighty on its own, but imagine having to carry four of them within a package that’s bulky as is. So consider this a slight warning for parents looking to get this: be prepared to set some time to read Chi’s Sweet Home with your children.
With all of that being said, this is the perfect series to get your kids into manga.
Chi’s Sweet Home follows a little cat’s journey to find her place in the world. That place is with Yohei Yamada and his parents, within a 670 square-foot apartment in Japan. At first, Chi is unhappy with his surroundings, with her yearning to new outside and searching for a familiar feeling. But as time goes by, Chi warms up to the Yamadas, as she becomes a big part of the family. What follows is a little kitten’s journey of growing up and discovering new and fascinating things about the world.
The storytelling aspect of Chi’s Sweet Home is very simplistic, tailor-made for a young audience who desire something cute to read. Its narrative places a big emphasis on the realm of curiosity, as Chi looks, plays, and experiences things that are unfamiliar to her. Whether it’s her first bath or playing with a bouncy ball, readers will see these average things in life through the eyes of an overtly-excited cat. And believe me when I say that Kanata does a great job with painting everyday life things in a shade of joy!
What I appreciate about this manga is how it doesn’t assume its audience is dumb. There’s a lot of maturity that’s shoveled into the cute and fluffy adventures of Chi. Be it a need to find a new place to call home or how scary it is for a beloved pet to be seemingly lost, the more tougher things that the feline experiences are presented in a light that’s both innocent and understandable. While it doesn’t ask tough questions, Chi’s Sweet Home nevertheless deals with some of the less-than-joyful things with a sincere head pat and chin rub.
On top of the complete collection, there are a lot of great tidbits within these volumes that are thrown in as afterwords. Select chapters of Kanata’s others series Fuku-Fuku are added on, along with as some behind-the-scenes elements that show the world that Chi lives in. Kids can learn how to make Chi’s head as origami, and readers can see how the cat’s been presented in many parts of the world. An interview with Kanata dives deep into the creation of Chi, as well as his surprise when Apple wanted to showcase the cat in a worldwide commercial.
For this special edition, the four books are kept in a sturdy and well-made box. Again, it’s not the best for carrying the entire collection from spot-to-spot, but it’s certainly visually appealing. Also included are 60 expressive stickers on five sheets, featuring all of Chi’s trademark looks and attitudes that kids have come to love. (Just be sure your kids don’t stick them where they don’t belong!)
If you’re looking for a great first manga for your youngest family members, then you absolutely cannot go wrong with Chi’s Sweet Home. The amount of humor and cuteness that’s splattered on every page will delight both kids and cat lovers all throughout its massive four omnibus volumes. Those in need of some good innocent fun will no doubt be over the moon by what Kanata’s manga has to offer, especially for when it’s time to tuck the kids in bed after a long, adventurous day.
Promotional consideration provided by Tomo Tran of Vertical Comics