MANGA REVIEW | "With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun" - Vol. 1
I’m what you would call the line between being a cat person or a dog person. All my life, I spent ogling at my friends’ and neighbors’ furry friends, wanting to play with them all the time until they got sick of me. It wasn’t until 2014 when my family got their own pet, in the form of a Havachon we named Lucy. After reading the first volume of Hidekichi Matsumoto’s With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun, I’m convinced that she has both of the personalities of the author’s two pets.
Originally starting out as Twitter-based comics, With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun follows the day-in-the-life antics of the author and her pets Inu-kun and Neko-sama. The former is a cheery pup that loves attention and playing, whereas the latter is a lazy feline who likes to steal and cause chaos. Yet despite their opposite personalities, the pets get along like Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple. Somewhere, the author fits herself into the antics, as she finds solstice from the cuteness of her two animal comrades.
One of the things that people should know going into Matsumoto’s story is that it’s not exactly a traditional manga. In fact, one could compare it to a combination of a blog and a Sunday funny, with its narrative not exactly linear. Neko-sama and Inu-kun are — in a way — the Garfield and Odie to Matsumoto’s Jon Arbuckle, with their antics causing a mixture of laughter and exasperation. The only difference between this author and Jim Davis is that there’s a lack of anger or frustration over when a pet acts up.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that Matsumoto presents With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun with a mindset that makes it relatable to pet owners everywhere. From the way Inu-kun wants to constantly play to Neko-sama wanting only a sliver of attention when it wants it, the author captures how one lives with pets is very much on-par with how it truly is. There’s no exaggeration of pets acting up, nor does the cat in the family crave a hot piping tray of lasagna. What Matsumoto tells and draws is exactly the way pets treat their owners, and vice versa.
This does lead to the comedy being more chuckle-based than rolling-on-the-floor laughing. It’s hard not to admit how cute the antics of both Neko-sama and Inu-kun are, but it won’t make anyone fall off their chair from overt giggling. And to a point, that’s sort of what Matsumoto is attempting to do with her series. She’s not going for something wacky or over-the-top; she’s presenting her little tidbits and asking, “Any of you experience this before?”
In a big way, it’s the sweeter moments that make Matsumoto’s story stick with you. Her story of thinking about her previous dog leads her to break down in tears, only for Inu-kun and Neko-sama to comfort her in the only way they can. The same goes for when she experiences a bad day, with her pets noticing her sad personality and attempting to bring about some joy back into her life. (I’ve noticed Lucy doing this for me whenever I have a bad day, so I can confirm that pets do know when you’re feeling down and out.)
With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun is a cute manga, one that pet owners will certainly relate to. Its first volume showcases Inu-kun and Neko-sama’s personalities well, giving way to what readers can expect in future volumes. If you’re someone who desires more pet comics that don’t involve cats commenting on their hatred for Mondays or a dog who is too big to do anything (seriously, that’s the only joke in Marmaduke!!!), then With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun will certain be a fancy feast that’ll leave you beggin’ for more comic strips.
Promotional consideration provided by Tomo Tran of Vertical Comics