If you’re a fan of Junji Ito, you’re probably familiar with his dark, terrifying works like Uzumaki and The Enigma of Amigara Fault. You may have picked up the English releases of Tomie and Dissolving Classroom. But even his biggest fans may have missed one of his greatest works: the tale of an engaged couple and their day-to-day life with a pair of cats.
Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu was released in English in 2015, and stars J-kun and A-ko (Ito and his then-fiancé) as a new couple moving in together and welcoming a pair of cats into their lives. One, the “accursed face” Yon, comes with A-ko from her parents’ house. The other, a Norwegian forest cat named Mu, is adopted to keep Yon from getting lonely.
The problem? Horror of horrors — J-kun is a dog person!
While the comic is a slice-of-life comedy, Ito is definitely exercising his usual horror art style here… often at his own expense. The two cats often find themselves on the receiving end of unwanted human affection, complete with one of his Trademark Scary Faces. By the end of the manga, the four of them are living together happily. Well, perhaps with a few bumps here and there.
The manga even includes photos of the cat in question, which is always appreciated. For one thing, cat photos are great. For another, it proves Ito’s statement about Yon appearing to have a skull on his back!
If you’re curious about it, you can read the first chapter free online, and buy it directly from the site if it strikes your fancy. Cat owners will love the stories of everyday life, whether or not they’re familiar with the artists. But Junji Ito fans will especially enjoy his horror style used in a new venue for comedic effect.
In case you were wondering — there was also a short, two-part “Dog Diary” about Ito’s ten-year-old Maltese, Lulu. This was only two chapters long and, at this point, is not available translated.
What do you think of the cat diary? Has the Japanese master of horror manga hit the nail on the head? Let us know what you think in the comments!