Cats are everywhere and inescapable. Love them or hate them, they will never leave us. What’s Michael? is a fun manga series that captures all the different aspects of cats and the people that love them or fear them.
Asking about the plot of What’s Michael? is like asking about the purpose of the universe. The series focuses on not just a single tabby cat named Michael but multiple Michaels across various realities. One chapter Michael is a normal cat who only understands English, and in another he’s a business manager at a feline-run corporation. That said, there are human characters whose continuity carries over from previous chapters. My favorite characters are Yakuza K and Yakuza M. K is a man who tries to hide the fact that he loves cats to the point that he goes to bed with Michael while wearing pajamas with the words “I Love Cats” written all over them. Meanwhile, M is a man who tries to hide the fact that he is deathly afraid of cats. The characters' interactions are hilarious to watch as they try to keep up their macho personas while also having to deal with events that bring out their cat love/phobia.
What this book lacks in plot it makes up for in concise storytelling and humor. With continuity being a minor issue, author Makoto Kobayashi can create any situation imaginable. This makes reading for long sessions fun because Kobayashi is always mixing things up. The situations are also very relatable; any cat owner knows what it’s like when a cat’s favorite spot to rest in is the worst spot imaginable. As someone who wants to own a cat, I laughed and connected with the chapters about a man who tries to get Michael to love him, even though Michael never reciprocates. Even though this was originally published in the 1980s, the situations are just as fresh and relatable as they were decades ago.
Kobyashi has a knack for portraying cat behavior in a realistic way. Even when the scenarios get ridiculous, readers are always reminded of the cats’ true nature. Most of the humor stems from the cats just being cats. Micahel could be interrogated by a feline cop, but then a fly buzzes by, and all the cats chase after it.
What I truly appreciate is the visual storytelling. What’s Michael has chapters that are entirely dialogue and narration free. As someone who reads a lot of dialogue-heavy manga, this is a breath of fresh air. There aren’t many manga that rely on visuals and “reading the room” as much as What’s Michael? (Cross Game comes to mind), but I wish there were.
Much like Chi's Sweet Home or A Man And His Cat, this is a great manga for cat lovers. Using manga as a visual medium, the series is a breeze to read and very fun. There’s always something that will keep the reader coming back to read more, and soon everyone will be all in on the What’s Michael multiverse.
True-to-life daily cat scenarios and off-the-wall crazy feline fantasies combine in this epic manga collection! Makoto Kobayashi's hilarious series returns in a set of oversized collections, starting with our first Fatcat Collection! Whats Michael? FatCat Collection Volume 1 contains the out-of-print original What's Michael? Volumes 1 to 6. Over 500 pages of tumultuous fun, including the out-of-print volumes Michael's Album, Living Together, Off the Deep End, A Hard Day's Life, Michael's Favorite Spot, and Michael's Mambo.Add to CartLearn More