Story/Art: Atsushi Okada
Translation: Caleb D. Cook
Lettering: Rochelle Gancio
What They Say:
Three shady thugs show up in Nekonaki, and they’re taking over the town one rough-and-tumble tom at a time!
To top it all off, as Ryuusei and the crew sharpen their claws for the next brawl, they get an unexpected visit from the Taiga’s exiled brother—the furmidable fighter Raiga!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It’s probably to match his brother Taiga’s name, but it is indisputable that Nyankees is actually wrestling cats. It’s written by Okada, there’s German suplexes…how much clearer can it get?
But anyway, this volume really delves into the three cats that are invading Nekonaki, but still doesn’t get into their motives. I think the pacing here is fine, since Okada is doing a lot with these new characters (three at a time is more than has even been introduced before, save for the beginning, I believe) in terms of what their abilities seem to be and having them face off against some of the cats of Nekonaki, plus introducing Raiga. So there’s a lot going on, even if we don’t know WHY it’s going on. I’d say even a chapter two more of this might be too much, but if it’s entertaining cat fights, I won’t complain too hard.
I think that’s something that is very good about this manga though. Manga fight choreography can be hit and miss, because of the pose that a particular character is drawn in, or the angle their drawn from. This is especially true when there’s added special abilities (in this case, only filling your fur with catnip and a stare down so far, so it’s not an issue yet). But Okada manages to draw everything to make sense, and that’s even switching between the cat and human views of everyone, which may even assist in the clarity. I’m not a cat, so I don’t know how cats fight (which, again, brings up the idea that if this were ONLY drawn as cats…I’d probably still be pretty into it), but the human aspects of it from what I’ve seen on TV make it very clear what everyone is doing. A must in an action manga.
Mocchi gets his time to shine in this manga, as he is a cat that is unaffected by catnip. So the cat who fills his fur with catnip to get his enemies high does nothing to him. He still can’t fight, but he’s smart enough to think out a way to coax the catnip cat to a river bank, where Mocchi is able to shove them both in and wash the catnip away. It’s a nice little moment that says that, even if Mocchi is unable to fight, he might be smarter than any of the other cats. Or at least has tactics.
With the three invaders and Raiga coming into town though, I think this is a little too much to be going on in one volume. It didn’t feel packed just yet, but if there’s a power struggle between Raiga, Taiga, and Ryuusei in the next volume to go along with the reveal of why these three cats are here in the first place, it may feel overwhelming. Plus the three other female cats (the three new ones even have kids) were also introduced in this volume, and a random human who has observed the strays in this area for 50 years(!!). It was a lot of extra where there had previously been pretty much none. As I’ve been saying though, this cat manga is all about the cat fights, and those are still entertaining enough to continue.
I think Nyankees has enough fur to pull off anything it’s trying to do, at least so far. The first two volumes bit off exactly as much as it could chew, and it hasn’t bit too far just yet. It might get there, but there’s a chance that everything could fall together fairly seamlessly yet, if paced correctly. The cats are still cute too.
Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: July 16, 2019