Cat + Gamer Volume 1

Dark Horse. (Cat + Gamer). May 2022. 192p. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781506727417.
Gr 6 Up–There’s a charm to the simplicity of a book whose whole premise can be boiled down to its title. There’s a gamer. Then she gets a cat. It’s exactly as straightforward and adorable as it sounds. What’s particularly clever is the way in which Nadatani inverts the typical cat/owner comedy dynamic, with the kitten frequently playing the role of the straight person. Eschewing a more cartoony, chibi style, Nadatani frequently draws Musubi the cat in a very realistic manner, with lead character Riko serving as the exaggerated comedic foil. It’s a clever idea, and the art is up to the task of pulling it off. There are countless silly cat manga out there, so a silly cat owner one is appreciated. The author includes short interludes between the chapters that are told from the kitten’s perspective, allowing readers to see things from both sides. Just as “cat” only makes up half the title, though, it also only makes up half the story, as proceedings focus heavily on Riko’s life as an obsessed gamer. Lots of game-based humor is present as a result, which may not always land with gaming-ignorant readers who were drawn in by a cute kitty cover. For readers in the middle of the cat and gaming Venn diagram? It’s an absolute delight.
VERDICT Told through slice-of-life vignettes, this comedy manga might be light on belly laughs, but it is big on smiles. This adorable book should be a first purchase for collections serving fans of cats and gaming.

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