My Sister, the Cat, Vol. 1

­Seven Seas. (My Sister, the Cat). Jan. 2023. 176p. tr. from Japanese by Liya Sultanova . pap. $13.99. ISBN 9781638586531.
Gr 7 Up–Human teenager Nekota is adopted into a family of anthropomorphic cats in this sweet-natured slice-of-life comedy. Centering the bond between Nekota and his younger sister, kindergartener Neneko, this first volume comprises 10 chapters and interstitial extras that serve almost as self-contained short stories, charting everyday moments of kindness and support between siblings. Mischievous humor prevents the sweetness from becoming saccharine; when, for example, Nekota decides to run a marathon so that he can buy his sister a gift with the prize money, a training montage foreshadows that he might be out of his depth before the results of the race land like a punch line. Neneko does not speak, and her character design, with expressive eyes that perfectly convey the mix of roguishness and innocence that cats and younger siblings have in common, is a frequent source of laughs. Nekota’s perspective as a teen with a part-time job may resonate more with older readers, but so far, this first volume promises a series that tweens can enjoy as well. A final bonus story depicts the funeral of Nekota’s birth mother, when Nekota first asked family friend Tamayo if he could join their family, leaving readers with the sense that this sibling relationship has been life-affirming indeed.
VERDICT A cute, quirky comedy for manga readers who enjoy cats and upbeat family stories.

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