Chi's Sweet Home is a nice, sweet series that's perfect for cat lovers. If you don't mind stories that are about little more than watching a family care for a cat and seeing that cat do kitty things, you might want to try this out.
One thing that surprised me about these volumes was how different it became from what I remembered of the anime. Both the anime and manga feature Chi doing kitty things and meeting new friends, but the exact things that happen are different, at least based on what I remember. One development in the manga that I don't remember being in the anime at all is the possibility that Chi might actually meet her family again. I don't know when/if Kanata will have this happen, but I want to read it!
Read on for spoiler-filled synopses of each volume, plus a few more comments.
Chi's Sweet Home (manga, vol. 2) – A big black cat has been causing problems in the neighborhood. Chi meets it and is scared at first, but it seems to feel parental towards her.
This volume was good, although I didn't love it quite as much as the first volume. It was interesting to see the difference between Chi and the big black cat: Chi is a very friendly, playful kitten, while the big black cat is more like what people think of when they think of cats, not nearly as attached to humans as Chi is.
Chi has a few cuddling moments that give her vague memories of snuggling with her litter mates and her mother – so sweet! But I also get a little sad when moments like that come up.
Chi's Sweet Home (manga, vol. 3) – Chi and Blackie (the big black cat) become better friends, but the apartment Super is closing in. She discovers Blackie's owner, who chooses to move out rather than get rid of Blackie. Knowing they could soon be next, the Yamadas must now do some serious thinking. Should they send Chi to Hokkaido to live with Juli and her family or should they move out as well? At first, they choose the former option, but a distraught Yohei runs off with Chi. That's when the Yamadas spot a billboard with an ad for pet-friendly apartments.
Oh wow, the end of this volume is the start of the second season of the anime. I thought I was going to have to read a lot more volumes to reach that point.
The Yamadas are a nice family and all, but this volume had me wondering just how smart Mr. and Mrs. Yamada really are. Clearly they didn't bother looking for pet-friendly apartments at all, considering that they latched onto the first billboard advertisement they saw.
I did like the adorable friendship between Chi and Blackie and teared up a bit when they were separated.
Chi's Sweet Home (manga, vol. 4) – Chi and the Yamadas move to a new home, where Chi promptly freaks out until she gets the place to smell like her by rubbing on everything. Then the Yamadas and Chi all go to meet their new neighbors and their pets (a dog, a rabbit, a parakeet, and a Scottish fold cat).
This was a nice volume. Chi's Sweet Home is at its best when it's showing Chi doing cat-like things that most cat owners can relate to. I loved how very cat-like Chi was in her “new home” freak out and the way she dealt with it.
Chi's Sweet Home (manga, vol. 5) – The Scottish fold, Alice, comes to visit and is elegant – until paper is thrown and she leaps after it like any other cat. Chi makes a mess in dad's office. She also explores, almost reuniting with her mother. Then she meets Blackie again and is led home.
Again, I love it when this series shows Chi doing kitty stuff. Alice the Scottish fold was adorable when she went after some thrown paper, and I laughed when Chi accidentally got tape stuck to her and messed up Mr. Yamada's entire office.
On the one hand, I liked Chi's explorations less, because the cats were almost human in how they thought and helped Chi. On the other hand, Chi nearly meeting her mom was a new and unexpected development. I'm guessing the anime and manga must be fairly different, then, because I don't remember this happening in the anime at all.
Chi's Sweet Home (manga, vol. 6) – Chi “plays” with another kitten, who just wants her to get off his turf. There's a bit of a PSA moment when the Yamadas learn that many things are potentially dangerous for Chi. Chi and Yohei have a good sibling bonding day alone, and the Yamadas discover that Chi enjoys being vacuumed. Alice is charmed by the waves made when she disturbs the water in her bowl, and Chi receives her very first collar, which she promptly snaps off while visiting with the kitten one night.
This volume is a perfect example of how a story where nothing much happens can be enjoyable. I loved seeing elegant Alice be charmed by something as simple as ripples in her water bowl, and watching Chi and Yohei together gives me warm fuzzies. Chi's expressions when getting her first collar and dealing with the vacuum were perfect. This is just a nice, sweet series.
Chi's Sweet Home (manga, vol. 7) – The Yamadas get a new TV and a goldfish. Chi gets stuck out in the rain, eats a piece of rotten meat, and gets sick. The kitten (whose name is Cocchi) and Blackie worry about her, and the Yamadas take her to a vet. Because she was throwing up so much, she gets an IV, but otherwise the verdict is that she'll be fine.
I kind of hope the Yamadas adopt Cocchi, although I doubt he'd be a very people-friendly cat. It was just so sad that he had no clue what a home was.
Although I knew nothing really bad was going to happen to her (although, jeez, what if the series ends with the dreaded rip-your-heart-out-and-stomp-on-it pet death?), I still found myself worrying when Chi became sick.
It's pretty clear, by this point, that the anime and manga no longer have much in common. While I enjoyed the anime, I'm kind of glad, because that means I have no idea what sorts of developments to expect.
Chi's Sweet Home (manga, vol. 8) – Chi and Cocchi play and explore together, and Chi accidentally gets stuck in a shed. The Yamadas have no idea where she is and begin to worry that she's gotten lost or was hit by a car. They eventually find her (she escaped), but she's dirty. They clean her up, but she soon develops conjunctivitis in one eye and must have eye drops and the Cone of Shame.
I like the Yamadas and all, but this entire volume is a great example of why I hate it when people let their pets roam free outside. Chi could have died in that shed, or been hurt by the shed's owner. The Yamadas' worries, that Chi was lost or might have been hit by a car, could also have been true.
This wasn't a bad volume, but it maybe reminded me a little too much of real-world cat dangers. I think I'll go hug my cat now.