This week begins the Chinese New Year. This traditional Chinese holiday is based on a lunar calendar and is associated with an animal in the Chinese Zodiac. This year’s animal is the Tiger. So, I went looking for manga with tigers in them. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find a lot. I extended it to any of the big cats, and that make the list grow some, but it’s really surprising how few manga have tigers in them.
Two Flowers for the Dragon- This is a shojo manga published by CMX. It’s about Shakuya, the princess of the Dragon Tribe who has two fiancees. Her first fiancee, Lucien, disappeared many years ago. In his absence, Shakuya was then betrothed Kuwan. Lucien suddenly returns, after having been living in the desert without his memory. It has returned, and so has he to be with Shakuya. Shakuya’s mother marks her with a flower tattoo on each other hands, that will bloom as her feelings for each boy grows. The one that blooms the most in a year will be her fiancee. While the stories are about the love triangle, at the beginning of the series, Shakuya is given two white tiger cubs. They aren’t happy to be Shakuya’s pets at first, but after the first time she shows her dragon nature, they settle in quickly. They are really cute, and know when to stay out of Shakuya’s way, unlike her fiancees sometimes.
Read or Dream Volume 1- Set in the same universe as Read or Die, this series is about three “sisters” who are papermasters and run a detective agency. The series is more of a slice of life, with most chapters being a complete story. The sisters take on cases such as finding lost books and people, and protecting an author from the only recurring villain, Lily the Reader Extraordinaire. Lily is assisted in her crimes by her pet black panther Orion. Lily sees him more as a family member than a pet. He hides in the shadows and attacks on Lily’s command. Lily can also ride him when she needs a fast escape.
Shaman King Volume 1- In this title, spiritualists are fighting for the title of Shaman King which only happens every 500 years. Each shaman has a spirit that they fight with. Joco, aka Chocolove McDonell, is one of these shamans, and a friend of the protagonist, Yoh Asakura. His guardian spirit is Mic Jaguar, a Jaguar that he inherited from his former master. By combining with Joco in an oversoul, Joco gains great speed and agility and is covered with black spots, looking like a black jaguar.
The Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi Volume 1- Both a novel and manga series, Guin is a man who has had the head of a jaguar magically attached to his body. He has no memory of his past, or how he got the jaguar head. While he’s not completely in the form of a big cat, Guin’s jaguar head is too awesome not to bring up. Guin is a great character with his strength and skill, but also insecurity because of his strange appearance.
Kimba the White Lion/Jungle Emperor – While the manga hasn’t been licensed here in the US, and probably won’t do to rights issues, it is a title well known thanks to the anime. In Africa, a white lion named Panja wanted to create a kingdom where the animals could live together without fear of each other. He steals from human settlements, and a hunter is sent to find and kill Panja. His pregnant mate is captured and taken away by boat. Leo is born on the boat, but escapes and returns to his parents home and tries to pick up where his father left off. This title is filled with big cats. There is Leo the lion of course and cubhood friends Lyra who is his future mate, and Bongo, a jaguar. Bubu is a one-eyed lion that wants to take over from Leo, and his henchcats, Sylvester a black panther and the Black Four, panther assassins.
These were just the titles I could find that featured big cats. If you know of any I missed, please leave a comment about the title.