Chi’s adventures continue as she meets the Yamadas friend from Hokkaido and their very active daughter Juli, goes hunting with Blackie and nearly gets caught by the super. But salvation comes in the form of a billboard that advertises apartments that welcome pets. So it’s an all new adventure for Chi to move, get comfortable in a new place and meet a variety of new friends.
By: Konami Kanata
Publisher: Vertical, Inc.
Age Rating: All Ages
Chi starts to spend more time with Blackie in volume 3, and learning to do more cat things, such as the proper way to hunt prey, marking territory (not that Chi can do that), and opening screen doors by herself. She follows Blackie whenever she can, which leads to an adventure as they are chased around the complex by the Super. A bond forms between the two cats. Chi looks up to Blackie, and Blackie has become fond of Chi. He comes to see her the night before he and his family move, gives her a gift of prey and they have some last moment rubbing and cleaning before he leaves. Just like with the Yamadas, Chi’s cute and innocent nature has touched Blackie. You can tell he really cares about her. Chi grows up just a little from this encounter as well. She knows Blackie is gone and she misses him. At first she thinks he’s just disappeared, but she comes to a realization, that just because she can’t see Blackie, that doesn’t mean he’s gone. It’s such a great moment.
Volume four is like the start of a new arc. The Yamadas have found an apartment that allows pets and are now moving so they can keep Chi. This is the opening of a whole new world for Chi, as, not only is she free to go outside whenever she wants, there’s now a whole new group of animals for her to get to know and play with. There’s a new cat for Chi to befriend, the classy Alice, a Scottish Fold. Mee, the rabbit just leaves Chi dumbfounded, and David the Beagle ruffles her fur, but she soon comes to an understanding with David, and they even come up with a game to play together. But even as life starts to get back to normal for Chi, she still feels the loss of Blackie, and the volume ends on a bit of a melancholy note.
These moments with Chi and Blackie really bring the series up to another level, and does it in such a way as to not leave behind anyone. It isn’t just about a bouncy kitten doing cute things. There are going to be real issues for Chi to have to deal with, like losing her first cat friend, and what it really means to be apart. When Chi was separated from her mother, she didn’t really understand what missing her mother meant. She had vague memories that were quickly replaced by the affections of Yohei and his parents. But she’s older now, and she now understands the sadness of separation. Kanata presents these emotions simply, through Chi’s expressions, so it’s easy to understand just by the art what Chi is feeling and why. Young children will understand Chi’s feelings just as well as an adult without a lot of need of explanation.
While these volumes are filled with some touching moments, they still have plenty of fun and cat-lover moments. Anyone who has tried to take a picture of a cat, awake, will understand Daddy’s frustration, or moved into a new place with a cat and watched them adjust to the new surroundings, and we’ve all known a kid like Juli, who likes to play a little too rough with animals. My youngest daughter comes to mind. Chi’s imagination runs wild from the sounds of the movers conjuring up the image of quite a scary monster. And while David seems scary at first, Chi still finds a way to play with him, much to Alice’s chagrin.
Overall, these were another two great volumes of Chi’s Sweet Home. Most of the cuteness and humor of the first two volumes continues in these, but it’s tempered now. It’s becoming more touching with heartfelt moments, that anyone cat-lover, or not, can and will enjoy.