Daily Archives: 05/21/2009

A Troublesome Orange Cat

What’s Michael?
by Makoto Kobayashi

Yet another orange tabby captures the hearts of comic readers in Makoto Kobayashi’s manga, What’s Michael? Translated into English in the 90s, the Schulz Library is the proud owner of no less than six books in this well-toned series. (Any moray patterns seen here are the fault of this writer.)

Kobayashi no doubt captures the ideaology of what it is to be a cat in several pantomine strips of the orange striped Michael in addition to adorable panels of kittens and cats playing. What makes this comic interesting to read is the relationship betwixt the two species, cats and humans. Truth is seen from panel to panel: you can love all over a cat as much as you want but he will do whatever he pleases. Michael’s extra spice is after an embarassing act such as hitting his head, which are aplenty, he starts dancing.

Kobayashi’s storytelling takes many twists and turns but is always easy to read. Whether Michael is relaxing with newly weds or teaching a Yakuza member a lesson, he appears to have several owners but only in service of the story and we just go along with that fact. Kobayashi occasionally lets the animals break their character in order to run business meetings or play baseball as seen below.

Even if cats are not your cup of tea, I encourage you to pick of one of the many issues of What’s Michael? around and to enjoy the indulgent life of being purely feline.
-Jen Vaughn