Wednesday, January 6, 2021

#IReadsYou Review: NYANKEES Volume 6


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

MANGAKA: Atsushi Okada
LETTERS: Rochelle Gancio
ISBN: 978-1-9753-1109-4; paperback (May 2020); Rated “T” for “Teen”
226pp, B&W, $13.00 U.S., $17.00 CAN

Nyankees is a shonen-action manga written and illustrated by Atsuchi Okada.  It was serialized in the manga magazine, Shounen Ace, from July 2016 to August 2019.  Yen Press is publishing an English-language edition of the manga as a six-volume graphic novel series.

Nyankees is the story of stray cats sometimes told as a fable of human street thugs.  The stray cats are mostly male street cats protecting their turf, keeping other guy-cats from pawing at their girl-cats, and showing everyone who is really boss.

Nyankees, Vol. 6 (Chapters 26 to 31) opens with the tale of Madara, a “calico tomcat, as told to series regular, Ryuusei.  Madara is connected to Ryuusei's former mentor, Gekka, who is also a calico tom.  Humans believe that a calico tom brings good luck, but many cats believe that calico toms bring nothing but bad luck.

Triggered by his tale, Ryuusei strikes out at Madara with a mighty cat punch, but he realizes that there is more to the calico tom than meets the eye.  Now, untold grudges and secrets and lies are laid bare as the strife in Nekonaki draws to a close... hopefully with a happy ending.

[This volume includes bonus art.]

The Nyankees manga is entirely new to me.  I did like how creator Atsushi Okada draws the characters as street cats and then, as human street thugs.  It is a little off-putting, at first, but soon, the allegory kicks in.

Nyankees Graphic Novel Volume 6 is the final volume of the series.  First, I want to say that the English translation by Caleb D. Cook, one of the best translators of Japanese comics, is wonderfully composed.  These final chapters are epic in scope, but intimate in character drama; Vol. 6 is poignant and sad, but also joyous and hopeful.

Okada gives us a closing suite of chapters that is timeless, as the conflicts, plots, and relationships could repeat themselves for an untold amount of time.  Nyankees Vol. 6 does not say that life is what you make of it or even that it is about the choices you make.  Nyankees ends by saying that life is who not what.  With whom do you make your life, now what you do with it.

Vol. 6 is the only volume of this series that I read (thanks to a review copy).  I can say, however, that it makes me interested in the earlier volumes.

7.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and  syndication rights and fees.


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