Manga Pick of the Week: Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu by Junji Ito

Many know Junji Ito as the biggest name in the horror genre, creating some of the most effectively haunting stories such as Uzumaki, Tomie, and The Liminal Zone, with beautifully unsettling illustrations to match. However this week I want to recommend one of his lesser known works, an autobiographical manga about Ito’s experience living with cats for the first time after moving in with his wife.

It’s an easygoing and relatively short read, perfect for both cat lovers and haters, that consists of short comics of the daily antics that come with living with cats. Although it is nowhere near Ito’s regular horror, this lighthearted and comical manga is told the only way he knows, with creepy illustrations that perfectly convey the terror one feels when seeing their cat scurrying in the shadows from their periphery.

As a lifelong cat lady I really enjoyed reading this one, and it was fun to see the descent of a self-proclaimed dog person into that status as well. As much as I laughed, by the end I was crying and forcing my own cat into a hug that she didn’t ask for. And as a fan of Ito’s horror manga, I appreciated the extra pages that gave a glimpse into his artistic history and process, as well as the real life photos of Yon and Mu. It made me feel akin to Ito himself, because what kind of person misses an opportunity to show everyone a picture of their cat?