Friday, February 09, 2007

Free Collars Kingdom, v. 1

By Takuya Fujima
Released in the U.S. by Del Rey

Slugline: Catboys and Catgirls in a way that almost makes sense. Except for the being otaku part.

Most stories featuring cat boys and girls have them being just like humans, but here this is just how the cats look at each other, while when people look at them they are just cats. Makes sense and is not overly cutesy. Put that together with the cats fighting over territory because some places have better otaku-friendly stores. But once you get beyond those two interesting ideas, there is not much there. At times it seems like this is going to be a fighting story, other times it seems like it will be a more relationship-based one. I think even the characters in the story are confused which one and what they are supposed to be.

But to show just how otaku-focused the title is, the character who is a gifted natural fighter learned all of his moves by watching video games. If that isn't an otaku dream come to life, I don't know what is. And there is a character which they even call Moe, as in the Three Stooges. So while there are some interesting ideas, and at first glance the story seems novel, some of the some tropes and other stylistic devices that you see all over other manga start showing up. There were a couple times the art of the story was handled in a confusing manner. Still, if cat-people are your thing, this is certainly a different take from most.

Free Collars Kingdom is available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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