Thursday, June 18, 2009

the 9 Lives, vol. 1

Story by Bayou and Rachel Manija Brown with Art by Bayou
Published in the US by TokyoPop

Slugline: Why are cat-boys always effete?

Conri is an uncollared cat boy in a world like ours except that humans keep alien cat people as slaves and pets. Conri has no wish to be a pet but it is illegal to be uncollared so he has to dodge the authorities. After nearly being caught for stealing food he is rescued by the human Adrian. Curious why a human would help a cat person without demanding favorsConri follows Adrian back to his apartment. Conri later sneaks in, eating his food and sleeping on the bed, so when Adrian returns and sees the damage that Conri has done, Conri agrees to do housework to pay for the damage. Conri is wary around Adrian, causing several misunderstandings, as Conri expects that Adrian will eventually try to collar him. The reason why humans want collared cat-people is that they literally have nine lives and can share them to bring someone back from the brink of death.

What is it about cat-boys that make them androgynous and desperate to be featured in an yaoi like title? While this isn't a yaoi title per se, it certainly leans that way. Some sexual overtones are inevitable in any title that deals with a slave race (and is deftly handled early in the story) it just becomes gratuitous innuendo later. The idea of the nine lives that can be shared is revealed late in the book though the concept would suggested it ought to be a far more central part of the story for it makes believable the public acceptance of slavery. While issues of trust are brought up and explored,Conri is a juvenile so he handles them in a juvenile and superficial way. There is a lot of potential and a good foundation is laid, but using it is left for another volume.

the 9 Lives, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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