Tomcats Volume 1 (Yaoi) (Deux)

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9781934496237: Tomcats Volume 1 (Yaoi) (Deux)
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Pint-sized Human Cats, Shady "Men in Black," A Cat God and More!

Mao is just your typical disillusioned young man working in a pizza joint. He soon finds himself in the middle of a surreal adventure after he meets his old friend Sora, a pint-sized human cat. Shady "men in black" show up at his workplace, prompting Mao to flee the city for a forest in the middle of the desert. Mao's back-to-nature escape wouldn't be complete without his silent lover Tora, Koyuki the magic human kitten, who can make all sorts of things appear, and more pint-sized human cats. Out of a door in a tree emerges a confused cat god, but even stranger still is what's inside the tree! Yaoi in Wonderland?!

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Review:

After several years of maintaining Boys on Boys on Film, I find myself starting to read BL manga with the review I'm going to write already taking shape in my mind. As I finished the first mini-chapter of Mashiro Minamino's Tomcats, released by Deux Press, my first thought was: "I'm never going to find anything for the More Like This section for this one!" In all the manga I've read and seen over the past few years, I haven't found anything quite like the inexplicable charm and arbitrary weirdness that is Tomcats.

In a desert near a town in an unnamed land, a group of odd travelers are looking for a home. They are led by Mao, a sweet but sometimes naïve human, and his friend Tora, a silent man that only Mao can understand. The rest of the group is made up of small cat-people sporting ears and tails: Naru and Sora are the older two but only stand half as tall as a person, while Kosuzu and mute Koyuki are small enough to fit in the palm of a person's hand. In their travels, this strange little family meets plenty more odd characters, both cat and human, tiny and normal-sized, inhabiting the desert and the forest that inexplicably stands right next to it. Now, a small village of humans and cat-people and people the size of cats and cats the size of people living in a desert next to a forest isn't that weird on its own, but mix that setting with the off-the-wall happenings and over-the-top reactions of the characters, and sprinkle it with a heavy helping of no explanation whatsoever, and you've got a pretty confusing mélange of weirdness packed into one volume of manga. We don't even learn why Mao and Tora were wandering in the desert until halfway through the book, in a flashback sequence interspersed with a side plot about a magical door that appears in the side of a tree, the romantic history of the cat-and-human neighbors, and various jokes and one-liners from characters that seem to come from out of nowhere.

The craziest thing about Tomcats is that despite the arbitrary interjections and interspersed weirdness, the mangaka seems to have a clear idea of her characters and a sense of a story she's trying to tell. Senseless jabberings in the first few pages come to make sense a couple of chapters later, and the story of Mao and Tora - while admittedly chock-full of seemingly unfounded plot points - is really the rather heartwarming story of a funny little family coming together out of necessity and friendship. The way it all comes together is honestly quite sweet, with sudden jarring bursts of manic energy care of the senseless side characters.

With only a few adorably touching scenes between Mao and Tora, the book's principal potential couple, Tomcats barely qualifies as a BL manga. It only skates by because Minamino promises to include "something sexy" between Tora and Mao in the next volume - but Deux has not scheduled a release of volume 2 as of yet. Even without a romantic element, Tomcats is a wacky, silly read, and definitely worth the total confusion of the first couple of chapters. Before you know it, you'll be wrapped up in the silly day-to-day antics of the desert-by-the-forest and laughing in spite of yourself. --Wiggle - Boys on Boys on Film

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