Anime Meta-Review


What's Michael manga


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 11
  • type: issues
  • grade: flawed
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Tue Jan 16 11:19:19 EST 2001
  • mod: none

I'll admit, I haven't seen too much of this manga. I've often been tempted by the graphic novel (a fairly slim affair) with people calling it the Japanese answer to Garfield, and a wonderful experience. Well, thanks to Super Manga Blast (a monthly manga magazine) I got the chance to see some, and have the opportunity to offer a conflicting view.

I'm not even going to bother describing the story, as there isn't really one. Instead let me build a model. I'm going to base it around `cute' calendars that half senile grandmothers (or those with a taste deficit) buy at christmas. One type involves pictures of cats being cats, so you can look at how intrinsically cute cats are. The other type is animals posed, or dressed up, in human like situations so you can imagine them as cute furry little people. Perhaps with a cute little thought bubble with a cute little comment.

I don't know if this model works for you, but the cute-overdose is making me ill. And, sadly, these two extremes sum up the depth of humor and content in what's michael. It's certainly one of the elements of Garfield, but it's also only one of the facets of Garfield. In Garfield the cast are humorous in themselves, and Garfield spends as much time satirizing humans and human reality as anything else. You'll find none of that here. Leading me to suspect that those drawing parallels to Garfield have successfully noticed that both have cats, but nothing deeper than that.

So, people who find cats essentially cute may well love these stories. It certainly pretty obvious that the author has spent a lot of time observing cats, and knows a lot about their behaviour and interactions with humans. Thus such mind-bogglingly exciting events as cat's wanting to sit on the TV, or getting fed, are extended into thrill a minute stories. Sometimes these use human situations, such as a cat wrestling match, to explore things such as cat violence.

Having already doomed myself to death threats from cat lovers and what's michael fans I might as well keep going. Surrounding michael are some of the most boring humans in existence. The only thing they have in common is that everyone, even the toughest Yakuza boss, is vulnerable to the infinite cuteness of cats. In the most recent issues we've had completely dull people saved from their lack of conversational ability by watching michael be a cat. In another we've got a secretary who can't bear to leave michael in the morning. I'm sorry, but for anyone but the most obsessive `cute cat' fans these stories are just dull beyond belief.

And the production is pretty unexciting as well. Not that it really matters. The style is very open, clean and low detail. It's quite flat and dull in appearance, possibly because the style is so uniform. Backgrounds are often absent so we can focus on the cat in question, and michael himself is fairly cartoony. In other words not only do I find it fairly unskilled and unattractive, I can't imagine the style being used for much else than `ordinary domestic' scenes. In addition dialogue and character are likewise simple.

Still, i'm well aware that i'm taking a minority view here. And if you try, and enjoy, what's michael then it only serves to make me sad I can't share the experience. That said, if you've been tempted by the graphic novel and the superlatives one does hear, I would suggest trying to read some before you buy...with Super Manga Blast (from Dark Horse) being a potentially good place to start.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:27 WST 2009