Chi's Sweet Home, Vol. 2
written by Kanata Konami
The second volume of Chi’s Sweet Home, written and illustrated by Konami Kanata, continues the story of Chi, the little grey kitten, and her life with her newly adopted human family. All of the characters from the first volume, including the cranky, cat-hating landlady, are back in this second volume, along with some new feline faces.
This new installment of Chi’s tale continues the basic story laid out in the first part of Chi’s Sweet Home. Chi’s new family continues to adjust to the near-chaos that having a kitten in the house can create; at the same time, there are some increasingly tender moments between Chi and the family, particularly with the goofy father. These cat-human interactions are comical, and will bring out laughs in even non-cat lovers.
Chi does not speak in quite the same amount of baby talk as she did in the first volume, signifying that Chi is an older kitten. This will allow for an easier reading experience for older readers of the series. At the same time, the art in volume 2 of Chi’s Sweet Home continues to be fun and colorful. With Chi’s growth comes a wider-range of emotions for the gray kitten, and the more she tries to communicate with her human counterparts the more expressive and comical she becomes.
One of the most interesting aspects of this second volume comes with Chi’s interaction with her family. As we continue to follow Chi, it becomes clear that she is equating all of her interactions with her humans to her past experience with her cat family that she lost. Multiple times in this volume we are presented with the image of Chi dreaming of her cat family while sleeping next to, or on, her new human family members. This is the beginning of a rather complex theme for a children’s manga: Just what is the true relationship between a cat and her human family?
For Chi, she obviously sees herself not as a cat, but simply as Chi, a member of a (human) family. When she meets a big neighborhood cat, who treats her like a cat and tells her not to trust humans too much, she slowly starts to question her role in her household. We are left to wonder how this questioning, along with misunderstandings that understandably happen between beings of different species, will affect Chi’s happiness with the humans.
Obviously, this second volume is much more complex than the first. That is not to say that it is too complex for elementary-aged readers. This is one of the brilliant things about Chi’s Sweet Home: It relates complex ideas in simple, humorous, and fun ways. While Chi does seem to trust her humans just a little less by the end of the volume, we find that we become fonder of these humans while enjoying her new feline friends. Chi’s Sweet Home volume 2 is highly recommended for everyone elementary-aged and up; this volume proves to be thought-provoking and gentle, comical, and complex.