The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Part 1 manga collects together the first three volumes of the Chi’s Sweet Home manga into one larger trim size volume.

The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Part 1
Written by: Konami Kanata
Publisher: Kodansha, Ltd.
English Publisher: Vertical Comics
Release Date: July 28, 2015

Just like the original printings of Chi’s Sweet Home, this omnibus release is a full-color manga, and the orientation is “flipped” (so it reads like an American book instead of a traditional Japanese manga).

Chi’s Sweet Home introduces a kitten who becomes lost after being separated from her mother. A little boy named Yohey finds her in the park, and his family takes the kitten in while trying to find her a new home. Unfortunately, they really can’t keep the kitten because they live in an apartment building where no pets are allowed. But they have trouble finding a new home for her, so the family is forced to take care of the kitten while trying to hide her existence from the building super and the other tenants. The kitten gets the name “Chi” while both she and Yohey are being toilet trained, and Yohei keeps referring to accidents as “chi.” The kitten hears this word so much that she thinks this is her name. Most of the first volume focuses on the Yamadas learning to take care of a kitten and co-existing with her.

The second volume introduces a big, black cat that hangs around the apartment complex. The big cat has interactions with Chi, although Chi doesn’t yet understand that she is also a cat. But as she spends time around the black cat, Chi starts to pick up on the fact that she isn’t like the other members of her adoptive family. Unfortunately, the black cat is behind a lot of mischief around the apartments, which causes the building super to be on the lookout for unusual activity. This puts the Yamadas on edge, and they must be even more vigilant about hiding Chi’s existence.

The third volume sees Chi having her first real long-term interaction with humans other than her family, when Yohey’s cousin, Juli, and her mother come to visit. Chi has no idea what to make of Juli, especially since she’s so much more rambunctious than Yohey. Juli’s mother offers to take Chi to live on their farm if the Yamadas can’t find anyone else to take her. Meanwhile, Blackie (the name Chi gives to the big, black cat) is discovered by the building super one day while Chi is hanging out with the other cat. The building super doesn’t realize Chi lives with the Yamadas, but she has figured out which tenant owns Blackie. Blackie and his family are evicted from the premises, and the Yamadas believe they have to send Chi to live with Juli and her family. Yohey doesn’t want to part from Chi, and the end of this volume sees the Yamadas potentially finding a solution that will allow Chi to stay with them.

I thought it worked out nicely that this omnibus release ends with Volume Three, because it’s a perfect ending spot. It allows this first omnibus to introduce and develop Chi and the Yamadas, as well as letting the reader watch as the kitten and the family become accustomed to one another. Since I’ve already read this series before, I know what’s coming up next, so I know that the next omnibus volume will be taking Chi’s Sweet Home to its next stage.

Even though the art style for Chi’s Sweet Home is on the simple side, it works well with the tone of the story. This manga has a mixture of humor and drama, although it tends to skew a little more to the comedic side. But the simplistic design for the characters works well for Chi, because it helps to enhance her cuteness.

The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Part 1 also includes three manga shorts at the end of it. The first is titled, “A Cat Meets FukuFuku.” FukuFuku is a cat character from one of Kanata’s first successful manga. This short manga originally appeared at the end of the second volume of the individual releases of Chi’s Sweet Home, and it tells a story of Chi meeting FukuFuku. Like the main manga, it’s also in full-color. The remaining two short manga are about FukuFuku, and they’re both in black and white. In both of these shorts. FukuFuku’s elderly owner reminiscences to when her pet was still a kitten. I thought these were a nice addition to the release, because it allowed me to get a taste of another one of Kanata’s works.

Chi’s Sweet Home is a quick, yet enjoyable read. Each story has a realistic depiction of a family loving and learning to care for a pet. The dialogue is on the simplistic side, but this makes sense, since the main character is a kitten. Even though the dialogue is more simplistic, it’s not talking down to the reader. The simplistic dialogue makes Chi’s Sweet Home an easier read for younger manga readers, who will enjoy the antics of Chi and Yohey. This manga will appeal to younger manga readers, as well as to readers who love animals (especially cats).

Additional posts about Chi’s Sweet Home: