Konami Kanata’s FukuFuku: Kitten Tales Volume 2 is similar in premise and structure to the series’ first volume. A kitten named FukuFuku embarks on various short adventures, oftentimes interacting with her elderly owner. I thought that the series’ first volume was cute but hindered by a lack of original writing. Is the second volume an improvement in that area?
I enjoyed this volume’s writing much more than volume one’s. As I said in my previous review, the first volume’s stories weren’t badly written so much as they were just predictable. Volume two’s plots feel more fresh. The events portrayed are still down-to-earth, but not so every-day that most cat manga series have already tackled them. Some particularly effective chapters concern FukuFuku’s future. In one said chapter, the owner ponders what FukuFuku will look like once she has grown up. She imagines FukuFuku growing up into a variety of body types and personalities, both adventurous and regal.
The volume’s last chapter references this, as well as the rest of the series, movingly. FukuFuku’s owner takes several pictures of her, including props in the background that allude to FukuFuku’s various adventures. Finally, following panels depicting clouds that indicate the passage of time, we see the owner is looking through the photo album containing these pictures. She then notices FukuFuku, all grown up, sitting in front of her. The image of FukuFuku as a large and happy adult cat is heartwarming. Her childhood, and with it the series, may be over, but as with childhoods in real life, memories and artifacts still remain long after adolescence’s end.
Much of this volume’s success is due not just to its improvements in writing, but also in artwork. The stories in this volume provide Konami with more opportunities to display her fantastic texture rendering abilities than volume one did. Not only that, but invisible forces are also depicted imaginatively and effectively. Konami’s choices of how to draw humid air, sunlight, and wind are all inspired. The natural world in general looks great in this volume. Many standout chapters, such as “Springtime Walk” and “Night Walk,” show FukuFuku interacting with an outside world that feels very lifelike, thus making the stories easier to relate to and become emotionally invested in.
FukuFuku: Kitten Tales Volume 2 takes the premise and structure introduced in volume one and significantly improves their execution. The artwork throughout is beautiful and full of creative design choices that make FukuFuku’s world feel truly inhabitable. The writing, meanwhile, allows the adorable kitten to get into mischief and amusing antics without relying too much on overly done cat video/manga tropes. Overall, this is an enjoyable volume that I would recommend to anyone seeking a short, feel good read.