GRAPHIC NOVEL
Free Collars Kingdom
Volume 2

Author: Takuya Fujima
Artist: Takuya Fujima
Tanoshimi
RRP: 5.99, US $10.95
ISBN: 978 0 099 50655 3
Ages: 16+
Available 03 May 2007


Cyan is a contented, Abyssinian, house cat, the beloved pet of the young boy Kokoro. His life could not be more contented, that is, until one day Kokoro goes away and doesn't come back. Heartbroken, Kokoro's mother can no longer look at Cyan, without thinking of how things were, when her child was well. Unable to deal with the situation Kokoro's mother abandons Cyan. Alone in the world, he hooks up with a band of stray cats known as the Free Collars...

Volume Two of Free Collar Kingdom by Takuya Fujima, by its own admission, is the calm before the storm. Having introduced the main characters in Volume One, Fujima has taken time to flesh out their relationships before starting into the turf war between the Free Collar cats and the Siam Army for control of Nyan-man. Now that Cyan has made the transition to Free Collar cat a number of questions and attitudes are explored in this volume.

Once again the stories are presented as a series of vignettes - with the various anthropomorphised cats doing the kind of things that cat's do. As a cat owner, myself, I can attest to the fact that they are incredibly hedonistic creatures - exceptionally sexual, if not fixed - as well as violent territorial fighters, even if they have been fixed. These aspects of sex and violence are reflected in Fujima's depiction of the cat characters.

Cyan made no secret that he was quite happy as a pet cat and, though the other cats are mostly strays, there are some that have escaped from abusive or neglectful owners. Cyan's positive attitude causes friction within the group, who view humans very differently as they tell him stories of how cats had been eaten in the war and are now captured and tortured, the resulting image being posted on the Internet. This friction grows even more after Scottie and Cyan meets Minky, whilst Scottie is getting her jabs. Her introduction causes further friction, as she is also a pet cat who is happy to remain so. It falls to Cyan to try and bridge the gap between his old life and his new allegiances.

Although this thread flows through the book there are many amusing diversions along the way as the cats do very human things like obsessing over manga, going on holidays and building cars. The book is infused with a playful sexuality and enough fights to keep the action going. Like Volume One, it remains well drawn, with a nice selection of extra material, including a sneak peek at Volume Three.

So a nice follow-on from Volume One even if it does not progress the plot much, it still makes for a pleasant diversion.

Charles Packer

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