Free Collars Kingdom
Volume 3

Author: Takuya Fujima
Artist: Takuya Fujima
RRP: £6.99, US $10.95
ISBN: 978 0 099 50686 7
Ages: 16+
Available 02 August 2007

Cyan is a contented Abyssinian house cat, the beloved pet of a young boy called 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, who are engaged in a turf war with Siam...

So finally we come to the last book in the Free Collars Kingdom series by Takuya Fujima - which is truly a surprise as the book could have gone on much longer. Being the last book all the story strands come together in the final territorial war between the Free Collars and Siam.

Unlike the previous books, it makes more sense to look at this volume as a whole as, for the most part, the book contains one long, continuous battle. Cyan continues to be torn between his loyalty to his new friends and the promise to his old master to return. This in turn creates further conflict with the other members of the Free Collar Kingdom.

Siam, whose animosity towards humans is finally explained, sends her subjects against the Free Collars. Her revelation brings into doubt everything Cyan feels about humans. The final battle, like the rest of the book, is dense with one-liners and ultimate cat attack moves - which shows off two of the best things about this manga. The artwork remains detailed and dynamic, though at points there is a little too much packed into each page making it seem a little over busy.

Eventually, when all has been revealed and the turf war concludes, Cyan's master returns. But after everything he has experienced and learnt, can Cyan really return to be a domesticated cat?

In the end, it wasn't a bad manga, though I personally found the amount of fight moves a little repetitive, but then it's not aimed at someone of my advancing years, but rather at a teenage male audience. And for that audience it is a good piece of work.

The book comes with the usual extras and notes which go some was to illuminate Japanese cultural references.

Charles Packer

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