11th Cat Special | By Kim MiKyung | Published by Yen Press | Rated Teen – The 11th Cat Special is named for Kim MiKyung’s fantasy manhwa series, 11th Cat, but it is actually a group of short stories, only one of which is related to the 11th Cat universe. That story, “Pieces From Nomi’s Past,” is a bittersweet tale of friendship, loss, and the callousness of a creator towards his creation, which works surprisingly well as a stand-alone piece, even for those not familiar with the series.
The rest of the stories, each chosen from the author’s early work, are unsophisticated and not particularly well-crafted, but they are also original, whimsical, and generally fun to read. The vast majority of them contain supernatural or fantasy elements, such as ghosts or aliens, in situations you’d expect from the minds of a group of middle-school students making up stories to entertain each other at lunchtime. “The Alien House” for example, features a group of aliens disguised as a human family, the “daughter” of which begins dating a human boy as a research project and who repeatedly mistakes her own body’s symptoms of a crush (pounding heart, blushing, etc.) as signs of life-threatening illness. Another story, “The Reason Why I’m Poorer And More Burdened,” involves a poor, lazy student who gets tricked into accepting an expired lottery ticket as compensation for acting as guardian of a ravenously hungry alien baby who eats him out of house and home. None of the stories last long enough to go anywhere important, but they also avoid becoming tiresome or wearing out their jokes.
MiKyung’s art is attractive and full of energy, and is largely responsible for raising the early stories up above amateur level.
While 11th Cat Special may not provide much fodder for deep thought, it does offer a cheerful dose of light, silly fun.
Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at PopCultureShock.