Free Collars Kingdom Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 240
  • ISBN: 978-0-345-49265-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Free Collars Kingdom Vol. #01

By Matthew Alexander     February 22, 2007
Release Date: January 31, 2007

Free Collars Kingdom Vol.#01
© Del Rey

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Takuya Fujima
Translated by:William Flanagan
Adapted by:

What They Say

Cyan is a teenage cat (in cat years!), and when his beloved young master falls ill, the parents abandon Cyan in the basement of a luxurious apartment building. Now Cyan finds himself smack-dab in the middle of the biggest feline territorial battle in Japan.

While waiting for his owner to return and reclaim him, Cyan has to brave the attacks of vampy Siam and the beautiful killer Kline. He also must try to fit in with the group of oddball strays who reside in the basement, a cat gang named the Free Collars!

The Review
Free Collars Kingdom is like a strange mixture of Genshiken meets Dragon Ball meets cute catgirl/catboy world.

The front cover of this volume depicts Scottie, one of the many female cat characters in this series. This is the same cover as the original Japanese release and I really like the not often used white background, but I personally don't like the picture very much. The way Scottie is looking up makes her look much younger than her character actually is in the book. The back cover has a story synopsis and a very scantily clad sexy catgirl known as Siam, growr. The book's reproduction is nice and crisp from start to finish. The only problem I found was two places where the dialogue text is barely cut short along the edge of the page. Extras include a note from the author, description of honorifics and the much appreciated translator notes. There are also a couple joke strips with the characters and a Japanese language preview of volume two.

Fujima's art is very clean with attractive characters and well-detailed backgrounds. The catgirl and catboy characters are cute and sexy with a wide variety of clothing that does a good job expressing the character's personality. Facial expressions are comical, sexy, and expressive. Panel layout is nicely varied, including multiple single and two-page layouts that are quite appealing. Fujima did a nice job with the shading, which made the few solid black and white panels stand out more. My only complaints are the couple of establishing background shots with really creepy looking humans.

The text reads well for the most part. However, there are a few places where the sentence doesn't read very smoothly. Honorifics remain and I am quite happy with the way Del Rey translated the characters 'special attacks'. The character states the name of their attack in Japanese then there is an English translation in the nearby gutter. This is the way I prefer to see this kind of thing done, I hate having to flip to the back of the book a dozen times to see what the character said.

Contents: (Oh yes, there may be spoilers)
Cats, boys, girls, we've got a little bit of everything. This story starts with a little boy and his young cat. Both love each other dearly and play together everyday. Unfortunately, the little boy gets ill and has to enter a hospital for an extended amount of time. The mother is so distraught she takes the little cat, Cyan, down to the basement of her apartment and leaves him there. Cyan eventually discovers his family has moved out of the apartment complex and abandoned him, but he believes the little boy will come for his cat when he recovers. So Cyan decides to remain in the basement until then. This is where the reader enters the world of cats, from here on out there are no more human characters and all the cats are portrayed as humans with cat ears and tails. Yeah, fans of catboys or catgirls eat your hearts out.

Well, it turns out the basement Cyan finds himself in is actually a prime piece of kitty real estate, and if he wants to stay he's going to have to prove his fighting skills against a gang of stray cats known as the Free Collars. Luckily for Cyan, his master was a huge video game player and did a lot of wrestling with Cyan. So Cyan sees fighting as a real life video game, and the fact that he is really fast and agile because of his pedigree makes him a pretty good fighter, especially for a rookie.

The Free Collars decide to show Cyan around the neighborhood and teach him what it means to be a wild cat. It turns out they live in Ikebukuro and the members of the Free Collars are huge otaku; video games, doujinshi, music, fighting, figures and more. Another gang of otaku cats known as the Siam Army also wants to live in the Free Collars territory. Aside from all the otaku friendly stores in Ikebukuro, there is also the legend of the Wild Cat and his collar. It is believed the Wild Cat gained enough power from his collar to defeat a thousand cats and it is supposed to be hidden somewhere in the Free Collars territory. With all this at stake it doesn't take long for Cyan to find himself in his first real cat fight, against Siam the leader of the opposing gang. Siam is a ruthless and sexy Siamese who falls surprisingly easy to Cyan's secret 'Tummy Writing Practice' attack. Apparently having her belly scratched was just too much for her to fight off.

With his first battle out the way, Cyan goes about learning more about the other members of the Free Collars gang and another catgirl named Scottie that lives in his building. Scottie isn't much of a fighter but she is kind and cute in a moe way.

Will Cyan's owner ever return for him? Will Cyan get in touch with his wild side? Will he be the one to find Wild Cat's collar, or will he eventually fall to Siam's deadly attacks?

Free Collars Kingdom has a lot going for it, cute and sexy characters, a unique premise, lots of fighting, and some character development. If you have ever owned a cat then you can definitely enjoy much of the kitty humor in this book. Catnip jokes, fur ball jokes, and the life as a cat joke; eat, sleep, poop, all very funny. Joking aside, this title is enjoyable and entertaining as it uses cat and human lifestyles mixed together to create the Free Collars Kingdom world. As catgirls and catboys, the characters fight for territory, search for food, and try to spend as much time as possible enjoying their otaku hobbies. Don't ask me how cats learned to read, got their hands on a T.V. and game system, or manage to use the game controllers. There is also a large and enjoyable cast of characters. And did I mention sexy catgirls and cute catboys?

There are only three books in this series so I have high hopes the story will keep a decent pace. With a well-written ending, this could be a necessary buy for a lot of readers. But before I get ahead of myself, I guess I will have to wait and see how volume two pans out.


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