Title:フクロウの恋わずらい (Lovesickness of Owl)
Author: Kazami Yuki
Release Date: March 5, 2021
Publisher: Sanko-sha (Charles Comics)
As an owl lover, I really had to pick up this title, whether it was good or not. The last manga I read with an owl was Kouki.’s Koi Gokoro Sumi Dokoro (2015) but the owl was not a main character. In this Fukurou no Koiwazurai, the owl is a main character which makes it more likeable for me. The manga is made up of two stories. One about an owl-human and the other a cat-human.
The setting of this manga is a strange world where animals can take human form once they acquire a certain level of knowledge. They retain certain features, for example, an owl-human has wings and a cat-human has a tail and cat ears. There is not much other explanation given about these animals that can take human form or background about this special world, which is unfortunate. You are left confused about how this world works. That’s other than the fact that these animal-humans have been increasing in numbers, and there are special institutions that care and educate these animal-humans so they can blend into the human world.
The first story, Fukurou no Koiwazurai (Lovesickness of Owl) is made up of three episodes and starts off when zoo veterinarian Fukuyoshi runs into a little girl holding an injured owl that flew out to rescue her. He takes the owl to Animal Park (the zoo he works at) and takes care of him. While watching the owl it suddenly grows and transforms into human form and wakes up.
Fukuyoshi is not very sociable with people but loves animals and gets along fine with them. He is really dedicated to his work as a zoo veterinarian and goes around checking on the animals. This part is very fictitious because a regular person should not go into a big cat’s cage.
Fukuyoshi teaches Shiro, the owl, the basics of living in a human world. Shiro is very friendly and is keen on learning new things. He can also talk to other animals and helps Fukyoshi out when various animals need assistance or special care. Even in human form, what’s cute about Shiro is that his instincts as an owl have not gone away and he shows affectionate touching and grooming even with Fukuyoshi. One day Shiro returns all covered in sand and Fukyoshi helps him take a shower for the first time. Seeing him naked certain thoughts go through Fukuyoshi’s head. A representative from the support centre for these animal-humans then comes to visit to explain what their organization does. And after a certain incident Fukuyoshi feels that Shiro should go see a bigger world, outside the zoo, and decides to send him off to the support centre. Unlike Fukuyoshi, Shiro communicates well with others and without hesitation, asks other animals when he wants to know something. I am also glad in the end that Shiro gets to meets the girl he rescued and was worried about.
The second story Ore no Kawaii Hatsujou Neko (which translates as My Cute Cat in Heat) is two episodes long and is about another zoo worker Mako, and a cat-human Miya. Miya is a stray black cat that roamed around the zoo area before he took human form. He achieved this because he wanted to talk to and get to know Mako. Like Shiro, his cat habits still exist, like licking Mako’s face. He can also talk to the other animals, and gets jealous of other animals when Mako is tending to them. Miya and Mako live together and get along fine. Then one day, mating season comes along and things happen between the two.
I found this manga volume to be too short. I wish the manga-ka spent a whole volume on the story about Fukuyoshi and Shiro, and then another volume on Miya and Mako. There’s not much of emotional growth shown and things happen too quickly. It’s not terribly bad but there is lots for potential for the story to grow if she took her time with it. It’s a pleasant read but not enough to be really memorable. However, the manga-ka is quite talented with drawing animals so the choice of topic/setting for her manga goes very well with her artwork skills. I am just hoping there is a sequel to this manga so we can read more deeply about the various characters and this world where these animal-humans exist.
Cover image from Amazon Japan.