REVIEW: ‘The Cat Proposed’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Cat Proposed

Content Warning: The Cat Proposed deals with the topic of suicide 

Cat demon, fox demon, give me all of the romances with a character that has ears. That’s the main reason I picked up The Cat Proposed for review. And of course, the gorgeous cover art. The Cat Proposed is a BL one-shot published in English by TOKYOPOP written and illustrated by mangaka Dento Hayane. The one-shot is translated into English by Katie Kimura, proofread by Caroline Wong, and had translation QC by Akiko Furuta. It also features touch-up art and lettering by Vibrraant Publishing Studio.

The Cat Proposed focuses on Matoi Souta. Souta is an overworked office worker tired of his life and very close to ending it—whether himself or inadvertently because he’s had to work 18-days straight. But it all changes when one day on his way home from a long day of work and hitting his lowest point, he decides to watch a traditional Japanese play. He walks into the mysterious establishment and is swept away by a Kōdan storyteller named Kihachi who recounts a battle. But when that action story turns into a horror one, the storyteller reveals his true form: a bakeneko, a shapeshifting cat yokai from Japanese Folklore.

But like most things meant to be kept a secret from the human world, Souta discovering the storyteller’s true identity leaves him with two options: die to keep the bakeneko world a secret or become Kihachi’s mate. Now, I know what you’re thinking, romance through circumstances that force it isn’t always the best and there are moments where Kihachi makes slightly uncomfortable moves on Souta. That said, The Cat Proposed ends up being able to move past the problematic elements associated with the type of story it is telling because it takes a moment to show Kihachi listening to Souta and backing off, responding to his boundaries.

That said, the breakneck pace that their relationship develops doesn’t allow you to truly understand why Kihachi fell in love with Souta, it’s no more than a feeling of knowing that they’re compatible. That said, while we know Souta’s reasoning, it’s rooted in his depression and how Kihachi pulled him from it – a trauma bond if you will. But thankfully, in the last chapters of the one-shot, Hayane makes it clear to map out the couple’s relationship. Hayane does this by having them discuss their future while confronting what has been keeping them apart.

While The Cat Proposed is a good story, it’s Hayane’s art that makes this a great one-shot. The attention to detail for both the human character, the animals, and the bakeneko who lie between them is beautifully done. It’s whimsical and it’s gorgeous with cherry blossoms denoting the supernatural moments. Additionally, Kihachi’s form as a full cat yokai, a human with cat ears, and just a man are all recognizable as him. Finally, the cherry on top of Hayane’s illustrations is the adorable representation of the couple as cats.

Overall, The Cat Proposed is a good read, but a truly beautiful book to look at. From the wholesome moments to the steamy, the human world and the supernatural bakeneko one, Hayane’s art is gorgeous. That alone makes it a solid addition to your yaoi shelf.

The Cat Proposed is available now wherever books are sold.

The Cat Proposed
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TL;DR

Overall, The Cat Proposed is a good read, but a truly beautiful book to look at. From the wholesome moments to the steamy, the human world and the supernatural bakeneko one, Hayane’s art is gorgeous. That alone makes it a solid addition to your yaoi shelf.