Everyone knows that cats have a mind of their own, but what if cats also have secret societies, gangs, and towns? Atsushi Okada’s manga Nyankees explores the action-packed lives of gangster cats. Continue reading to learn more about organized cat crime!
What Are Nyankees?
If you haven’t noticed by now, nyankees is not a term that refers to the New York Yankees. Instead, nyankees is a word Atsushi Okada created to describe gangster cats. The word is derived from nyan, the Japanese equivalent of “meow,” and the colloquial term yankee (alternate spelling: yankii), which refers to delinquents in Japan.
Every cat in Okada’s Nyankees has a human persona that looks and acts like them. For example, a male black cat’s human persona is a man who tends to wear all black. For clarity, Okada often parallels a cat’s image with an illustration of its corresponding human persona.
Introducing Ryuusei And The Plot Of Nyankees
The main character in Nyankees is a male tabby cat named Ryuusei. His left ear is torn, and he has a distinct scar on his left cheek. His human persona is a man who often wears a pair of ripped jeans, a bomber jacket, and sneakers. Although Ryuusei’s history is a bit unclear at the beginning of the manga, readers quickly learn that he loves food and has a flirtatious and perverted personality.
In brief, Ryuusei wanders into Nekonaki Town in search of a male calico with a scar on his eye. Within minutes, Ryuusei meets a beautiful woman/cat named Mii. He invites her to “groom and chill,” the feline version of Netflix and chill. Ryuusei gets caught trying to seduce Mii and has to fight Taiga, an orange male tabby who is the boss of Nekonaki Town. Nyankees follows Ryuusei on his adventures through Nekonaki Town as he continues his search for the calico and gets into catfights every step of the way.
Although Nyankees has an abundant amount of violent fight scenes, it has several cute and pawsitive moments as well. For example, when Ryuusei suffers from hunger during a fight, and sees a group of women with food, he changes his demeanor from scary thug to adorable street cat. He rolls around on the ground in front of them and purrs until the women pet him and give him food. Once the women leave, Ryuusei returns to his true nature and continues fighting his enemies.
Another cute moment is when Ryuusei is in his happy place— a small cardboard box at the side of the street. When Ryuusei sits comfortably in the box, readers are able to see both his cat-self and his human form enjoying the moment. Even though Ryuusei isn’t the prettiest cat, no one can deny that he is adorable when he is happy!
Stray Cats In The Real World
In addition to the cuteness and comedic elements in Nyankees, there is also an element of harsh reality. Nyankees forces readers to consider the abundance of stray and feral cats in countries like Japan and the USA. As demonstrated through several scenes in Nyankees, cats have to fight over food and places to live. Some cats even suffer from depression and loneliness due to their lack of homes. Although Okada does not provide a solution to the world’s stray cat problem in Nyankees, he does make readers aware of the issue.
Join millions of fans all over the world by snuggling up with your cat and reading Nyankees! Buy your own translated copy of it here!
Want to read more about cute thugs? Check out Gokushufudou: The Way of the House Husband! Gokushufudou is a manga by Kousuke Oono about an ex-gangster who tries to become the perfect house husband for the woman he loves. Although Gokushufudou doesn’t have any nyankees, it does have an entertaining plot and equally comical characters.
Not interested in the thug life, but want more cat-filled media? Try watching My Roommate is a Cat, a heartfelt anime about a cat who helps a lonely writer grieve after their parents’ death.