Oreimo: Kuroneko Volume 1

“There is no ‘cat language’. Painful as it is for us to admit, they don’t need one.” – Barbara Holland. 

The original Oreimo followed 14-year-old Kirino Kosaka, a girl who is massively popular, great at sport, gets good grade, but is secretly a massive otaku. The manga focused on her relationship with her big brother Kyosuke as they hid her hobby from their strict father, and also helped her to develop like-minded friends.

But now she’s gone to America! Can this manga survive without her? By the looks of it, yes. The original manga was four volumes long, but the sequel has now reached five volumes. 

With Kirino studying track-and-field in the States, this sequel focuses on another of the girls Kyosuke came to know: Ruri Gokou, better known as Kuroneko, is a gothic Lolita otaku, who generally considers herself above the station of the most people. She talks in a pompous manner and her main passion currently is to publish her own manga. At home she spends a lot of her time bringing up her two younger sisters Hinata and Tamaki.

Kuroneko joins Kyosuke’s school but has problems making friends due to her attitude. However, she is still able to get along with Kyosuke. One day they bump into Iori Fate Setsuna, an editor who works with Kuroneko and who has just lost her job. However, Kuroneko is able to use her to get an interview with a manga publisher. Whether she can persuade the publisher to give her chance is another thing.

Reading Kuroneko you get a slightly mixed feeling. On the one hand it is nice to reunite yourself with the characters, but on the other hand you are somewhat let down by the fact that you are missing the main one. You know that you are not going to have quite the same experience. 

However, the story itself is still good. The best moment is the scene in which Kuroneko is introducing her manga to the publisher and how she reacts to her verdict. Plus you also have the reaction from Kyosuke, who is with Kuroneko as a form of moral support.

This manga has its moments. It might be best to give it another volume before passing a proper judgment, but the first volume is OK.

6 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. His debut book, CLAMPdown, about the manga collective CLAMP, is available now. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

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