Here at Anime UK News, we’re very fond of the animal companions in our lives, so we’re always happy to come across a manga that focuses on pets such as A Man & His Cat. The latest title to offer such insight is the new Kodansha title Yuzu the Pet Vet, which I’m here to review today.
Our story follows 11-year-old Yuzu, who is moving in with her uncle Akihito after her mom gets hospitalised. Akihito runs a veterinary clinic, which would be any animal lover’s dream but Yuzu is afraid of animals! On top of worrying about her mom, Yuzu has to deal with her fear while helping out at the clinic. Can the pets and people she meets help her overcome her fears?
Volume 1 of Yuzu the Pet Vet is made up of four fairly self-contained stories. In the first one Yuzu meets Yuuki, a young boy who is being bullied. His dog, Leon, bravely stands up for him and scares the bullies away when he’s present but Yuzu notices that Leon is putting on a brave face.
Having been in the family since before Yuuki was born, Leon is already 10-years-old and old age is starting to catch up to him. With Leon always being around to protect him, Yuuki is unable to see his dog as being anything other than strong and struggles to accept that he might not be around much longer. Now Yuzu has to get Yuuki to realise the truth before it’s too late.
Two of the other chapters in this book also focus on dogs, while the third switches things up to follow the tale of a kitten. All of these stories deal with heavy topics and are ultimately about getting the owners to come to terms with their pet’s health or themselves.
My favourite stories ended up being the first chapter about Leon and the one about the kitten, Chibi. His owner Kanae is struggling to come to terms with having another cat in her life after the death of her previous one, a topic I’m sure many of us can relate to if we’ve had more than a single pet.
The nice thing about Yuzu the Pet Vet is that it deals with these topics while also having its fair share of fun with the animals that visit the clinic. On top of that Yuzu’s uncle owns a dog called Sora, who regularly winds Yuzu up (as he’s jealous of her for being ‘cute’) which also delivers some entertaining scenes. It’s not all doom and gloom, but it’s not a sugar-coated version of the reality of keeping animals either.
My only minor issue right now is that I hope that future volumes offer a bit more variety when it comes to the animal’s Yuzu encounters. Dogs and cats are a firm staple of household pets, but it would be nice to see hamsters, rabbits or even guinea pigs as the series goes on.
Yuzu The Pet Vet has been created by mangaka Mingo Ito and is their first series. The artwork is very cutesy (befitting of a shojo) but the animals are portrayed realistically. Both the humans and pets are expressive and it’s easy to work out what’s on their mind from glancing at their faces.
This manga series has been made in collaboration with Nippon Columbia for their 3DS game Wan Nyan Doubutsu Byouin: Suteki na Jyuui-san ni Narou!, but beyond sharing the same clinic and vaguely similar characters the manga seems to be self-contained.
As previously mentioned Yuzu the Pet Vet comes to the West thanks to Kodansha Comics and has been translated by Julie Goniwich. The translation reads well with no issues to speak of. This release includes some colour pages at the beginning, which is always nice to see! Yuzu the Pet Vet is on-going in Japan at 7 volumes and Kodansha currently has Volume 2 scheduled for release on the 28th of July.
Overall, Yuzu the Pet Vet offers a sweet story about what it means to share your life with an animal. As our young protagonist gets over her fears and meets many different people and pets, we’ll learn some valuable lessons. A shojo that’s perfect for young and old readers alike!
Read the first chapter of Yuzu the Pet Vet free on the publisher’s website here.