The opening volume of this feline harem manga left us on something of a comic cliffhanger in the form of a fridge-raiding ghost.
Yukiharu Izumi, a boy who thanks to his late father Shuu’s debts is being forced to work as a servant to five bakeneko – shapeshifting cat spirits – is currently having to deal with a strange ghost which every night is raiding the kitchens, scaring him and some of his feline companions such as the excitable yet creepy black cat Akira. Fortunately, this is all easily resolved in the opening chapter of this volume in a somewhat anticlimactic denouement.
Most of this second volume, however, concerns Kyou, the glamorous member of the group who in his human guise works as a host. We come to discover that Kyou is incredibly clingy and wants constant attention, much to the annoyance of Yukiharu who has all of his chores to do. The reason for this clinginess stems from the fact that deep down, Kyou is still in mourning for Shuu, and has not been able to come to terms with his death. Yukiharu therefore has to come up with a way of helping him overcome his grief, and does so by making Kyou’s favourite thing: hotpot.
Volume 2 does have some problems, primarily in that it really doesn’t move the overall plot forward that much. We know that there is something supposedly sinister going on in terms of someone targeting the bakeneko, but the only hint we really get regarding this is at the end of the book, when Yukiharu receives a threatening text regarding two members of the gang. While some of the main characters, particularly Kyou, are fleshed out a bit more, in terms of storytelling this edition of the series feels rather lacklustre. However, Alexandra McCullough-Garcia’s translation has no problems, and Rochelle Ganico’s lettering is again creative and entertaining.
There are positives though, mainly in this book’s bonus content. Aside from the translation notes (which this time are at the back of the book rather than in the middle as they were in Volume One) this edition comes with detailed biographies of the six main characters, as well as an entire short story. The Vengeful Ghost That Haunts Me is so Cute, I Might Die of Happiness is a oneshot by Rat Kitagumi which won GFantasy’s monthly manga award, being published in November 2018, prior to I’m The Catlords’ Manservant’s debut in 2019. The story ended up being a prototype for the main manga.
It features Shuu being followed by a huge cat ghost which is trying to haunt him but, thanks to Shuu’s love of cats, he is totally unfazed by the haunting. In fact, Shuu comes to love the ghost cat, partly because he suffers from a cat allergy, so can get close to this ghost without becoming ill. Shuu is the only one who can see the ghost, so at work when he talks about being in love with someone, and revealing that this someone is male, his female work colleagues get excited about Shuu being in a kinky gay relationship with a guy he is keeping as a pet.
This side story is both moving as well as entertaining, and in fact feels better than most of the rest of the content of this second volume. Hopefully, Volume Three will actually start to go deeper into the sinister plot.