“Yon and Mu”
Kodansha Comics USA, October 2015
Writer: Junji Ito
“Yon and Mu” is an autobiographical exercise, the description of a dog person’s slow transformation into a cat person.
Writer and artist Junji Ito marries his sweetheart, described as “A-ko” (“ko” being the Japanese suffix meaning “child”, but has affectionate and cute connotations- “nekoko” for example means “kitten”) and they move in together. What Mr Ito entirely forgets is that A-ko has a cat, named Jun, which has been residing with her parents. And Mr Ito does not like cats.
Because he is an artist of horror manga, Mr Ito reverts to his tradecraft when describing his interactions with the cat. Jun is described as having an alien stare and a sinister bearing. When Jun sticks out his tongue to vomit, the image is captured with photorealistic horror – jaw almost disengaged and tongue projecting out out like a ghastly protuberance. At one point, when Mr Ito is out to meet a deadline, Mr Ito’s fatigue causes Jun to transform into a variety of monsters. It does not help that Jun has patched markings on his coat which look like a ghoul’s face. Mr Ito starts muttering to himself about curses, the cat causing anxiety and creeping horror.