Quick Hits: Cat Paradise Volume 4

Written by Yuji Iwahara
Illustrated by Yuji Iwahara
Yen Press

It's time to start the battle! As the barrier finally opens, the defenders of Matabi Academy must desperately find a way to stop the Spirit Animals from destroying humanity. But how can they do that when there's dissension in the ranks? Learn the secret history of the banning of the Spirit Animals and prepare for the final fight in...Cat Paradise.

After getting steadily better, this volume takes a major turn for the worse. The plot is muddied more than a river after a rainfall and by the end, I wasn't able to tell exactly what was going on. There's some pointless fighting thrown into the mix and Iwahara's artwork has far too many inks on it, giving the whole thing an extremely claustrophobic feel that doesn't help the story any.

The Spirit Animals we see here are pretty cool, but abilities are being added to characters at the drop of a hat and the protagonist, Yumi, is basically a non-entity in this one, which is a major mistake. Why did we look at all this from her perspective if she's not going to be a player in the final drama? Yumi's just not interesting enough to care about if she can't participate. We get more of her backstory, but it felt shoehorned. There's already infodumps aplenty, and the ones with the Spirit Animals are far more interesting.

If Cat Paradise had more than one volume to go, I'd have given up by now, but there's only one more, so I'll see it to its end. Unless volume five is amazing, however, you can give this series a pass. There's a lot of manga out there and I don't see the need to take time to read this one, even if it's short.