Cat Street by Yoko Kamio

The story centers around Keito Aoyama, a former famous child actor. Due to a childhood incident, she retired from her career early and withdrew from normal society. Now 16, she passes her days in boredom and without purpose. But one day she runs into a stranger who takes her to El Liston–a free school for high school students like herself, who don’t have a place where they belong. Though hesitant at first, Keito decides to enter El Liston and subsequently, she begins a new stage in her life. With the help of her only remaining childhood friend, Taiyou, and her new classmates Rei, Momiji, and Kouichi, Keito slowly finds the courage to open up to others and to accept their support. Will Keito return to acting? Will she find true friends? Love?

Vaishnavi just knows me. After finishing Orange, I texted her asking for another recommendation. She had once told me about this manhwa (Koran cartoons), by name Can’t see, can’t hear but love, where a blind person and a deaf person fall in love. It is heart wrenching just to think about so I said, sometime later, recommend me a cute one. And she said Cat Street.

I think this is probably the third piece of fiction that I’ve experienced about an former actor’s life. One was November 9 by Colleen Hoover and the other is an anime movie Perfect Blue. Perfect Blue does not deal with a former actress, but someone who switched careers in the show biz itself. Either way, I wanted to see how this unraveled.

I liked the story. It deals with so much: love, friendship, family and lost ties. Keito just discovers and new school, free in every single sense and she doesn’t do a thing there. That was what annoyed me the most, I guess. And the best thing about these types of manga is the fact that it is so character driven. There were so many moments that I loved in the whole manga.

SPOILERS

I was a bit skeptical when I started, because Keito was, um, sorry, a little boring. Sadly, she didn’t have much life and hadn’t seen much in over seven years, so I forgive her. She was in a post traumatic depression and after seven years, she came back. I’m glad she did; she’s seen so much life from then on and all thanks to her friends. I also loved the fact the she realized her own happiness comes from her friends’ happiness. This realization made me feel she’s grown up a lot. She’s grateful for her experiences which shaped her.

Her friends are simply amazing. Momiji reminds me of Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, sewing her own clothes and not believing in the current fashion. I loved her, I loved hr confidence when she wears her own creation, looking like Gothic Lolita and she oozes confidence in them. I loved her. I love how supportive she is of Keito and her career and the fact that she is loved by Keito enough to take revenge on the boy who broke Momiji’s heart.

Kouichi is…well, dark and brooding and secretive and maybe I would’ve liked guys like this once upon a time. He’s extremely withdrawn, stating that the people at his old school were “stupid and boring” and he’d joined El Liston with the help of the Principal, just like most of them. But he took a while to open up to Keito and let her in, just he could push her out when she started dating Rei. He was so hurt, it was clearly visible in his eyes. But he shook it off because he wanted his best friend Rei to be happy and if it was with Keito, then so be it. But then he confesses and she realizes she also feels the same way (not exactly in this order) and they both got together, much to the surprise of Momiji.

And Rei. *sigh*

Where do I begin? He’s my kinda guy, happy and a little flirtatious (okay, a lot, because it’s shown that he’s had multiple flings in the past and makes small sex jokes now and then but he’s changed at lot!) and the perfect football guy. I love him. I love how much he loves Keito (no matter how much it hurts me), I love how much he loves Kouichi and Momiji and the fact that he faked that he had a girlfriend back in London just so Keito can move past him and realize her feelings for Kouichi. Why wouldn’t I want him?

Who wouldn’t want him?

Overall, this was a light and happy book. I loved all aspects of it, especially when Kouichi decides to buy the school and rebuilds it with all his friends.

Here are my favourite panels, in particular order. If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t see them!

 

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