Although romance is a genre that, in both manga and novels, has pushed boundaries in terms of mainstream publishing, both omegaverse and furry titles (as opposed to shifters) still face a number of obstacles when reaching readers, or at least public readers. That could make it harder for titles like Arata Asanae’s My Mate Is a Feline Gentleman to find audiences, especially when it’s also wrapped in plastic with an M rating and the message “Pornography.” porn” on the cover. But fans of heartwarming love stories shouldn’t let that deter them from choosing this book, because beneath the sometimes upsetting elements mentioned above, this book is the story of… Finding acceptance and love for who you are, not what society says about you. To be.
The story is set in an alternate version of what appears to be the late 19th century. It is “alternative” in two senses: one, there are beastmen with their own country, and two, that is an omegaverse. If you’re not familiar with the latter, it’s a subcategory of romance, where the sexes are divided into alpha, beta, and omega, where the latter is associated with excessive and potent sex pheromones strong. It is often used as a way to write baseless fantasy stories and male pregnancy stories, using alpha/omega motivation as the “why”. That’s not true of all omegaverse stories, but it may leave readers unsatisfied with this subgenre. Fortunately (or not, depending on your reading preferences), My Mate Is a Feline Gentleman doesn’t rely on those elements to provoke agitation. Instead, it uses both of these alternate world elements as a way to explore systematic bias and abuse, as well as cultural differences between beast and human nations.
Our main characters are Toushirou and Alex, human and Nyartigian respectively. As the name suggests, Nyartig is the country of cats and Asanae’s art is based on it; both Alex and his colleague Rodney look like human-sized two-legged cats, complete with retractable paw pads and claws. Alex is a diplomat by profession, and when he arrives in Japan, he is given as a servant by Toushirou. Toushirou’s half-brother tells Alex that he can do whatever he wants with him, heavily implying that Alex should use him for sex rather than as a servant. Normal. For his part, Alex is perplexed by this, because in his people omega not only do not exist (world building tells us that they come from the interbreeding of humans and beastmen). ), but they don’t even have a gender-based class system that humans do. Interestingly, Alex and Rodney’s conversation indicates that many other countries have taken steps to eliminate omega abuse, but in their opinion, Japan is backward in this respect. While the book doesn’t cover it much beyond a brief meeting with two people with English names working to protect omega, it’s still an interesting statement that can serve as a veiled critique. , especially when we consider it to appear in a book. about a same-sex relationship.
In any case, Alex’s kindness both confused and pleased Toushirou. He has never been warmly treated and we can see that the two men are slowly falling in love as they live together. Rodney, acting as the voice of society, is concerned that Toushirou is a vehicle for the locals to manipulate Alex and that his omega pheromone will bring out Alex’s latent beastly qualities, and both relationships These concerns are all addressed in the text, though not in great detail as this is technically a complete story in one volume. (There’s a sequel, but there’s no indication in the book that it’s been planned.) While this might make the story feel a bit rushed, it doesn’t detract from the main point of the story. Romance story, it’s Alex. cares about Toushirou as a person, that’s how Toushirou always hopes someone will see him. That’s the warm, sweet focus of the book, and it works impressively.
Despite the warnings, ratings, and plastic wrap, this is not an extremely clean book. There are two fairly plain sex scenes (no genital display or overt penetration) and two slightly more explicit sexual assault scenes to show what Toushirou has endured for the most part. his life. However, most of the book’s work is emotionally charged, and the decision to mark this as obscene appears to have been a precautionary measure on the part of publisher Yen Press. While I can’t blame them for the current political climate in the United States surrounding books and LGBTQIA+ books in particular, it would be a shame if that decision prevented readers from enjoying the sweeter sides of the book. its story. However, this has two instances of sexual assault and some harsh language about how Toushirou is perceived in society, so take that into consideration.
However, My Mate Is a Feline Gentleman is a love story about overcoming the hardships beneath it all. Yes, one character is a giant anthropomorphic cat and this is an omegaverse book, but if that doesn’t end immediately then Alex and Toushirou’s relationship is one of love. It’s about finding someone who loves you for you even when other things get in the way, and for that, it’s been a huge success.
Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. Yen Press, BookWalker Global and J-Novel Club are subsidiaries of KWE.