Lovefool 07.02.12 | Girl’s Best Friend

Your Lovefool thought her cats were clingy until she got a load of Snow and Night, the two shapeshifting half-man, half-wolf pups plopped on Takamichi’s doorstep in the pages of Touya Tobina’s Jiu Jiu.



I don’t know if you know this about me, nerdlings, but I have a bunch of cats. Seriously, there are currently four cats living here at Lovefool, Inc. headquarters and three of them are within three feet of me on either side right now and two of them are always that close to me. Always, always, always. My cats have issues. Two of them kind of get a pass, having led hard lives on the streets of various places before stumbling onto us and determining that we were suitable saps. You know, they kind of hang around and that’s okay. It’s almost like they’re proper cats. Sometimes they go and do cat chores and sometimes they hang out with us and it’s okay either way. But the two that I got as wee kittens at PetSmart are completely absurd. Maybe it’s because they grew up spoiled, but both of them are usually in the same room with me, if not within a few feet. One of them is actually lying on the couch against my knee right now and I have no idea when she got up here. She’s like a little snuggle ninja.
So I sympathize a little with the heroine of Touya Tobina’s Jiu Jiu (published in English by VIZ Media),who can’t get a moment without her pets, either. Takamichi Hachioji is the fairly troubled heir to the Takamichi clan, a family of Dark Hunters. Dark Hunters are the Buffys of their world, going around killing demons of various kinds, and they’re pretty weird because of it. Jiu Jiu are their changeling guardians—in this case half-human, half-wolf—and the Dark Hunters’ polar opposites. Given to Takamichi after her twin brother is killed saving her, Snow and Night are two Jiu Jiu wolf pups that she raises and treats fairly harshly. Her first lesson to them is that she’s not their mama, she’s their mistress and she must always be obeyed so they need to stop crying right then. To be fair, she’s a child and her brother’s just died, but she admits herself that she’s a neglectful mistress. The pups don’t help, growing like weeds and, due to their ability to change at will, showing up in her bed naked all the time and following her day and night.
Snow and Night are decidedly clingy, enough that they make my snuggle ninja look apathetic. They study enough to pass an entrance exam at Takamichi’s school, where she attempts to maintain their levels of home discipline, fairly consistently failing and having to get a little shouty. Eventually, though, they become fairly inseparable by choice. She comes to realize, over the course of several events, that she loves her pups. It’s not sexy quite yet, though, but it is utter devotion tinged with regret. Of course, my clingy cat cries if she’s on the other side of a door and she can hear my voice behind it. Thankfully, though, my cat doesn’t turn into a sexy teenage looking boy, but I also don’t have to take her for walkies. Besides, isn’t the point of a pet just that? They’re not people, they’re pets. You take care of them, you feed them, you water them, you provide them with fake catnip sushi and they love you and you love them back. It’s surprisingly uncomplicated for the amount of depth you get out of the relationship.
That’s the big difference between a cat and a Jiu Jiu, though: the relationship between Takamichi and Snow and Night is ridiculously complicated. There’s jealousy between Night and Snow, irritation on Takamichi’s part, and the fact that all three of them can understand what’s going on at all times. There’s Takamichi’s unceasing grief over her brother and her father’s absences leave her alone to deal with that, something she’s not quite prepared to handle and Snow and Night might get the bad end of that deal. That situation is difficult enough, but when you add in her ambiguity about popping by subway stations to kill monsters before school and her guilt over her pets’ apparent glee in protecting her from said monsters, it gets a little tricky. And then there’s the fact that Snow and Night are always trying to get her to play frisbee with them. Dang, those dogs love some frisbee.
Eventually, everything starts to slot into place for the trio, but I can see things getting difficult again as Takamichi ages. She’s a cute girl with two familiars who are jealous of each other as a child, what’s going to happen as she grows up into the comely young lady she’s already shaping up to be? Especially if she starts being nice to them all the time? Not, of course, so nice that they forget who’s boss, but just nice enough in that way that teenage girls have, the one that leaves young men so dumbfounded. Snow and Night don’t know anything about that stuff and, honestly, neither does Takamichi.
So, yeah, my cats aren’t going to rescue me from anything more frightening than a dust bunny, but I also don’t have to worry about them forgetting how to wear clothes or following me to work or mauling me while they’re trying to fight each other over me. I just have to worry about them barfing up the dust bunny later and scuffling over the prime spot at my feet with their paws, not shapeshifting into naked people to wrestle over it and then get all handsy when they get it. I certainly don’t have to worry about the love triangle that Takamichi’s youth is barely keeping at bay, just about if everyone has gotten a snuggle today. And my furry peeps usually let me know if anyone’s been left out.
All things considered, though, even with Snow and Night’s foxiness, I think I’ll stick with the catlet’s unceasing fur. | Erin Jameson
JIUJIU © Touya Tobina 2009/HAKUSENSHA, Inc.

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