With boys’ love manga being such a popular subgenre, you’d think that there would be more variety. There is so much potential for it beyond schoolboy romances, and newer manga such as You Kajika’s The Treasure of The King and The Cat is one example of this. Published in English by Tokyopop, this single-volume fantasy manga was an unexpected delight told through two stories, with a colorful cast of characters and charming art.
The Treasure of the King and the Cat
You Kajika (writing and art)
May 4, 2021
The first story, “The Wizard of The Borderlands,” introduces wizard assistant Volks, his feline friend Mia, the half-elf wizard O’feuille, and his raven familiar Alvas. Volks and Mia are on the way back to the forest when they meet a boy named Oliver. Oliver wants to see the wizard in order to break a curse on his mother, so Volks and Mia take him along. As the story progresses, we find out more about Volks, O’feuille, and Oliver as he attempts to break his mother’s curse.
The second story “The Treasure of The King and The Cat” is even more satisfying. Not only do we get to see Volks, O’feuille, Alvas, and Mia again, but we also meet new characters like Volks’ twin brother King Castio, Castio’s best friend and love interest Duke Nios, and Castio’s shrewd physician Ulvas. There are also a lot of cats in this story due to its premise: when citizens of the kingdom of Astelia are mysteriously disappearing, Catio and Nios call in Volks and O’feuille for help when they discover that magic is turning people into cats.
As a whole, both stories are lovely and fun due to the interesting characters and cute art. Volks is adorable in how he fawns over O’feuille as a love interest, while O’feuille is strict and wise with an obvious soft spot for Volks. Meanwhile, Oliver is sympathetic in the first story due to the ostracization he faces for his mysterious magic powers and his love for his mother. Of the newer characters introduced in the second story, Castio and Nios shine the most. Castio is skilled with a bow and arrow and loyal towards his citizens, while Nios’s devotion towards the former is heartwarming.
While familial, maternal, and romantic feelings allow the characters to bond together, magic is another major factor. In the first story, there is a touching way that Oliver provides compensation to O’feuille involving magic flowers. These magic flowers also have a special connection to Volks and O’feuille. In addition, the next story has all the major characters turning into cats and interacting with a figure controlling cats, resulting in some amusing interactions and dynamic action sequences. A favorite scene occurs when a certain character turns into a cat and yet still has certain abilities intact.
Both the characters and the magic are especially endearing due to the artwork. Each major character has a specific design that compliments their personality. For example, Volks’ baby face and big eyes suit his eager nature, while O’fueille’s beautiful, stern face and long black hair flaunt his half elven heritage and his serious demeanor. Cat lovers will appreciate the unique designs of the cats in the second story, with each cat having a different coat and appearance. Backgrounds and scenery aren’t as notable as the character designs, though there are some lovely images. Lettering serves to emphasize certain emotional or explanatory scenes, but nothing in particular stood out.
If there is anything unlikeable about this manga, it is that it feels too brief. Both stories give the reader glimpses of a fun and somewhat dangerous fantasy world and it would be nice to see a sequel or a series explore it further. Another issue with the manga being standalone is that there are few romantic moments between its male characters. One pairing gets a kiss, while the other only has their romantic feelings hinted at. While this was probably for narrative reasons, boys love readers hoping for a balanced amount of story and romance may come away disappointed.
All in all, The Treasure of The King and The Cat was an entertaining stand-alone fantasy BL manga. It should satisfy manga readers who need an escape without buying an entire series. The gay romance might feel lacking to some, but the endearing characterization makes up for this in spades. Filled with fluff and fur alike, this manga is magically charming in more ways than one.