"A Man and His Cat" -- at its essence -- tells the story of a man who adopted a cat and what unfolds during their new life together. Beneath the surface, however, it’s a heartwarming tale that touches on feelings like loss, loneliness, love and hope.

The manga series alternates between the viewpoint of its human character, Kanda, a middle-aged widower, and its non-human character, Fukumaru, a chubby cat who was considered the “ugly” cat of the pet shop he lived most of his life in. Both characters have a unique, yet kindred sense of loneliness. Kanda, at one point, had a wife and kids but now finds himself living alone, and Fukumaru grew feelings of being unwanted after watching cats other than him get chosen one too many times.

As both characters adjust to their new life together, there is an initial sense of hope at finally finding a companion, but over time, it deepens to an unbreakable sense of love and family. This, paired with writer & illustrator Umi Sakurai’s skill in delivering emotions, is undoubtedly what resonated with readers all across Japan.

"A Man and His Cat" live-action adaptation

The popularity of the series in Japan has massively grown since it first started. "A Man and His Cat" was originally a self-published webcomic and then went on to be serialized by Square Enix Manga. However, it doesn’t look like its popularity is about to die off anytime soon; Sakurai recently announced on Twitter that the series will be getting a live-action TV adaptation.

The announcement also mentioned that Japanese-American biracial actor Masao Kusakari will be portraying the role of Kanda. Kusakari is an award-winning actor who has a career in film and television that spans almost five decades.

He is perhaps best known for appearing in Japan’s taiga dramas (大河ドラマ), which are year-long historical TV dramas. They have been annually produced by NHK since 1963, and Kusakari has appeared in seven of them since his debut as a TV actor in 1976.

The TV adaptation of "A Man and His Cat" is scheduled for advanced distribution on the Japanese video streaming service Paravi from January 1, 2021. It will then air regularly in Japan from January 6, 2021 through TV Tokyo.

In the meantime, those anticipating the series from abroad can get their fill of Kanda and Fukumaru through the translated English versions of ‘A Man and His Cat’.

By - Jen Laforteza.