There will be spoilers for the manhua series Kitty Boy.
Trigger Warning: Animal abuse, child abuse, and domestic abuse may be discussed as it appears in the manhua.
Eva Qiao is a senior in college. To finish out her final year, she moves into the first floor of a home near the campus. Upon moving in, she discovers something inhabiting the basement. To her surprise, it turns out to be a man, but not just any man. It is a man with cat ears, fangs, claws, and a cat tail, and he is desperately searching for his master.
Eva initially wants nothing to do with the mysterious cat man, who refers to himself as 51 and plans to throw him out. However, memories of her time in a science institution where she encountered a young boy like the cat-man soften her heart, and she decides to adopt him, dubbing him Rusty Qiao. Rusty and Eva now must navigate the world together as Eva does her best to live an ordinary life when she is anything but ordinary, while Rusty longs for nothing more to grow closer to his new master.
Let me go ahead and admit I am a sucker for men who can turn into animals or who have animal ears, which is the first major reason I was drawn to this. The male lead, Rusty, is absolutely adorable. He has long hair for most of the story, which is another big attractor for me in male leads. Then add ears and a tail? Sold.
However, what's even better is the fact that we aren't limited to just a cat boy. We also have a dog boy, the occasional rabbit boy, among other anthropomorphic male characters. Variety is the spice of life, though, and there aren't that many in the grand scheme of the character list, which is unfortunate because the anthro-men we do get are super cute. Rusty, in particular, is probably one of my favorite male lead designs I have seen.
Unfortunately, this is not the manhua for you if you really care about the story. The story is super weak. This mysterious science group used animal genes to alter human DNA to fix various ailments, only for these experiments to backfire and create anthropomorphic humans. Eva is one of the few successful experiments, but it isn't really explained why she doesn't have any anthropomorphic abilities and is just super strong. I could have done without the subplot of the gene-altering facility and them capturing and essentially torturing the failed experiments. Still, I know this was needed to have Rusty go through his character arc of becoming “more human,” but I would have preferred Rusty not to become more human. However, the romance story of how Rusty and Eva initially met is super sweet; it is just a small drop among the espionage and the many subplots of other characters, unfortunately.
I also have to talk about the abusive characters, Danner and Xander. Danner abuses everyone who isn't Danner, and as it turns out, Xander is a closeted sociopath who wants to kill and harm animals, but instead of doing that, he hits and beats Danner. Danner doesn't stop him and actually seems to enjoy it as he is helplessly in love with Xander. They are beyond toxic, and Danner is the kind of character. The moment he came up, I was zoning out and scrolling to move on to a scene without him. He is insufferable, which might be acceptable for some since he is an antagonist. Still, I feel his personality is so bad that he goes beyond villain and into something intolerable. I still get a sour taste in my mouth when I recall that Danner and Xander ultimately ended up together successfully, despite them both being garbage in their own right.
Finally, the art is rough. It does get better the longer it goes, but it is still not great. There is much better art out there, but I didn't really read it because it was pretty. I just wanted anthro-men, which I got. If art is super important to you, I can't recommend this. The men are almost always drawn well, but there are moments where the other characters look really, really rough in comparison, and it really stands out as a result.
This is not the best manhua or comic by any means, but it is a good time nonetheless. If you are looking for a good time with a gaggle of super cute and loveable anthropomorphic men, then this is definitely worth a read. However, if art and story are integral to your experience, I would say this may not be the best choice for you. Even as someone who is typically picky regarding art and story, I have to admit I enjoyed this lighter reprieve from some of the heavier stuff I read.
Have you read Kitty Boy? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!