Feline Friday is my chance to celebrate famous cats across the arts, whether their origins are in gaming, film, anime, literature or anywhere else.
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FIRST APPEARANCE: Dekiru Neko wa Kyō mo Yūutsu volume 1, Suiyōbi no Sirius (2018)
Rescue cats are something very near and dear to my heart. All three of my babies are rescues, and as trite as it sounds, I fully attest to the old adage that I didn’t save them; they saved me.
Such is true for Saku Fukuzawa, a young office worker living in a small apartment in Japan who happens upon a shivering, starving kitten one fateful winter night. She takes the little guy home, introducing him to her humble lifestyle of last minute microwave meals, piles of trash heaped up in every corner, and enough beer to subdue an African savanna elephant.
Most cats would simply make do in this pigsty, but Yukichi is not most cats. He is a dekiru neko, also known as a masterful cat, inexplicably capable of cooking, cleaning, and just generally keeping Saku’s childlike tendencies in check.
In short time, the new adoptee grows to be the size of a bear, and establishes himself as a wonderful homemaker. While his bumbling human is out working hard (or drinking even harder), he is researching the latest in culinary techniques, in between doing laundry and mopping the floors.
With his massive frame and anthropomorphised routine, Saku understandably tries to keep Yukichi a secret, but he’ll merrily go out on the town to do grocery shopping without a second thought. Most just assume him to be an eccentric furry in an elaborate costume, because in fairness, if you see an enormous cat buying lettuce, you are probably not going to believe that it is in fact an enormous cat buying lettuce.
As an expert of all things with a level head, Yukichi finds his master to be a constant foil and source of frustration. While we as the viewer are sometimes given insight into his thought process — the fact that his Japanese voice actor was the same man who brought One Punch Man’s King to life is more perfect than I could possibly convey — he is not able to express himself in human speech.
Despite this, Fukuzawa-san has worked out pretty quick how her sizeable pet feels in any given situation, what with his threatening aura and menacing clicks of disappointment. She’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, but even she cannot miss the clues. Saku, baby, we’ve all been there, especially when we buy the wrong brand of wet food.
Yukichi isn’t just all business, however. He is a huge fan of the idol group UMYU-Sea, and he does have some similar tastes to standard felines. He enjoys catnip, for example, though he seems to think it’s best used as a cigar. Who’s going to argue with him, exactly? He’s adorable and terrifying in equal measure.
I think one of my favourite things about Yukichi is that he’s really just a great, big softie. He works so hard to bring Saku some semblance of normalcy, and much like Esteban Vihaio of Kill Bill fame, he is susceptible to flattery. If all bodega cats were like him, then I daresay productivity would be up by 1,000%.
At this stage, I am not quite sure how or why the masterful cat got to be the way that he is. And quite frankly, I don’t care if I ever do. He’s just a good, solid unit, and the next time I’m wandering the streets of Tokyo, I earnestly hope I might bump into him and get some helpful tips on the best ways to sauté mushrooms.
I asked a stray cat in Manchester this same question once, and all he did was purr a little bit before biting my hand. My bad, I suppose only Japanese cats are equipped with the skills to be considered masterful.