The cover to Cat on the Hero's Lap by Shiori, from Seven Seas Entertainment
Seven Seas Entertainment

Cat on the Hero’s Lap Vol. 1
Writer: Kousuke Ijima
Artist: Shiori
Translator: Alan Cheng and Rowena Chen
Lettering: Mercedes McGarry
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment 
Genre: Comedy, Action/Adventure, Fantasy

If you own a cat, you understand the following situation. You’re sitting on the couch, enjoying your afternoon, and then it happens. The cat climbs on your lap and falls asleep. You now live on the couch for the foreseeable future. You can’t move the cat. Why would you? The cat is comfortable. It looks cute sleeping. Now imagine that you’re an adventurer in a role-playing game (RPG) or in a D&D campaign. You just want to fight a monster so you can level up, but every time you’re about to attack, a cat just climbs into your lap.

A page from Cat On the Hero's Lap vol. 1 where Mr. Cat gets ready to sit on Red's lap.
(Seven Seas Entertainment)


This is the premise behind writer Kousuke Ijima and artist Shiori’s gag manga Cat on the Hero’s Lap. Sometimes the gag premise gets repetitive, but there’s a lot of fun seeing a house cat put into a familiar fantasy adventure setting.

Cat on the Hero's Lap
Seven Seas Entertainment

Adventurer Red and his two companions, the fighter Aina and wizard Grace, perpetually set out to find the lair of the Demon King. Unfortunately, the trio never gets far. Why? Without fail Red always finds a cat, the cleverly named orange tabby Mr. Cat, sitting on his lap. As one can guess, this gets in the way of any adventuring or leveling up. Can Red remove Mr. Cat off his lap to go on adventures? Is he perfectly fine having this feline companion plop on top of him? Will this group dubbed “The Cat Crew” ever confront the Demon King? There is only so much that one can do when a cat plops down on your lap.  

Cat on the Hero's Lap
Seven Seas Entertainment

Writer Kousuke Ijima clearly enjoys finding weirder and weirder situations to insert the cat into the adventurers’ lives. Every chapter in this volume is a typical quest in a role-playing game: finding a weapon to boost experience, fighting monsters that randomly appear, and going on quests to earn money. Ijima has a bottomless well of opportunities to insert this cat and flip how the adventure goes.

The best example of this is when Grace tries to summon a demon to learn a new ability. Instead, Mr. Cat gets into his summoning circle, and he learns an entirely different ability than summon. Yes, it’s cat-related. In another chapter, Red, stuck again with Mr. Cat on his lap, can only throw medicinal herbs at his friends as they fight off orcs.

Aiding Ijima in these antics is artist Shiori. While their character designs look like every character out of a JRPG, this only aids in the comedy. Shiori does a great job setting up the joke on one page and landing the punchline on the next. Shiori also makes Mr. Cat look absolutely adorable and expressive. Who wouldn’t want that cat to sit on their lap? The comic really works best as a D&D session or a JRPG taken over by a cat-obsessed weirdo.

Seven Seas Entertainment

The real star of this translation of the gag manga (that isn’t Mr. Cat) is letterer Mercedes McGarry. They have a lot of fun translating the various sound effects adding to the comedy. Their sound effects for the cat, like KNEAD KNEAD or SNUGGLE, just enhance the comedy. Additionally, when the “Cat Crew” gets into an adventure, they have fun making the announcement type look straight out of a JRPG like Final Fantasy. And yes, there are character stats chapter breaks with fun facts that look like the stat screens in early Final Fantasy games. 

Like in many gag manga though, the central gag gets repetitive. There are only so many times you can rely on a gag before it gets old. Once a chapter gets going you know that the cat will show up in some way and then sit on Red’s lap.

Most of the comedy relies on the absurd premise rather than really exploring the character’s reactions to the premise. The characters exist more as stereotypes. Red isn’t much more than a helpless hero, Grace just goes with the situation of a cat frequently interrupting their adventures, and Aina has the unfortunate role of once again being an exasperated woman frustrated with the situation.

At least in the first volume, the lead characters don’t really do anything outside of those roles. This limits the comedic possibilities for a series centered on a house cat wandering around a fantasy world.

Cat on the Hero’s Lap will probably appeal to both fans of comedy-oriented fantasy, like Critical Role and Adventure Zone, and cat owners. It’s got familiar role-playing elements from both tabletop and video games. Only this time, a cat throws a wrench into everything. While repetitive, it is funny to see a cat inserting itself into battles against goblins and dragons. It’s a reminder that even in a fantasy setting, a thing like a cat intruding into your day can enliven a concept.

A page where Red and Aina discuss why they need to get rid of Mr. Cat. Red tells Aina that she wouldn’t understand why he can’t move Mr. Cat off his lap. (Seven Seas Entertainment)

Cat on the Hero’s Lap Vol. 1 will be available from Seven Seas Entertainment on November 14th.