-Apocalypse Meow (otherwise known as ‘Cat Shit One’)
Apocalypse Meow is short three volume series featuring anthropomorphic animals who add the perfect amount of humour to an often very serious storyline. The series follows an American recon, group through several missions during the Vietnam War. Sergeant Perkins, Sergeant White (Rats), and Botasky (Bota) make up the recon team ‘Cat Shit One’ who undertake different missions in each chapter. From gaining reconnaissance of the enemy’s movements to rescue missions and ambushes, the reader is taken on a journey showing a lot of the stories which have been left untold by official sources.
Each of the missions in the series depicts a different element of the Vietnam War. The mangaka does a fantastic job of presenting a large array of perspectives of the war, from the perspective of the American soldiers themselves, the people of South Vietnam as well as those protesting against the war in America. In one of my favourite chapters of the series Rats returns home for a short leave and is bombarded with the extent of the anti-war demonstrations. Despite several attempts to defend himself and the actions of his comrades he fails to persuade anyone to change their opinion. In the end he decides to end his leave early in order to escape the protests and return to help his friends who he feels he abandoned back in Vietnam. Other elements of the untold stories also make an appearance in the series such as the presence of Japanese soldiers to carry out ‘training exercises’ as well as confrontations between American and Russian soldiers.
The artwork in throughout the series in very well done and captures and holds the attention of its readers. The use of anthropomorphic animals for the series is very well done as it largely removes the human element of the story while at the same time telling the story that the mangaka wants to get across. In a short sub story at the end of volume one called ‘Dog Shit One’ the characters are depicted as humans. It is a much harder read because we are presented with the fact that humans kill each other which had somehow been lost while reading a story with animal characters. The writer also uses the presence of animals to add some humour to the story when it gets too heavy. In volume three one of the characters makes an observation that none of them are actually wearing any trousers. Beyond the animal characters the visuals of explosions and emotions are delivered perfectly to hold the serious tone of the story as a whole.
Overall, the series is a really interesting read, both in terms of a manga and as an account of the Vietnam War. The books are fairly hard to come by and can be quite pricy. However, I would recommend to anyone that if you do see the series in a shop or selling online for a decent price, buy it. Apocalypse Meow is a really good read which as soon as I finished one volume I was ready to start the next right away.