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Manga / Neko Musume Michikusa Nikki

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Neko Musume Michikusa NikkiCat Girl's Grassy Wayside Journal in English — is a slice-of-life seinen manga by Ike which began serialization in Comic Ryu in 2008, and is still ongoing.

It chronicles the daily life of Kurona, a Cat Girl youkai who alternates spending her time playing with her lecherous kappa friend Ikeno and other youkai, hanging out with her human friends, being scolded by the old crow tengu who oversees the region's spirits and demons, and sleeping in the lap of the elderly woman she found a home with.

Neko Musume Michikusa Nikki provides examples of:

  • Asian Fox Spirit:
    • Kokkuri-san is a kitsune who works as the sixth of the elementary school's Seven Mysteries.
    • A kitsune named Tamae works at a cafe alongside a tanuki named Kinu.
  • Asian Lion Dogs: Koma and Shishimaru — true to their names — are a pair of lion-dogs tasked with guarding the local Buddhist temple.
  • Author Avatar: In Chapter 42.1, a down-on-his-luck manga author stumbles into a cafe run by a kitsune and a tanuki, explaining that the magazine he works for was cancelled. At the end of the chapter he gets a call that it's back in print, with a message at the bottom asking for the fans to keep supporting the manga.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The few occasions female characters are seen naked from the front without covering themselves there are - usually - no details.
  • The Berserker: Chika is an interesting example, as it's triggered by fear rather than rage. Nevertheless, when confronted by the Seven Mysteries, she goes to town on them despite screaming her head off in terror.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Ikeno the Kappa often finds himself on the sharp end of Kurona's claws for his lecherous attitude.
    • The Living Anatomy Model frequently find himself on Kokkuri's bad side and thus receives a beatdown from Kitsune Chika. The Jinmenken tends to get caught in the crossfire.
  • Cat Girl: Kurona is a bakeneko (cat youkai) whose favourite form is a human girl with cat ears and a tail.
  • Class Representative: Chika is the class representative and does her best to be stern in regards to Daiki's slacking. Her overwhelming fear of spirits tends to kibosh her efforts at being serious, however.
  • Comedic Spanking: If the Head Priest catches Koma misbehaving, his response is to conjure up a Battle Aura and resplendent Death Glare, then give her behind a paddling. Played for Laughs due to it still causing her pain despite her literally having stone skin. When he catches Kurona and Koma play-fighting, he promptly carries them both off and they're next seen with bandages on their backsides.
  • Cute and Psycho: The Jorōgumo, who also happens to be a Shipper on Deck for Kurona and Daiki.
  • Death Glare: Kurona, Koma, the High Priest, and Chika can dish out quite sinister glares when they get overly annoyed.
  • Demonic Possession: Kokkuri-san possesses Chika by kissing her, temporarily transforming her into a kitsune.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • When Kurona, Daiki, and Chika wander inside the elementary school during the summer and are trapped by a thunderstorm, the Living Anatomy Model decides the best recourse is scaring them to death. It gets to the point where even the haunted paintings think he's going too far, but he didn't bank on one of his victims being a cat youkai and one of his underlings performing a Heel–Face Turn. When Daiki later steals his organs as a prank, he plans to torture Daiki to death before being mauled by Chikai's kitsune form.
    • Kokkuri possesses Chika and mauls the Living Anatomy Model when he tries to start an 8th School Mystery by popping out of the incinerator.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Most of the youkai are named after what they are.
  • Easily Forgiven: Kurona will maul Ikeno with her claws when she catches him doing something perverted, but lets him off the hook immediately afterwards.
  • Everything's Cuter with Kittens: Kurona's cat form tends to get this reaction.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: When in human form Kurona's hair is arranged in a neat bob. When her ears and tail show, it becomes spiky and messy.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Living Anatomy Model proclaims his intent to torture Daiki to death for stealing his organs as a prank, not noticing Kitsune Chika kick the door down and do to the other spirits exactly what he's describing doing to Daiki. The other spirits, however, spot her right away.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Kurona and Kitsune Chika plough their way through the spirits barring the way between them and Daiki.
  • Foot Popping: Chika pops her left foot up when kissing Kokkuri-san for the second time.
  • Freakiness Shame: When the superstitious Chika sees her new friend Kurona is a bakeneko, she freaks out and runs away. Kokkuri telepathically tells Chika to stop running, and Kurona breaks down into tears asking if Chika hates her because she's a cat yokai. Chika realizes that, monster or not, Kurona saved her life and gives her a hug, reaffirming their friendship.
  • Gag Nose: The crow tengu has one in his rarely-used human form.
  • Genki Girl: Kurona is excitable and loves having fun and playing, much like a kitten. While Koma tries her darndest to be stern and mature, she's Not So Above It All, to the chagrin of the priest looking after her and her brother.
  • Giant Spider: The Jorōgumo's true form is a house-sized arachnid.
  • Glamour Failure: Kurona's ears and tail frequently pop out, Ikeno's human form lacks a bellybutton, and the Jorōgumo has Extra Eyes in her hair.
  • Godiva Hair: Ibuki's side tails are long enough to censor her chest.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Ibuki is half human, half yukionna.
  • Haunted House: The Seven Mysteries of the local elementary school are reoccurring minor antagonists.
  • Hellish Pupils: Kurona's pupils are vertical slits even in her human form, though no-one comments on this. Kokkuri's pupils are also vertical slits.
  • Helping Hands: A kai-nade note  tries to help itself to a handful of Chika's backside. Before it can do so, Kokkuri puts her foot down on it, as does Chika... several times.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Chapters 11 and 12 have the group stop off at a hot spring for youkai.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Deep down, Koma is insecure about her place as the guardian of the Shibugaki Hachiman temple and wants to be accepted as its guardian, due to having been stripped of her divine power after her original shrine's destruction.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: In Chapter 35, Kokkuri attempts to confess her feelings to Chika in a very creepy fashion, but is interrupted by the Living Anatomy Model. Chika is terrified out of her mind, and Kokkuri is furious.
  • Ironic Fear: Chika is very superstitious and terrified of ghosts. Almost being killed by the spirits haunting the elementary school and discovering her new friend Kurona is a bakeneko causes her to run away until she's stopped by Kokkuri. Seeing Kurona sobbing at the thought that Chika hates her after seeing her true form prompts a Freakiness Shame on Chika's part that leads to her begrudgingly becoming something of an ambassador between the humans and youkai.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: The Crow Tengu was handsome, hotheaded, and arrogant in his youth, and as it turns out was an acquaintance of the shopkeeper Kurona lives with.
  • Laughably Evil: The possessed anatomy model who is the nominal leader of the elementary school's Seven Mysteries. Each time he shows up, he gets carried away — usually in his attempts to frighten Daiki — and pays for it courtesy of Chika and Kokkuri-san.
  • Living Toys: A group of forgotten Hinamatsurai dolls, and Lady Mary, a discarded child's doll, have become tsukumogami yokai.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Ikeno the Kappa almost never misses an opportunity to grope Kurona. He pays for it.
  • Love Freak: The Jorōgumo has an unhealthy obsession with the "forbidden love" between Kurona and Daiki.
  • Love Triangle: Between Kurona, a cat youkai; Daiki, one of a trio of elementary school boys who pester her; and Chika, the tsundere Class Representative who is terrified of ghosts and spirits. It grows to be a love square with the addition of Kokkuri-san, a lesbian kitsune who has the hots for Chika.
  • A Magic Contract Comes with a Kiss: Kokkuri can temporarily turn Chika into a kitsune, but in order to do so they have to kiss.
  • Magic Pants: Kurona's clothes appear when she transforms into human form and disappear when she transforms into cat form.
  • The Masquerade: The youkai are supposed to be "close but far away" from the humans, and the old crow tengu scolds Kurona for letting people see her with her ears and tail out.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Kurona is a black cat, and "kuro" is the Japanese word for black.
    • Koma and Shishimaru, since komainu is what the lion-dog statues found outside temples are called in Japan, and shishi are what they are called in China.
  • Megaton Punch: Chika's response to being startled by a youkai is to punch or stomp on it as hard as she can.
  • Miko: Koma and her brother Shishimaru both kinda dress like this and are lion-dogs whose original temple was demolished before being taken in by a priest.
  • Mirror Monster: #3 of the Seven Mysteries of the elementary school, Same-Face Mirror, is a cursed mirror which almost kills Chika before being fought off by Kurona in her bakeneko form.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: When reflected in Same-Face Mirror, the Jinmenken's refection is shown as being a complete dog, and Kurona's reflection is shown as a cat walking on its hind legs.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: A elderly youkai hunter and his assistant were caught in the act of pulling Kurona's panties down to verify that she was a real cat youkai by Daiki, Ikeno, and a bunch of other youkai. The clincher: the assistant was butt-naked and the youkai hunter was holding a video camera. It Makes Sense in Context... kinda.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ibuki the yukionna is a busty Badass Biker who frequents hot springs.
  • The Napoleon: Lady Mary is a doll tsukumogami with a powerful hatred of humans for throwing her away, to the point where she creates a kingdom of tsukumogami out of a junkyard and plans to conquer the human world.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Living Anatomy Doll's reaction when he spots Chika in her kitsune form is to scream for help just before she dismembers him.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Kurona's owner abandoned her as a kitten, and she was taken in by the old tengu, who looked after her until she became a youkai. Because of this she initially states she hates humans, but her actions say otherwise.
    • Lady Mary holds a deep grudge over being thrown away, and wants to conquer the human world as a result.
  • Pervert Revenge Mode: Kurona does not hesitate to use her claws on Ikeno when he tries to do perverted things to her.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Inverted into "Lack of Power Dyes Your Hair". When Koma's and Shishimaru's original temple was destroyed they lost their divine status and their hair turned lanky and black, making the former look like a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl.
  • Power Incontinence: Ibuki loses control of her powers when she's drunk, causing a massive blizzard.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Ikeno steals the Tengu's invisibility cloak and uses it to take lewd photos of the girls.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: When the Anatomy Doll is outlining his plan to torture Daiki in revenge for a prank, Kitsune!Chikai delivers a chilling one after decimating his "army".
    Living Anatomy Model: We will make him shriek like he has never before!
    Jinmenken: [yelps in pain]
    Kitsune Chika: I won't let you...
    Living Anatomy Model: You again... [Chika lunges] HELP ME!!!
  • Prehensile Hair: In Chapter 46, the Dumpster King turns an abandoned doll into a tsukumogami at the behest of Lady Mary. The doll dons a dark suit of samurai armour and a naginata she uses with her hair, and goes on a rampage astride a black horse.
  • Secret-Keeper: Chika, who is Tsundere on one hand but superstitious and terrified of spirits on the other, becomes this for Kurona when she saves her from being killed by a mirror youkai. It later gets to the point where yokai come to her asking for advice and help.
  • The Seven Mysteries: The elementary school Chika and Daiki attend is haunted. The local Seven Mysteries are led by a possessed anatomy model who is obsessed with scaring people. The other notable member, Kokkuri-san, is a kitsune who has taken a... liking to Chika, the class representative.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: Ikeno the Kappa's human form is actually pretty attractive... but he virtually never uses it, even when he's around humans.
  • The Shadow Knows:
    • Kurona's shadow is often either shown as having cat ears and a tail or being that of a monstrous cat.
    • In Chapter 35, Kokkuri's shadow is shown as that of a fox as she is about to "claim" Chika.
  • Shipper on Deck: The Jorōgumo ships Kurona x Daiki like the Titanic, meaning that anyone who interferes is going down.
  • Shrinking Violet: Shishimaru is very timid and shy, in contrast to his brash and aggressive sister.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When a divine messenger sparrow sneers that Koma will never be accepted as the guardian of her new temple, Kurona's response is to yell at him to shut up and lunge at him, presumably with the intent of doing to him what cats to to birds.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Koma and Shishimaru. Koma is hot-tempered and aggressive, while Shishimaru is shy and quiet.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: When disguised as a human, Kokkuri wears a pair of glasses. She takes them off in her Little Bit Beastly form.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Kawano the Kappa asks Kokkuri-san if she's a lesbian and in love with Chika, Kokkuri vehemently denies it. However, Ikeno managed to get photos of her taking Chika's presumably-used recorder out and playing it.
  • Take That!: Kurona laughs off Daiki's theory that she's an alien from the Cat Planet as being utterly ridiculous.
  • The Tease: The Jorōgumo makes a scarf out of aphrodisiac threads for this express purpose.
  • Token Good Teammate: Of the Seven Mysteries, one of the portraits of past principals was opposed to "disciplining" Kurona, Chika, and Daiki for entering the school building during summer; and the Ninomiya Kinjirou Statue is the only one to not engage in malicious behaviour, trying to warn the children about the danger they're in. Kokkuri pulls a Heel–Face Turn after falling for Chika.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: Chika develops slitted pupils, claws, pointed ears, and a fox tail when possessed by Kokkuri-san.
  • True Companions: Kurona and her karakasa have been together ever since they were abandoned by their owner and became youkai together.
  • Tsundere: Koma the lion-dog is non-romantically belligerent with a begrudging soft spot towards Kurona, and Chika is the same towards Daiki.
  • Urban Fantasy: Takes youkai from Japanese folklore and plops them down in a modern urban Japanese setting.
  • Vague Age: It's not stated exactly how old the characters are, but Dakai and Chika attend the local elementary school, making it likely they're between 10 and 12 years old. Kurona appears to be a similar age as them.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Kurona the bakeneko and Koma the lion-dog constantly bicker and fight whenever they meet, but are actually close friends, not that Koma would ever admit it.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Most youkai can assume a human or humanoid form at will. Kurona initially has difficulty keeping her ears and tail retracted.
  • Youkai: There's dozens of types and more are introduced every chapter, although they're most often referred to as ayakashi.
  • Zashiki-warashi: The old woman who Kurona lives with thinks that her human form is one of these, due to her popping up to help with chores and then mysteriously vanishing.