What's Michael? (ホワッツ マイケル?, Howattsu Maikeru?) is a Japanese manga series created by Makoto Kobayashi. In 1984, it began its serialization in the Weekly Morning magazine. The comic shows Michael, an orange American Shorthair tabby cat, his feline friends, and other domesticated pets in a series of humorous episodes.
The manga was adapted into two anime OVA series in 1985 and 1988, and a 45-episode TV series in 1988-1989. It is currently released in the US by Dark Horse Comics. The comics were presented in the standard left to right American reading format.
In 1986, What's Michael? received the Kodansha Manga Award for general manga.
Most episodes of the series fall into one of two kinds of stories. The first portrays the cats in a realistic way, living out normal lives with their owners. It finds humor in how humans observe their pets' naturally quirky behavior. The second type of story is complete fantasy. All the animals are given human characteristics such as walking on two legs, wearing clothes, and being able to talk to each other. These episodes place the animals in a clichéd storyline, and mixes up their human personas with normal animal behavior.
Compare Chi's Sweet Home.
This series provides examples of:
- Chew Toy: Bear.
- Fat Cat: Nyanjira (whose name roughly translates to "Meowzilla").
- Funny Animal: This applies to one half of the stories.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The panel which looks very, eh, genitally surely qualifies...only that after a zoom-out you realize it was just Michaels nose extremely close-up.
- Hilarity Ensues: Just about every chapter.
- Slice of Life: This applies to the other half of the stories.
- Shout-Out: Several, including one◊ to Michael Jackson.
- Surreal Humor: When the Funny Animal side collides with the Slice of Life side. Hilarity Ensues.
- The Rival: Nyazilla.
- Those Two Guys: M and K, the two Yakuza.