Manhwa Review: Milkyway Hitchhiking Vol. #1

Most manga and manhwa have lengthy plots with human main characters. However, if you prefer a feline narrator and more of an anthology feel, you may want to check out Yen Press’ Milkyway Hitchhiking.

Back Cover Blurb

There are as many people on Earth as there are stars in the sky. Milkyway–a peculiar cat with a pattern of the Milky Way splashed across her back–travels across time and space; sometimes to observe, other times to interact with an unfolding story. From Sirial, the creator of One Fine Day, comes the full-color tale of Milkyway hitchhiking across the bright stars of people’s lives, loves, tears, and laughter.

The Review

From the title, you might guess this manhwa is a sci-fi along the lines of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It is definitely not. Milkyway refers not to the stars, but a cat whose fur looks like the nighttime sky. As for hitchhiking, that’s what she calls her ability to move from one place and era to the next. Her adventures, however, are not told in a continuous, chronological arc. Rather, the manhwa contains several short standalone stories. Their settings range from a European boarding school to an ancient Korean village to a near future city. Some tales are tragic, some romantic, and some humorous. The only common thread is that Milkyway features in each story; even so, her part varies widely. She plays the lead in the comical “I Am the King of the World,” but is more narrator than actor in the Grimm fairytale-esque “The Knight of the Fallen Leaves” while she plays more of a supporting role in “The Black Cat’s Wish.”

Milkyway doesn’t offer many particulars about herself. She wields magic and can “hitchhike” from one place/era to the next, but if there’s any particular impetus or mission behind her travels, she doesn’t divulge it. For the most part, she epitomizes the proud independence often associated with cats as she interacts with humankind. The personalities she encounters are varied and so is her treatment of them, ranging from super snobby to compassionate to perplexed.

Unlike many manhwa, this one is printed entirely in color. Palettes vary to match the tone of the stories, but all the illustrations, whether of cats, humans, or backgrounds, are gorgeous. Even when Sirial reverts to a super deformed style for the funny bits, the drawings maintain a high level of charm.

By the way, Milkyway Hitchhiking contains an eight-page segment titled “Milkyway Convenience Store” about the patrons of a convenience store. It’s placed in the center of the book but really feels like a bonus mini-manhwa. Other extras include four illustrations at the end of the book and footnotes explaining cultural terms.

In Summary

Milkyway Hitchhiking is a collection of eleven stories that don’t have a terrible lot in common. However, all of the tales have a very high cute cat factor and plenty of observations about humans from the feline perspective. The book’s full-color illustrations have a whimsical charm, and if you’re a cat lover, you may want to pick it up solely for the pictures.

First published at the Fandom Post.


One response to “Manhwa Review: Milkyway Hitchhiking Vol. #1

  1. Pingback: Manhwa Review: Milkyway Hitchhiking Vol. #2 | Keeping It In Canon ...mostly

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