The cat is out of the bag
Big things happened in volume 3 of “Animal Academy.” Yuichi Takuma realized that he was not a human after all, but is a transformed fox who was so good at transforming that he forgot his animal nature. Leaving the Morimori Academy, Yuichi hugs Neko with eyes full of tears, implying the hidden feelings he had for her. And then he is gone.
If you are new to “Animal Academy,” it tells the story of Neko Fukuta, a human being so bad at school that she was rejected from every High School in the country. She finally manages to be her way into Morimori Academy, only to discover that the school is actually a place to train transformed animals how to pass as human beings. Neko is allowed to stay at the school on the condition that she not reveal her status as a human, and instead pretends to be a transformed cat in order to fit in with the other students.
Volume four deals with the aftermath of Yuichi’s abrupt revelation and departure. Yuichi, who thought he was a human, bonded with Neko who is now faced with a crisis of confidence. If there is no place in Morimori Academy for a fox who thinks he is a human, how can there be a place for a human pretending to be a cat? Her roommate Miko is not helpful, because appearances aside Miko is a true cat and thus unconcerned with little beyond her immediate pleasure. Miko was jealous of the bond between Yuichi and Neko, and is less than bothered to see him go.
Finally, Neko decides she can not live a lie, and reveals to Miko her secret, that she is a human, then flees Morimori Academy just like Yuichi. What happens next makes up most of the story of volume five, as Neko finds it is not so easy to return to the human world, and the rest of the transformed animal students of Morimori Academy have to decide what to do and how to process Neko’s leaving.
“Animal Academy” is a series that I enjoy far more than I should. A shojo comic sliding on the edge of being a kodomo comic, the stories are not deep or complex, and the message is simple. However, artist Moyamu Fujino crisp and clean art style and simple storytelling make the odd situation compelling. I love how her students act like transformed animals, instead of just cutesy humans with animal ears. Miko in particular is a cat through and through, with all the good points and selfish nature that entails.
If you are a follower of “Animal Academy,” then you are going to enjoy volume four. The series tone and character is maintained, and the developments between Neko and the rest of the gang help to further the overall story. There are still some plot points left unresolved at the end of volume five, but it is a very satisfying addition over all.