Cat Paradise (学園創世 猫天! Gakuen Sōsei Nekoten!?, lit. "Academy Genesis: Cat Heaven!") is a fantasy action manga written and illustrated by Yuji Iwahara. It was serialized in the monthly shōnen manga magazine Champion Red from June 2006 to December 2008. Chapters were collected by Akita Shoten in five tankōbon volumes. Cat Paradise is licensed in North America in English by Yen Press, with the first volume released in August 2009.
The story follows the career of high school student Yumi Hayakawa and her cat, Kansuke, at Matabi Academy, where they are drawn into an ancient battle between the student council against Kaen, a long-sealed feline demon, and his minions.
Yumi and her cat, Kansuke had just entered Matabi Academy,a school where students are allowed to have their pet cats live at the dorms. All goes quite well when they are suddenly dragged into a war that had begun long ago to stop Kaen, a great and ancient demon cat. A long time ago, he destroyed the Futakago kingdom, a kingdom that angered Kaen for some unknown reason. Since then, Princess Kiri and her cat, Shirayuki, fought him and sealed him in Futakago's barrier. Many years later, Kaen was finally sealed at Matabi Academy itself, but not before warning to return 100 years later. To prevent this from happening, Princess Kiri and Shirayuki chose a select group of students and their cats and granted them powers that best suit their talents and abilities. These students are Matabi Academy's student council and protect the school. But when Kaen's subordinate, Tsukumoishu, attacked Yumi and Kansuke, the pair was greeted by the Princess and Shirayuki and promised a great power if they chose to fight the threat of Kaen. With no choice, the seventh pair of student and cat make a pact and join this ancient battle.
The main protagonists of this manga are the students and cats chosen by Princess Kiri and Shirayuki to help in the battle against Kaen. The antagonists are Kaen and his followers.
- Yumi Hayakawa
- A new student of Matabi Academy that chose to attend the school because she knew she would be allowed to bring her cat, Kansuke. She loves knitting and often makes outfits for Kansuke. Though clumsy and slightly silly, Yumi is also very kind and friendly. Four years ago, she dove onto the road to protect an injured Kansuke from an oncoming van. Her power manifests itself as a ball of wool (mirroring her passion for knitting), which can be used to transform Kansuke into his human form. The wool can also be reshaped into a number of other objects depending on the circumstance, such as a shield or a cushion. One drawback to her power is that it takes time to unravel, and isn't as strong when used in rapid succession. Yumi has a romantic interest in Tsubame, which developed on her first day attending the academy.
- He is Yumi's cat, a four-year-old, mixed-blood tabby with orange eyes. He sports a large scar on his forehead from when he was hit by Yumi's bike. Yumi came back to see him bleeding on the road and took him in her arms, protecting him from an oncoming van. Kansuke became her pet that day, and swore to protect her from any danger. Due to this, he has a desire to become strong. He is stubborn, strong-willed, competitive and he hates the outfits Yumi makes for him with a passion, tearing some of them up on one occasion. In his transformed state, he resembles a anthropomorphic cat. In combat, he expresses skills in agility and strength, and depending on the outfit knitted for him, he manifests different abilities.
- Tsubame Akifuji and Sakura
- Tsubame is the clerk who Yumi has romantic feelings for. He enjoys reading and is popular with both girls and cats at the school, but notes that he likes girls who are a bit silly and clumsy. His partner is the five year-old Sakura, a pure-blood she-cat, a sister of Yamato and a descent of Shirayuki. In battle, Sakura turns into a bow that always hits its target and can see at a 380° angle.
- Shin Kamio and Yamato
- Kamio is the strict and serious president of the third year. He fights alone using his sword to perform powerful attacks. His partner is Yamato, a pure-blood six year-old white tom. Yamato is Sakura's brother and a descendent of Shirayuki. He has the ability to merge with Kamio's sword, changing its appearance and strengthening its attacks. Interestingly, Shin and Yamato are one of the only two pairs in the series who share the same gender the other being Tsukasa Hinode and Raimu.
- Kotori Hasutani and Musashimaru
- Kotori is the vice-president, who has a strong beliefs that problems should be dealt with through talking instead of violence. Kotori's power is the ability to materialize food, which she gives to her partner Musashimaru, a six year-old Persian mix. The food activates Musashimaru's power, the ability to grow in size. She is the closest to Yumi among the other guardians and often offers friendly advice and assitance. She and Kaiya are childhood friends and it is revealed that she is in love with him but won't say it.
- Kaiya Yamamoto and Hissui
- Kaiya is the prefect of class, and his partner is a female Siamese cat named Hissui. Kaiya can produce a material that Hissui can levitate, which Kaiya often uses to surf in the air. Hissui refers to Kaiya as her "darling" and gets jealous very easily. He is childhood friends with Kotori Hasutani and cares very much about her well being (much to Hisui's chagrin). It is hinted he likes her but has yet to mention anything.
- Futaba Aoki and Gekko
- Futaba is the designated president of the health committee and isn't fond of people. Her partner is Gekko, a seven year-old mix that is black in color and carries a few scars. Futaba can manipulate Gekko's shadow to do such things as create drones to spy on others and extend Gekko's shadow which then can as a portal for herself to pass through. She has to used this to grab an enemy from far away.
- Tsukasa Hinode and Raimu
- Tsukasa is the delegated of the cultural committee. He can control space and time to make people enter the dreams of Raimu, his partner. Raimu is a five year-old Scottish Fold tom with white and tortoiseshell fur. He enjoys napping on the campus, preferranly on Tsukasa's head. Interestingly,Tsukasa and Raimu are one of the only two pairs in the series who share the same gender the other being Shin kamio and Yamato
- Princess Kirihime of Futakago and Shirayuki
- Once the Princess of all the land of Futakago, Princess Kirihime perished when Kaen burnt her kingdom to ashes. Since then, she has reappeared to stop Kaen from continuing down his path of destruction. She and her cat, Shirayuki, then chose each of the "Paired Ones" and gave them the power to fulfill their heart's desires and fight Kaen. Shirayuki, a white cat who had died alongside Princess Kirihime, is constantly at her side. She bears white fur and a black "V" on her chest, as well as a strange mark on her forehead that appears on the Paired Ones.
- A tabby cat that was searching for his friend Ponta, and Yumi had decided to help him. Shinpachi learned that Ponta had been devoured while protecting Yumi from Rachi, a follower of Tsukumoishu. Shinpachi decided that, because Yumi was kind to both cats and humans, she was a fine master, and became friends with both her and Kansuke.
- He is the oldest of the cat deities with two tails. His fur is covered with a black oil and his preferred weapon his fire. Kaen was jealous of the success of other kingdoms of high deities, so he destroyed them. When he destroyed Futakago's kingdom, the princess and Shirayuki swore to stop him. He succeeded in escaping from his seal, but has yet to regain more power.
- He is Kaen's subordinate who appeared before Yumi to kill her for her hair. Tsukumoishu is a fox spirit that is very proud of his hair, made from the skulls of human victims, and shows anguish when discovering a single split end. He has the ability to summon followers of Kaen through special leaves. He took over the body of the vice-principal so he may freely move about the academy.
- One of Tsukumoishu's subordinate. She possessed a human, though her true form is that of a spider. She possesses the ability to shoot webs and summon other spiders, and her spider legs are especially sharp. The spiders she summons are her "babies" and warns them that if they get bit even once they die. She had to go back to the place under ground after the fight because she lost.
- Another of Kaien's subordinates. He possesses a heavy-set student, but his true form is a gigantic catfish that can control the dead through mist. He was inevitably defeated by a combination effort of Yumi, Kotori, Shin, and their cats.
- The second of Kaen's subordinates that is met, he is a wolf spirit beast. Unlike the others, he freely perfers to stay in a half-transformed state, giving his animal head and limbs to a human body. It has not been revealed yet who he has possessed. The other subordinates consider him too disobedient with his pride. It seems he has become someone Kannasuke is determined to defeat, as he has had nightmares where Kiba is torturing Yumi.
The manga series Cat Paradise was written and illustrated by Yuji Iwahara, and was serialized in the monthly shōnen (aimed at teenage boys) manga magazine Champion Red from June 2006 to December 2008. Akita Shoten collected the individual chapters in five tankōbon volumes between May 2007 and December 2008. The series has been licensed in North America in English by Yen Press, who released the first volume in August 2009, and in Taiwan by Tong Li.