With 2022 being the Year of the Tiger, I thought I’d highlight the adorable kitty, Shimashima (シマシマ). If you’ve read the manga, you’d recognize him from the “The Cat on the Broomstick” (ほうきにのったネコ) chapter.
After Unico turns the forest animals into humans, they overthrow the Baron, and a young boy rescues Chao from the cage she was being held in.
Chao finds the boy to be very handsome and wonders if he likes cats, too. After Shimashima tells Chao what has happened, he wants to be her friend. She says she’ll be his friend, but that he should know the type of man she prefers. After he hears her list, he turns back into his original form and asks, “… am I not good enough?”
Upon seeing Shimashima turn into a cat, Chao was in love. He introduces himself and Chao quickly lists the things she’s not good at. When she remembers the old woman is sick, the two run off together to help.
Shimashima’s name means “stripes,” and it suits him well. He’s also appeared in two other series of books made for children. The Osamu Tezuka Anime Masterpiece Collection and Sumisei Children’s Library Series both include a storybook version of “The Cat on the Broomstick” (ほうきにのったネコ). The artwork was based on Kazuo Tomizawa’s drawings.
The Chinese Zodiac states Tigers are brave, competitive, confident, and unpredictable. They are very charming and well-liked by others. Perhaps Shimashima worked his adorable charm on Chao?