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The story centers around Keito Aoyama, a former famous child actor. Due to a childhood incident, she retired from her career early and withdrew from normal society. Now 16, she passes her days in boredom and without purpose. But one day she runs into a stranger who takes her to El Liston--a free school for high school students like herself, who don't have a place where they belong. Though hesitant at first, Keito decides to enter El Liston and subsequently, she begins a new stage in her life. With the help of her only remaining childhood friend, Taiyou, and her new classmates Rei, Momiji, and Kouichi, Keito slowly finds the courage to open up to others and to accept their support. Will Keito return to acting? Will she find true friends? Love?
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Started out strong, but...
...got bogged down by the typical conventional shoujo cliches halfway through.
You can say the first half was good, but frankly, should've ended halfway. Seeing Keito progress and overcome her "trauma" bit by bit, discovering her voice and confidence back, and finally deciding her place in life was the only highlight of this manga.
Then the love crap happens. Overbearing and unnecessary cliches were thrown left and right, almost like an excuse just to crank out more chapters. "Misunderstandings" between the main love interests, other filler characters there to hamper the progress between the two, more crying, more tears, flowery speeches... you get the idea. Basically the second half becomes a dramatic soap opera. And as if the author hadn't already kicked the readers down enough with this crap, the last few chapters are dedicated to an angry "misunderstood" girl harassing the main girl. Really, I had to struggle past volume 5 and force myself to finish this, having once dropped it before for these very reasons I mentioned.
Maybe it's just because I have an extremely low tolerance for shoujo cliches, which ruined this whole manga for me, but I would not recommend this unless you've got nothing else to read. Or if you're not like me and have a high tolerance for these things, then by all means go for it.
I read this back in December last year, so I'll keep this short as I probably don't remember enough to go in detail (also, I have a cold). I find most shoujo mildly entertaining at best. There are some good comedies out there but the drama in the ones i've read are often mediocre. This series is in my top 3 shoujo (alongside Reimei no Arcana and Oresama Teacher). In fact, it may be my favourite. It's simply amazing. I love these type of stories that deal with insecurities ad damaged people. I love seeing how they heal, how often they encounter the catalyst by pure chance. Keito's innocence was completely believable too.
Another thing. The time-skip in this series was done extremely well. I would've liked to see more of what happened during those years but...yah, it was well done.
I originally rated this 8.8. I'm bumping this up a bit though. It's one of the few series i actually feel like re-reading.
I never read Hana Yori Dango, sounded kinda interesting but ultimately cliche. After reading this though (same mangaka) I've got to get round to that.
EDIT: I'm bumping this up to a 10. Really, when I think 'great shoujo' this is the first one that comes to mind as the others I've read are either incomplete or inferior but this kept the quality up the whole way through.
... Last updated on May 9th, 2013, 10:27pm
I´m a Cat Street
I love it. The art reminds me of Hana Yori Dango, so I like it
It´s very realistic. I really identify myself with this manga. Even though I don´t have a traumatic experience, I got an experience which changed my life and my point of view, I traveled to another country, which language I didn´t know and had to learned there, all this in my adolescence.
The way I was before the trip and the way I was after the trip were totally different. I became anti social, I glare at people (just like Kouichi do hahaha), I didn´t smile and I didn´t talk to anyone. Inside my house I was still the same girl, but outside I became anti social. And so I came to question the relationships between people, the so called friendship, and how I could get back to being how I was before the trip. And so I know how hard it is to not have someone to talk to, someone who will understand you and give you advices.
I also liked how Keito faced her fears, how she became more understanding as she faced life. And also there a part in the last chapter that remind me of the ¨Myth of the Cave¨ (Allegory of the Cave) of Platon.
I also like how the mangaka showed that life, as it can become meaningless in no time, it also can become the most wonderful experience in no time. But, of course, with the right guidance to show the right path and with the right friends beside you.
At first I was really skeptical to read this manga. But I have a thing about "not judging a book by its cover", so I gave it a try. After reading a few chapters I fell in love with it. Now, it's one of my favorites! It's a very interesting story. So, for those of you lost souls out there you should try reading this. Cat Street the book version of El Liston.
A must read
I was laughing and making little excited noises like a true otaku while I was reading this one xD. This manga is really a good shoujo which does not make you think you're losing your time on some stupid story. Art, characters, morals, everything is good and even people usually looking for josei (like me) can appreciate this read ! (actually, I think it's closer to josei than shoujo !)
... Last updated on May 19th, 2012, 1:47pm
When I first started reading this manga, I must admit I did get somewhat bored. However, as the manga progressed, I realized it was actually pretty good. The way that the author paired Kouichi and Keito together worked really well. Even though they were so different, they somehow worked perfectly with one another. There was just something very simple, and kind of sweet about this manga. I wouldn't read it again, but for a one time read it was actually pretty good.
Interesting and Moody!
The heroine for this manga, has been developing throughout the manga which is good! In the beginning, she's all boring, moody and expressionless and then during the climax, she's getting better and better. BUT I didn't expect her to end up with "that" person! So shocking and so happy! It's wonderful and unexpected indeed. Each character in the story is very well developed and they're so strong you just feel like you want to hug them. But sometimes, the heroine is waaaaay to naive. Overall, it's a good read!
I put this series off for about 2 years since I thought it was going to be a very moody/depressed-ish kind of manga. But it surprised me when I finally decided to start reading. It's not really hard to get into. And I was quite surprised by how good the pace of the story was. The characters were well planned out. I loved the main character's growth and how the author expressed the importance of true friends.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Kouichi and Keito:
So before reading Cat Street, i spoiled myself reading the spoilers on here. So I knew that they were going to end up with each other. When Kouichi's character was introduced, my reaction was "How is such a boring guy going to end up with the main character?" and "How is the author going to make the relationship interesting" mwuahahha. In the end however, it turned out pretty good.
The art was not that great, but clean and very nice after taking a little time to get used to.
Shoujo always betrays me
Sometimes I wonder: why do I still bother with shoujo? It's true that every once in a while I find something relatively good in the sea of garbage but it's been long, long years since I came across a masterpiece like Paradise Kiss. I doubt there are many great shoujo mangas still hiding from me but I still get my hopes up and end feeling betrayed.
From the start Cat Street reminded me of Mars. That's how I predicted that sooner or later I'm going to regret downloading it. I realized that I was right... around volume 4 if I remember correctly. Or maybe even earlier. Three volumes later I was blaming my own naivety for letting myself get cheated like this. The positive feelings I still remembered from a few hours earlier (when I started reading) were the only reason why I survived till the last page.
You see, don't get me wrong. This is much better than most shoujo and definitely not shallow. I liked it at first because I could relate to Keito's problems. I went through something similar when I was around her age. So on that level I could enjoy the story despite it being directed at an audience much younger and less mature than me. What I mean is that there is no genre farther from realism than shoujo but in this case I could deal with all the ridiculousness... until the author went overboard and Cat Street was no longer any different from all the other stories full of drama and pure nonsense.
I'm rating it quite high because I actually liked the characters. Especially Kouichi. They all had their worse moments when they were terribly annoying but not that bad. The art was also quite nice.
Unlike many countless shoujo mangas out there, this one has more depth. I like how the author portrayed "weird" people as cool and passionate about what they do. At first, I thought Cat Street was just another manga about how an ordinary girl made it big in show-biz, but it's really more than that.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Cat Street explored the themes of the importance of finding happiness, friendship, open-mindedness, self-acceptance, etc. @zozolols: there are people who are attracted to geeks over soccer players. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are both married. What can I say, geeks are hot nowadays! =)
I can identify with the characters in the manga because I used to be very "down in the dumps" and it took me years to lift myself out of the darkness. I highly recommend this manga to people who are tired of commonplace shoujo and want to try something better.