Wolf God, Vol. 1
By Ai Tenkawa
DMP/DokiDoki, 216 pp.
Rating: 13 +
After years of waiting I finally dip my toe into the shojo genre with the first volume of Wolf God from Ai Tenkawa. Young Kyounosuke Shirogami is a member of an Inugami clan, people bonded with wolf spirits/gods. With the clan’s head on deaths door Kyounosuke journeys to Tokyo in search of his brother, the next in line to lead the clan. Enter Koyuki, a young a young high school girl who’s floating about with no real direction to her life, something that gets her harassed by her family and teachers at school, not to mention her friends as well. When she sees Kyounosuke looking sickly, due to the pollution in Tokyo, her maternal instincts kick in and she quickly finds herself falling for the young, waif-ish, lost looking boy. This works out well for Kyounosuke as Koyuki and her brother actually know his elder sibling. Unfortunately, that’s also when the plot hits a brick wall.
The story is set up as a search of utmost importance and immediacy. Not only is clan’s leader on death’s door, but if Kyounosuke can’t locate his brother then he’ll be forced to take his place as the new Alpha, something he claims to want nothing to do with. Unfortunately this is contradicted once he meets Koyuki as, aside from some very minor and halfhearted attempts at continuing his search, Kyounosuke spends a good chunk of the story bedridden from his illness. Yes, he’s sick, but he puts up almost zero resistance to Koyuki’s pampering and her demands for him to stay put. He barely even looks unhappy about this, wearing the same vaguely lost and confused look he sports throughout the book. Thankfully things pick up a bit once Kanosuke, a member of the Tokyo branch family, is introduced and we see some rivalry play out between the two, but it distracts quite heavily from the search and it’s reason for being comes off feeling incredibly tenuous.
Ai Tenkawa’s artwork is clean and easy to follow. The eyes on the characters are wonderfully expressive, conveying emotions beautifully. The panel to panel flow to the story is pretty straight forward and there was rarely a confusing panel or sequence within the book. Sadly the art’s also really bland and average looking. None of the designs are terribly memorable. It’s all basic, contemporary clothing and several of the characters look alike, most notably Kyounosuke and Kanosuke. They could be twins if it wasn’t for the hair color and some clothing accessories. The art style itself falls firmly into the realm of the stereotypical “manga” style.
Wolf God was an ok read. I don’t think I was terribly enamored by any character or concept within it, but it wasn’t offensively bad either. While I’m not terribly well versed in shojo manga, this came off feeling like your typical, middle of the road series. Something that’s a flawed, but perfectly acceptable piece of entertainment.
Wolf God, Vol. 1 is available now. Digital review copy provided by the publisher.