Title: 食べないの？おおかみさん。 (Why don’t you eat me, my dear wolf?)
Author: Koishikawa Ao
Release Date: June 24, 2020
Publisher: Gentosha Comics (Birz Comics Rutile Collection)
If you are looking for a fairly light but relaxing read, this fairy tale-like manga is a good one to try out. Looking at the cover, you see a wolf and a boy dressed in a red-hooded coat eating a red apple and it reminds you of your classic fairy tales. It’s more of an original fairy tale that mixes in Asian and European characteristics. The story takes place in the forest so there are lots of animals (including unicorns), mermaids and spirits or faeries, but the name of the boy that the story revolves around is Taro, a typical Japanese boy’s name.
The story is about a young boy who is a sacrifice to the wolf beast in the forest, but instead of eating him there, “Wol” takes good care of him and ends up raising him. He says he is doing it so he can enjoy eating him later but he teaches him manners, how to read and write, singing and dancing, and is overly protective of him.
If Taro is in the forest and encounters any dangers at all, Wol will come running to save him immediately. He is always on the lookout for him, pampering him and doing what is best for him. These scenes are very enjoyable to read as Wol looks really desperate to make sure he has the best upbringing, even with his skincare routine. Wol even started wearing shirts so that he doesn’t scare Taro with his furriness and wears a bow at the back of his head that Taro tied on. (Speaking of shirt, Wol’s shirt is always too small and looks like the buttons are going to rip off). It’s funny to see in the beginning after Wol takes in Taro that he even starts sewing clothes for him. In fact, Taro is living a better life with Wol than with his real parents who gave him up easily to become a sacrifice so they would have one less mouth to feed. In the care of Wol, Taro becomes a really kind boy who loves Wol and gets along with nature and animals. The two “tanuki” (raccoon dogs) that accompany Taro everywhere are really cute.
The plot itself is very simple, but as it goes along a lot of time has passed and it becomes time for Taro to be given back to humanity. But the end is a happy ending. I especially like the scene near the end where Wol is trying to get Taro to leave the forest away from him and tells him things he doesn’t really mean. He says things like, “I never did love you… You are always a nuisance… Although I have been bringing you up, you are still skinny and not tasty looking… Get out and never come into my territory…” Of course he says this with lots of tears rolling down his face.
And I should also note that Wol can take human form as well. He does not do so in front of Taro, for a reason you will have to read the manga to learn as it ties in to the end.
If you are looking for something with explicit scenes, this is not a manga for you. However, it is a lovely read for when you want to feel at ease. The manga leaves you with a warm feeling and makes you want to comb Wol’s fur like Taro enjoys doing.
Cover image from Amazon Japan.