(CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS)
Rather than ponder over which line to open this review with, I’ve just decided to use them both:
1. I read this for the romance
That’s right, you read #1 correctly—and yes, I know me saying that is close to the border of someone saying “I watch porn for the story.” I started Wolf Guy for the werewolves and stayed for the romance between Inugami and Aoshika. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good romance and I loved the way their relationship was drawn out by the mangaka. It’s not often that I come across a non-shoujo in which I enjoy the love story between two characters (and in which the manga is actually labeled as “romance” without all the harems, reverse-harems, ecchi, and smut tags), so I stayed to see how their relationship would progress through this huge, heaping pile of blood, guts, limbs, and psychological warfare. And yes, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into by starting Wolf Guy.
I mean, have you seen the art? Just that is enough to indicate what sort of atmosphere this story will hold: dark, twisted, bleak, and you’ll have to look hard for even the smallest indication of something related to the word “hope”. The facial expressions, especially those of Haguro—the shit-crazed antagonist—stay in your head even after you’ve reached the next chapter. And the shading again, leaves you reading in a hopeless atmosphere for the MC, Inugami. The art for this manga is AH-MAE-ZING, and even the over-exaggeration of facial expressions or body language can’t be denied as adding more to—rather than taking away from—the story.
Regarding the characters, Inugami is indeed, a truly unfortunate MC. Even if he just wants to live his life normally, he attracts trouble regardless—probably has something to do with him being the last werewolf in Japan. Aoshika, Inugami’s homeroom teacher, worries for Inugami even if he tries to distance himself from her. She may seem like a typical positive woman, but her attitude was refreshing in this dark-ridden story. However, because she continues to involve herself with him, even she is met to face the same troubles he does and she’s soon involved in his conflicts.
Most specifically with one character in particular, Haguro, the antagonist of the story. And this dude is bat-shit crazy. Readers can just shrug him off as an extreme evil villain, but that’s exactly what he is. In simple terms, he’s a prideful human—a man who takes pride in his human race. But werewolves are stronger, better than humans, and he therefore takes it into his own hands to hunt and kill the creatures who see humanity as inferior to their own race. Yeah, he’s crazy.
By the way, did I mention these kids are in junior high? Third year junior high to be exact, but when reading manga and becoming immersed in its universe, I can excuse such details. Besides, that’s the least of your worries when reading this manga.
Violence, sexual content, psychological warfare, rape, rape, RAPE! And here’s where the manga leaves you completely dirty and utterly empty (and where the score was lowered). There’s rape in this manga, and it’s no surprise to who. A woman as beautiful and voluptuous as Aoshika is bound to meet an ill fate in this type of manga. But when the mangaka “parades” this gang rape act on Aoshika throughout multiple chapters, it’s just…well…wrong.
There could be multiple reasons for this several-chapters expansion of the act of raping a woman: 1. To add shock factor 2. To add a sense of realism (as I’m sure time goes by much slower for a rape victim) or 3. Some sort of sick fan service
Regardless of the reason for Aoshika’s rape, none of these justify it for me. I mean, I was left shocked from a MALE getting raped in this manga—and this indeed did happen and I was left confused and shocked for days. Even if it was only one PAGE compared to Aoshika’s +however many chapters of rape, it still left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I’m no feminist, but GAHD, does talking about this make me feel a little hollow on the inside. Seriously, can you imagine waiting for an update on this manga only to be met with a rape chapter over and over again?
I can continue to go on about how “Rape is bad. Rape is wrong,” but for the sake of this review, I’ll move on. Because I sincerely hope my manga/anime community at least hold some morals, even if the majority of us (including me, most of the time) just take in things as we see/read it without much thought and even if we have a thing called hentai where anything and everything can happen.
Now, moving onto my second review opening (refer to #2 at the beginning of this review), this concerns the ending. Never mind that I had to pull through the rape shit, but I had to suffer from the ending as well. Part of me expected it, and yet another part of me wanted it to end a different way—in a definitive way—and not exactly as a happily-ever after. Because really? Only an idiot or someone innocent (in which case, you’ve been forever tainted through this manga) would expect a happy ending to Wolf Guy.
Overall, this manga left me feeling empty. And caged in my room. And sobbing for days in the corner with absolutely no light to penetrate my dark, murky soul.
So here’s the question…will you enjoy this manga? Yes to the peeps who enjoy dark stories full of gore and psychological madness. No to my fellow shoujo maniacs and Kimi ni Todoke readers.
Did I enjoy it? No matter how much it left me bitter and empty, yes. Yes, I did. Only because I like darker stories, though this was borderline plain ridiculous from all the scenarios.
As for the romance—my original intent to reading and sticking with this manga to the bitter end—I cried for both Inugami and Aoshika. I really did.