“The Wolf is Coming!” manga volumes 1 – 4

28 11 2009

This is Laserwolf here once again to talk to you about manga.  I don’t speak German, but thanks to this manga, I learned the word verboten, and a few other random words.  If you read it in Japanese, you will find the furigana is often giving you German readings rather than English ones, so knowledge of German would probably be a plus and an incentive for you to get into this one.  But besides German, there are plenty of things to enjoy about this manga – such as the awesome ghoul-fighting action!

The Wolf is Coming!

Title(s): オオカミが来る!Ookami ga Kuru! (The Wolf is Coming!), 新約オオカミが来る!Shinyaku Ookami ga Kuru! (The Wolf is Coming! – New Testament).  Keep in mind there is no official English title that I know of, so this is my translation of the Japanese title.

Author/artist: Hanamaru Nanto

Genre: horror, monster, occult, supernatural, humor, romance

Number of volumes: 4 currently released, number of future volumes unknown.

Availability: Originally published in Japanese by Kadokawa Comics Dragon Jr under the name オオカミが来る!(The Wolf is Coming!).  After two volumes, it was re-released and continued (first two volumes’ content remained unchanged) by CR Comics Jive under the name 新約オオカミが来る!(The Wolf is Coming – New Testament).  No known licensed English version.

Summary:

This manga is set in Berlin, Germany.  There is a special organization called KIRCHE (church) which protects everyday people from the knowledge that ghosts, monsters, and all things paranormal exist.  There are two members of KIRCHE in a dingy little office in Berlin – Sirius, and his boss (just referred to as “boss”).  Sirius is the muscle (he’s a werewolf), and his boss is the brains behind the operation (while human, he possesses the ability to chant magic spells that increase the power behind Sirius’ attacks).

One night, Sirius is hunting ghouls in a castle, when he bumps into Beatrice, the granddaughter of a very wealthy and influential man.  When asked why she is in the castle in the first place, she says it is because she heard rumors about a vampire living there, and she wanted to see for herself.  Sirius then asks her if anyone has ever told her there was something wrong with her.  Since Beatrice is hardly the strongest girl in the world, Sirius is left with no choice but to protect her from all the ghouls in the castle, and the vampire that they eventually discover (even though there are supposedly only twelve vampires in the world, they have found a thirteenth).  The existence of this mysterious vampire (Fidelio) throws KIRCHE for a loop and becomes very important to the plot of the series.

As a result of this initial encounter, Beatrice becomes an unofficial member of their team (their “sponsor”), and accompanies them on various missions thereafter – some missions which involve bumping into Fidelio.  Sirius is not always thrilled to have her along, as he generally just wants to get down to business and take care of things himself without having to baby-sit someone (though he does appreciate her emotional support).  After being rescued countless times, Beatrice comes to realize that she is sick of being the helpless girl needing to be saved, and she begins to want to become stronger (volume 4).  Beatrice is always looking on the bright side of every situation and never willing to give up.  She wants to know what kind of work KIRCHE is doing, even if it gets her near-killed in the process.  And she does all this while wearing the frilliest dresses.  You can occasionally find her flirting with Sirius.

Sirius deals with various emotions as a werewolf that most people around him don’t understand.  There are times when he seems almost ashamed of it, and acts as if he wants to be human, while there are other times when he won’t stop bringing it up, as if he was quite proud of it.  He hardly ever changes into wolf form.  He leads a life of saving humans with the knowledge that few humans will ever be able to accept him as he really is.  Beatrice, however, seems to be able to accept this about Sirius from very early on, and he appreciates this about her.

The “boss”, while technically a main character, is not looked at in near the depth of the other two.  Sirius’ biggest complaint of the boss is that he smokes too many cigarettes and can’t keep up while running.  The boss is the main telephone operator at work, and always gives the same reply to people’s queries about unusual activity (the reply being that it is probably just a result of a lantern or some such thing nearby which occasionally resembles UFOs, etc).  Every time the boss catches Beatrice and Sirius being cute, he has a knowing smile.

Fidelio, after his first encounter, continues to pop in and out of the story to advance the plot and make thought-provoking statements to the characters.

My honest opinion:

I love this manga.  It has everything I really crave in a comic – fantastic art, humor, a little romance, and a lot of monster action.  It’s enjoyable to read each individual monster-fighting story, but I also enjoy the fact that there seems to be some mysterious stuff going on behind the scenes.  Great plot and great characters!  Only part that occasionally gets me down is the fact that I don’t speak any German, which means I end up having to use ridiculous things like internet translators to understand the German that shows up occasionally (though the German is usually not super-important, I’m curious enough to want to know).  Another part that is less than great is the fact that KIRCHE seems to use the same basic attacks on every enemy they encounter.  However, it seems as though they are realizing that some things are too powerful, and perhaps they will up their game soon.  The variety of monsters and ghosts so far has been interesting, and I hope they will continue to think outside of the box.

My rating: 4/5

Why will I continue reading it?  (Beware of spoilers!)

First, you should know that I can be pretty fangirly about things in this genre, which is my favorite.  That being said, I really enjoy the fact that Sirius is a werewolf main character.  The part about this that surprises me is that he spends almost zero time in wolf form in this manga.  It seems to me that he is still not really sure how he feels about himself and where he fits into the big picture.  He is a monster fighting monsters, living to protect humans from other creatures like himself, but never letting them know he is saving their lives.  Beatrice is good support for him, because she is able to accept him knowing his true form, while other humans are not always able to do this.  She wants him to remember that even though other people don’t know he has saved them, she knows, and she is thankful for it.  I really like the chemistry between Sirius and Beatrice.  They never come out and say that they like each other, but it is fairly obvious that something will happen between them.

Fidelio is a fairly mysterious character.  He never likes to give away too much information at once.  One thing I found interesting about Fidelio is that he knows that his existence as the thirteenth vampire is too much for the balance of power in the world, but he refuses to be the vampire that gets eliminated, and hopes to eliminate one of the others.  Fidelio’s statement that he refuses to accept a world that does not acknowledge his existence seemed to have a lot of influence on Sirius as he began to think about his role as a werewolf.

The most interesting thing of all to me about this plot is the fact that KIRCHE is actually being run by the vampires, who want the existence of all otherworldly things hidden from humans.  None of these vampires has so far appeared in the manga, but since Fidelio is after them, they will probably show up soon.

So, does it sound interesting enough?  I enjoyed volumes 3 and 4 even better than the first two (I found that they contained a lot more character development), so I look forward to reading more.

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