Title: Ookami Shounen
Author: MIZUKAMI Wataru
Kodansha Comics, 2010
The colorful cover drew me to this book, that and the fact that it has a boy with cute wolf ears! The title, Ookami Shounen (Wolf Boy), also drew me in. Ahh, but the big question I had was – Are those ears real? Or are they just symbolic for a boy who has a wolfish personality? Some books have lured me in with animal ears, only for me to discover there were no actual neko-mimi or inu-mimi or whatever. How disappointing! Yet that didn’t stop me from buying this book to find out 🙂 It’s worth noting that at the bookstore where I buy all the manga I talk about on this site, they keep all the books shrink-wrapped. Therefore, I can’t do what all you young hobotaku do and camp out in the manga aisle reading without paying 😛 (I swear, I can’t go into a Borders bookstore without tripping over teens camped out like hobos in the aisle, blocking all the books from view of people such of myself who might actually want to PURCHASE something… anyway, sorry about the tangent ranting, it’s a pet peeve of mine…). Okay, so this book is a one-shot story that fills the entire volume. The artwork is simple and cute, with large eyes, but not so large they look like they are devouring the face. And does this boy on the cover really have wold ears? Why YES, he does! And he has a tail, too!
The story begins with a flashback within a dream. In it, a young girl and boy find what they believe to be an injured dog. Concerned for the poor animal, they do their best (even though they are both about 7 years old) to try and nurse the creature back to health. The boy and girl are very cute, and do a good job. The girl, Hyori, is especially worried for the animal. She is a lonely girl because her parents passed away, and she wants the animal to become healthy and live. The boy, Touma-kun tells Hyori that when they grow up, she will become his bride, and not be lonely anymore. (awww).
Of course, this is just a dream. These events all happened many years ago, and now Hyori is a teenager. Her relationship with Touma-kun is not quite as cute as it used to be. Over the years, they drifted apart, and now, even though they live next-door to each other, they don’t talk much. They are more like awkward strangers. However, Hyori secretly likes Touma-kun, and vows to get over her nervousness and awkwardness around him. She is still planning how she will be able to talk to Touma-kun again, when she encounters yet another injured dog! Wow, it is like her flashback dream was actually a premonition of the future! Once again, Hyori feels bad for the poor creature, and takes it inside her house and feeds it. It’s a nice and tame animal, but it looks like it has been through a lot.
Considering the beast is pretty dirty and worse for wear, she decides to bathe it, too. Naturally, it isn’t until she is in the bathtub with it, that it transforms into the boy we see on the cover 🙂 Yes, this isn’t any normal dog Hyori’s dealing with here. His name is Reo, and he is the son of the local mountain god who watches over this community. In fact, it was his father who Hyori and Touma-kun nursed back to health all those years ago. For years, Reo heard the story of Hyori and Touma helping his father. Impressed by her actions, Reo decided to make Hyori his bride!
Wow, now that’s 2 guys who have vowed to make Hyori a bride! But who will she end up with? Reo is a very posessive, and funny guy. He looks like a normal boy, but his wolfy instincts will sometimes take over, and he will act without thinking. He can change back and forth from wolf form to boy form, but his tail has something to do with triggering the change. He can also hide his ears and tail if needed. This comes in handy when Touma-kun meets Reo when Reo and Hyo are in a rather embarrassing situation. (which prompts Hyori to claim Reo is really a distant cousin). Reo has other amazing abilities as well. But will all of this impress Hyori? She has a crush on Touma-kun, who seems to only see her as a childhood friend. What happened to his desire to make her his bride? Will the arrival of the clearly devoted Reo spark his childhood feelings for her? What happens when Reo shows up at school?!