That Wolf-Boy Is Mine!
If you like the idea of a girl helping out a family of shape-shifters, but you aren’t interested in committing to the length of Fruits Basket, then That Wolf-Boy Is Mine! is the manga series for you. In only four volumes, Komugi discovers the secret of the school heartthrobs and shows them a new way to co-exist with humans.
Komugi has moved to the country from Tokyo. Her mother has been sent away on business, so she’s going to live with her father. (She hasn’t seen him for eight years, since the divorce. You’d think this would be fruitful ground for character work and dramatic incidents, but he plays surprisingly little role in this series, other than a couple of scenes relating to his udon restaurant.)
She sits next to Yu, one of the four good-looking “idols” of their class. She’s leery of getting involved with anyone popular after a hazing incident ruined her friendships at her previous school, but he keeps telling her how good she smells.
A random encounter reveals to her his secret: he can transform into a wolf. His three friends are a fox, a tanuki (raccoon dog), and a cat. They’re going to school and living as humans because they love video games, TV, manga, and junk food.
As the series progresses, we find out about their sensei (a transforming crow who taught them shape-shifting), a somewhat menacing figure who demands loyalty and secrecy. He’s got the ability to hypnotize humans to ignore or forget them. There’s drama in Yu’s past, as we discover his heritage as half-wolf, half-human, and abandonment. We also see that favorite manga plotline, how characters met as children but forgot the encounter until it becomes significant, as well as a class sports meet and a potential love rival among the group of boys.
This is primarily a romance, as love is able to overcome historical pain and distrust. With so many elements with potential for development — I wanted to see more about how the boys got used to being human, for example — I was surprised so much time was spent on “does he like me? can we be friends if I like him? how can I talk to him if I like him but he doesn’t return my feelings?” I guess that’s what fundamentally of interest to the teen audience.
The short length of That Wolf-Boy Is Mine! was just right for a rainy afternoon escapist read. Although much of the content was familiar, it was done well enough to keep my attention, although I won’t remember it for much longer.