Tuesday, August 18, 2015

YALSA top ten GNs 2015: Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki

Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki
Original Story by Mamoru Hosoda. Art by Yu.
Published by Yen Press (2014)

Hana is a college student who falls in love with a mysterious guy in one of her classes. Turns out he's a werewolf. So she has werewolf babies with him, then he dies, so she moves to the middle of nowhere to raise her werewolf kids. Boring stuff happens, I don't care.

(Perhaps the most interesting thing about this comic being on the list is that its an adaptation of an anime. How many adaptations usually make it onto "best of" lists? I don't think there have been any on the YALSA GN lists before, though I could be wrong.)

I'm not a romance fan, I'm not a fan of rural stories, and I'm not a fan of of stories about children, so this book already had multiple strikes against it. Now, that's not to say that I can't read and enjoy stories that fulfill those criteria. Scott Pilgrim is a romance. Yotsuba&! is about children. Both of those are incredibly great! (I'm sure there's some rural thing I enjoy, but I can't think of it right now.)

There was a grand total of one scene in this comic that I enjoyed. It featured a bunch of girls talking about flowers and other things they found, then the werewolf girl is like "look what I found!" and brandishes a snake. Pretty funny. The same joke is repeated, to diminishing returns, on the next page, except she has a box full of animal skeletons. Great! Except the reaction from the other kids is enough to make the werewolf girl decide to change who she is, and become considerably more introverted. Later she's harassed and physically assaulted by a boy, she hurts him while trying to get away, and blames herself forever, and later there is elementary school romance between them. Dude really just needed to learn to leave people alone who say "leave me alone".

So, what does this story teach you? Don't tell anyone about your past, lie to everyone in your family, lie to everyone outside of your family, don't go to school, change who you are to please other people, no means yes, be a total dick to your mom who loves and cares about you.

Was there anything about this that I enjoyed? Well, it was a quick read, so didn't take that long, and I borrowed it from the library, so I didn't spend any money on it. Oh, and the way sound effects were dealt with was good: the Japanese sound effect was left unedited, and in a small font size it was transliterated into the Roman alphabet and translated into English. Everything else I hated, and if it hadn't been a library book I probably would have thrown it across the room. However, I am clearly in the minority, as the vast number of reviews online seem to have loved it. I honestly can't really understand that, but I guess I'm just clearly not the target audience for this book.

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