Der Werwolf: the Annals of Veight, Vol. 3

By Hyougetsu and Nishi(E)da. Released in Japan by Earth Star Entertainment. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Ningen.

The author described this as being a “slow” volume, which is a bit of a stretch given that one third of the way in our heroes are fighting a kraken. The plot of this book is essentially “Veight goes around to the rest of the Southern Territories and convinces them to join forces”. One area has the aforementioned kraken that needs to be taken out. Another, a town made of labyrinths designed to trap enemies, is already being targeted by the villainous Senate, and Veight and company have to convince people that a) they’re not responsible for the assassination of the ruler, and b) stop all the assassins who are. Fortunately he has help from a number of old friends as well as a new character, Parker, who is… well, he’s Brook from One Piece. Though he can at least disguise himself as “not a skeleton”. The puns, unfortunately, are still there. That said, does Veight even need help?

Veight continues to be the best reason to read these books. We’re used to harem protagonists that are clueless about the girls who like them, but Der Werwolf has little to no romance as of yet, so with Veight it’s more “he is unaware of his nature”. It’s not clear if he’s doing this deliberately to avoid the issue or not, but Veight’s tendency to pick the most dangerous solution has been noticed by most of his subordinates, and they aren’t very happy. It’s especially funny when he chastises others for the exact same thing, and is somewhat amazed when called out on it. To be fair, Veight probably COULD take out everything that goes against him by himself. We see more of his ludicrous “I can use magic and am also a werwolf” combos here, and they’re enough to get an enemy army to run away in fear.

The rest of the characters are not as good as Veight, sadly. I’d mentioned Parker was Brook from One Piece, and am wondering if “undead skeleton + puns” is a thing in Japan. There’s also a viceroy who decides, to make himself stand out, to act flamboyantly gay, and all the little stereotypical tick boxes are checked there, but fortunately he only shows up near the end. And we also get a glimpse of the Senate, which seems evenly divided between “evil” and “stupid AND evil”. Probably the best new character was Shatina, the daughter of the murdered viceroy, who starts off as a terrified teenager but, by the end of the book, has to be talked down from turning her city into a tool to get monstrous revenge on all those who have wronged her. The author would seem to agree, as the short story after the main book has her and Firnir, the centaur girl, bonding as they explore the underground labyrinth below Shatina’s own labyrinth of a city.

Der Werwolf’s most impressive feature continues to be its readability – you never get bogged down in prose the way you do in so many other light novels. I look forward to seeing more of Veight being ridiculously overpowered and totally unaware of it.

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