Der Werwolf: The Annals of Veight, Vol. 14

By Hyougetsu and Nari Teshima. Released in Japan by SQEX Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Ningen.

A new publisher for Der Werwolf made fans of the series briefly panic, as we’ve seen manga titles cancelled in the past when they jumped from one publisher to another. Fortunately, after a brief delay, the series is back with its 14th volume. Nothing has really changed now that it’s with Square Enix – cast is the same, artist is the same, it has the same “the entire book is one long chapter” style to it. And it still stars Veight’s daughter, although (as the author admits in the afterword) the balance between her own adventures and that of her dad is struggling a bit. This is The Annals of Veight, not The Annals of Friede, and I think a lot of fans would rather we stuck with the vice-commander. That said, they may be disappointed – there’s some setup here for Airia retiring, which means she and Veight might do more traveling and leave governing in the hands of the future generation. As for Friede herself, well, she’s a lot like her dad, and that includes getting young women to fall in love with her.

After tearing up Rolmund in the last book, this time Friede and company are invited to Wa, partly as a goodwill visit but mostly so the leaders there can see what sort of person she is. Veight is fine with this, ready to give her more slack to do what she wants, and she heads out with her best friends/harem. While there she’s given a minder, Iori, a serious-minded teenage girl who at first regards Friede as soft and riding on her dad’s reputation, a first impression that changes very, very rapidly after seeing her fight and seeing her steamroll any possible obstacles with her cheerful, straightforward attitude. Heck, she even charms the local cat people Grimalkin so much that they reveal to her a secret dance that might reveals a hidden treasure…

I mentioned on Twitter that I was not expecting this book to be yuri, and I suppose it’s not TECHNICALLY yuri, but it is true that Iori falls for Friede so hard and fast that it might as well be, and most of the latter half of the book is made up of what should absolutely be scenes of flirting romance. She’s an orphan girl who has struggled to prove herself, and (like half the cast in this series, including its two leads) tends to put herself down constantly. That said, I think she’ll be a fun addition to the series, because she definitely invites herself to go back with Friede and the others at the end of the book. I also loved her and Friede discussing Veight’s habit of downplaying all his own achievements, which I’ve mocked him for since the series began – “I’m just a simple vice-commander”, etc. It’s called “toxic humility” here, and I could not agree more. That said, I doubt it will go away anytime soon.

I agree with the author, I’m not sure where the series goes from here, but be it Veight or Friede’s book, I’m looking forward to finding out.

Der Werwolf: The Annals of Veight, Vol. 13

By Hyougetsu and Nari Teshima. Released in Japan by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Ningen.

We continue the trend of the series gradually shifting from Veight’s adventures to Friede’s, though as long as the subtitle of the series remains the same I would not worry too much about losing everyone’s favorite vice-commander. (the best joke in this volume, by the way, is how everyone now wants to be a vice-commander because that’s what Veight was and they associate it with being all-powerful.) The narration here is closer to a balance between Friede and Veight, as is the action, though it’s weighted more towards Friede in the front. She’s something of a breath of fresh air in that, while she is undeniably strong and clever, she’s also a kid and thus cannot simply brute force her way through everything the way that Veight does. Indeed, late in the book Veight gets yelled at for solving a problem by blowing it up, even though, to be fair, that was likely the only way the problem could be solved. Friede is not super OP, so we are more interested in how she fixes things.

We pick up where we left off last time, with Friede, Shirin and Yuhette being sent to Rolmund as part of an ambassadorial visit, with the hopes that if it goes well it could lead to actual negotiations by adults in the future. What follows is essentially a continuation of the Rolmund arc from previous books, as it turns out that, unlike Meraldia, things are still very much in flux there politically. Eleora mostly has everything handled, but insurrections keep happening, and she cannot be everywhere. This is problematic when her niece, the heir (you know she’s not gonna get married, she’s one of the women who lost to Airia in the Veight sweepstakes) ends up kidnapped by one of the rival factions. Who’s going to be the one to find her? Will it be those whose job it is to do it? Or will it be our little girl protagonist? Take a guess.

I was amused at the niece/heir, Micha, who at first appears to be one of THOSE rich kids (you even see her pointing, always a sign in Japanese media that someone is rude) but quickly bonds with Friede, to the point where by the time the visit ends they’re best friends. Admittedly Friede also saves her life, which does help cement close friendships, or so I hear. As for Veight, he gets to do more on the back end of the book. Facing off against a sandworm is a scene for those who prefer the old, Veight is badass sort of story, but for me the highlight was the politics, including Veight opening up to his daughter about being a reincarnation. I too would miss easy to access potato chips if I were a werewolf in a fantasy kingdom. Not to mention paper curr3ency, which rears its ugly head as this book ends and will likely come up in Book 14.

Which we may or may not see soon. Square Enix has purchased the rights to Der Werwolf in Japan, so Vol. 14 and forward need to have J-Novel Club negotiate with a new publisher. Till then, fans of the series can enjoy this book which continues to very, very slowly pass the baton to its new heroine.

Der Werwolf: The Annals of Veight, Vol. 12

By Hyougetsu and Nari Teshima. Released in Japan by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Ningen.

It is a question often asked by authors, and even more often by publishers: when it the right time to end a series? It can depend very much on what kind of series it is, but for a series like Der Werwolf, the last volume certainly felt like an ending. Veight and Airia were together, she’d had their child, and he was busily uniting the entire kingdom and bringing a new era of peace to all. Medetashi, medetashi. Except frequently if you try to keep doing stories after “and everyone lived happily ever after”, it tends towards “until they died and here’s how”. Fortunately, Der Werwolf may be moving on to the Next generation, but it’s not quite ready to give up on Veight, or more accurately to give up on Veight being a living legend whose only fault is his absolutely crippling humility. Something that, fortunately, does not seem to have transferred over to his daughter, though she certainly seems to have inherited his ability to find trouble.

The book takes place, with many timeskips, around the first ten years of the life of Friede, Veight and Airia’s daughter. That said, most of it is still the usual setup for this series: Veight’s POV, and then an alternate POV from another character that expounds on Veight’s greatness. (I will assume that if this sort of thing bothers you,. you dropped the series ages ago.) Veight is filled with parental love and also Japanese ideas on how to raise children, which differ a bit from “give them to childcare people and see them once a year” that this world’s nobles tend to do. Friede is also not your typical child – while she can’t transform into a werewolf, she has all of Veight’s other abilities, enough mana to level a warship, and by the end of the book is learning swordfighting, martial arts, and diplomacy. Which may be needed, as she’s packed off to the Rolmund Empire at the end of the book, as Eleora wants to meet her.

Again, the biggest flaw in this book is is irrelevance: it’s After Stories, so if you wanted to drop the series neatly, doing so just before this book starts is a perfectly good response. That said, it doesn’t really do anything wrong, and gives us more of Veight being Alexander the Great as a wolf, only with more sense. He’s still resolving disputes, still occasionally being forced to fight 20-against-1 battles, and still insisting that he’s just a humble vice-commander. In addition, as much as Veight is hoping to usher in a time of peace, there are always going to be bad guys – someone in this book is kidnapping girls from other kingdoms and has them all holed up in a house in Meraldia… which Freide promptly finds in about two seconds, which bodes well for her. She’s a fun kid, who was raised thinking her dad was a normal goofy dad, and only now finding out that everyone reveres him. Which means she’s now in the “dad is so cool!” phase of her life.

So yes, if you really do like Der Werwolf, this is a fun read, and has a nice side story about Woroy trying to start his own city and realizing that the best way to do it is by inventing rollerball. Certainly the series was popular enough to be grabbed by a larger publisher… but we don’t have to worry about that till after Vol. 13.