Three Wolves Mountain
Author: Bohra Naono
Release Schedule: Oneshot
Publisher: SuBLime/Viz Media
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Price: Print $12.99, Digital $5.99 – Available Here
Yaoi lovers, and/or those looking to buy something for a yaoi lover, have a lot to pick from in terms of material. Some feature lots of romance and enjoyment material, while others focus on the relationship and save it for a treat at the end. Some even have multiple volumes as the story grows, and some are only a oneshot volume containing everything in that particular story. Three Wolves Mountain is a oneshot volume from author Bohra Naono, who has written more than 20 manga, with this one being the second with an English release. Does Three Wolves Mountain have what it takes to satisfy that sweet yaoi craving?
Three Wolves Mountain is the tale of two werewolf brothers, Jiro and Tarou, who go out into the world to learn to live on their own, and instead end up living with cafe manager and graveyard protector Kaya Susugi, whom Jiro falls in love with. The volume itself is divided into four main chapters, each doing a good job of exploring more and more of the characters and the world in which they live. They also do a good job of leading into one another now that they are in one volume.
The first chapter is entirely focused on setting up the three main characters of the brothers and Kaya, while each of the later chapters explores more depth of the personalities and grows the relationship between Jiro and Kaya. The second chapter focuses more on exploring the past of Kaya, while the past of the brothers waits until the third chapter, with the final chapter being mostly a final trial for Kaya and Jiro. As two of the main characters are werewolves, there is a number of supernatural elements in the volume throughout the different chapters and the rules aren’t simply stated for but introduced as they come up. Which is nice to see, as to avoid just hammered down the information for the readers in a poorer suited manner.
Each of the chapters is pretty well written, all with adequate climaxes and resolutions that aren’t overly forced or contrived, but focus on the characters really talking and working out their problems. And since we’re speaking of climaxes, there is one major romance scene in each chapter as well, providing plenty of material for readers to enjoy.
The manga is mainly centered around the three main characters of Jiro, Tarou, and Kaya, though mainly Jiro and Kaya, but in the later stories bigger secondary characters do have a big impact on the stories. The secondary characters are good in that they don’t exist simply to drive the plot, they feel they have a solid existence outside of the stories and the three main characters. Infact, besides Kaya, the character Aki has the biggest character evolution in the whole volume.
Jiro and Tarou as werewolves are fairly interesting, as Jiro walks around completely human and Tarou walks around entirely wolf for the vast majority of the time. When full moons roll around, each becomes more like the other aspect of the werewolf, but neither ever becomes what people most attribute werewolves to look like. However, other than being werewolves, the brothers are kind of flat. Jiro is more or less simply a child-like character and Tarou is mostly the protective older brother. It would have been nice to see more depth out of these two, but being a yaoi that might be asking a little to much in the character department.
Kaya evolves quite a bit throughout the manga, and the end of every chapter sees him changing a little more and becoming comfortable and happy with where his life has led. He’s probably the main character in the whole manga, though it isn’t necessarily centric on him alone. This is actually a good thing, even though being completely human is would seem to be the least interesting especially with the werewolves, but he is the most interesting character in the manga. As more and more is uncovered about him it gives Kaya a lot of depth moreover than anyone else.
The vast majority of the secondary characters are family to either Kaya or the brothers and as stated above they do seem to exist beyond just what we see of them in terms of the story. The relationship of the brothers’ parents is actually pretty interesting, though incredibly sparse, but at least shows that there is a lot more information there that readers can extrapolate for themselves.
The art of Three Wolves Mountain teeters between heavily shaded and lacking shade altogether. This is a really wonderful art that helps to convey the situations of the scenes. The more serious scenes feature the heavily shaded art and the lighter or romantic scenes tend towards the stark black and white, all the better to see them with. The art really works to fit the scenes, and with so much fur to be drawn its good to see that the author didn’t shy away from it.
Character designs are pretty interesting when it comes to the brothers as on the full moon Jiro simply has the ears and tail, while Tarou gets to be entirely human save for his head. This leads to some interesting reactions to the two by different characters and help to showcase how on the outside of the rest of society they are. The clothes for the other characters are pretty detailed as well, mostly avoiding the stylized, though there are a few of those such as what the brothers’ father wears looks pretty stylized. So, it’s kind of nice to see characters looking like more everyday people than in other manga.
In terms of the romance scenes, while nothing seems to be overly censored the vast majority of them avoid the more explicit details, focusing more on not necessarily implied, but less explicit forms of intimacy. It is still very much adult though, lots of sweat and other fluids, so be sure to keep it from the youths. There are plenty of the scenes as well, so readers shouldn’t worry about enjoying each too much as they reach them.
Three Wolves Mountain provides a lot of entertainment. The chapters all have interesting stories and each does feature a decently lengthed romance scene. While a few of the characters are a little flat, Kaya definitely makes up for it in complexity and there is plenty of content to be enjoyed, so lover’s of yaoi should be pretty satisfied. I give Three Wolves Mountain