Title: Wolf & Parchment Vol. 1
Author: Isuna Hasekura
Release Date: December 15, 2020
Publisher: Yen Press
Wolf & Parchment light novels have been readily available in the west for quite some time, so it was only a matter of time before the manga adaptation would come to be. I was interested in the release of Wolf & Parchment Vol. 1 manga only because of how text-heavy this series is. In short, the characters are very chatty, which doesn’t always flow within manga panels. However, I think author Isuna Hasekura and illustrator Hidori did a wonderful job giving fans more from this world through a different medium.
Wolf & Parchment Vol. 1 begins as Tote Col leaves the bathhouse to begin the “Our Book of God” mission, which would have him translating sacred scriptures into the common tongue so normal people can read them. Up until now, religion has rules over the people since only priests can read the text. It seems the church has become power-hungry over the years, installing taxes on rivers and ultimately making rules that benefit only them.
These themes are weighty, and the narrative isn’t shy about walking you through the entire history of these issues and a bit of history surrounding the characters. The entire first chapter is basically Tote and a boat master talking about the church’s power and how something needs to be done. It’s around this time that the adorable Myuri appears and forces herself into Tote’s quest.
Aside from the translation mission, Tote needs to be careful not to bring too many eyes onto his plans. Myuri definitely doesn’t like the idea of any of it and seems to feel Tote is being used. There are some gripping moments between the two of them, where Myuri questions why she must hide her features. This stems from Tote making her wear boys’ clothes, which she is affected by because she’s now hiding her demon-like ears and tail along with her sexuality. It’s crucial to sell these moments because of how important they are to the tone.
Unlink the light novel; we can really get a sense of the adventure that these characters have in front of them. The illustrator really sold the architecture of the cityscape as these two characters discovered things together. We are subtly learning about the world through the eyes of Myuri, but we learn things from each of them that really benefit the pacing of the visual novel.
I think the only thing I didn’t like was how anticlimactic the ending was. I wish I were left on some discovery about Tote’s missions, but we only get the sense that the power struggle extends further than he might think.
Wolf & Parchment Vol. 1 does an excellent job explaining the nuances and history of this world and its religion without coming off as too wordy or boring. The inclusion of Myuri definitely helps push these scenes along, but I felt well informed and interested in how Tote will accomplish such a huge task. Religion is not a theme I generally find myself interested in, but this volume lays out a great foundation to see Tote and Myuri’s quest through until the end.
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