With titles like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime and Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon, it’s safe to say that a hot trend in the isekai genre is humans being reborn in a new world as something other than human. The latest entry in the West is Yen Press’ Woof Woof Story: I Told You to Turn Me Into a Pampered Pooch, Not Fenrir!, which I’m here to check out today. Does it offer a tail-wagging tale? Let’s find out!
The story begins with the death of average Japanese salaryman Routa Okami, who, like many, has overworked himself. Routa’s dying wish is to be reborn as the pampered pet of a rich family, and when he awakens in the body of a puppy being picked out by the daughter of a wealthy household, it appears his prayers have been answered. However, not all is as it seems as Routa grows exceptionally big and turns out to be a wolf! And not just any wolf. It appears that Routa is the king of all wolves, Fenrir! With his relaxed lifestyle at risk of ending, Routa must now desperately hide the fact he’s anything but an ordinary dog!
Although almost everyone in Routa’s new home is oblivious to his status as a wolf, the adventurer charged with the home’s protection, Zenobia, has his secret figured out and routinely tries to kill him. Thankfully her attempts always end with her swords crumbling to pieces before she can lay a hand on our pampered pooch, so his life is safe for now. As the story continues, Routa’s biggest concerns usually involve running out of food, harm befalling his owner Mary, or being dragged into mischief by the resident witch, Hecate. It’s a peaceful and comfortable existence for sure.
Coming in at just 170 pages, Woof Woof Story is a quick read, not unlike I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Year and Maxed Out My Level. Although there are twists and turns, what Woof Woof Story boils down to is a relaxing account of a protagonist quietly living out his daily life. With no demon lord to smite or world to save, the enjoyment of this book rests with its cast.
Author Inumajin has crafted a likable cast to see us through the story. Routa had a hard life in Japan, so it’s understandable that he’d wish for a more pampered existence upon reincarnation. He may be lazy but he has an upright personality and won’t let any harm come to those he loves. While the rest of the cast rotate in and out from chapter to chapter (of which there are seven, not including a special extra chapter at the end of this volume), they all get their chance to win your heart. For her part, Routa’s owner, Mary, is sensitive and very much in love with her pet. As for Zenobia, while she’s a bit of a crybaby (not dissimilar to Chastille in An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride) I grew fond of her by the end of the volume.
That said, while the characters are likable I’m not sure that any of them do anything to break out of their archetypes – which is likely my only real criticism with Woof Woof Story. It doesn’t do anything that I disliked, but it doesn’t push the boundaries of the genre either. The world Routa has been reincarnated into is a fairly standard one. Described as vaguely European and filled with magic and monsters, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before – just like the book’s cast. That doesn’t necessarily make the book a bad read but these predictable elements hold it back from being great to just being enjoyable. It’s certainly one for fans of the genre rather than being a must-have.
The illustrations for this volume have been handled by Kochimo and also speak to the story’s European theme, with greatly detailed and colourful dresses and armour covering our cast. Kochimo does a good job at depicting Routa’s giant wolf size too, which is easily forgotten sometimes when just reading the text.
This first volume comes to the UK thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Jennifer O’Donnell, a translation which reads well. Having said that, I did get vaguely tired of reading ‘arww arww’, ‘arf’, etc. and then a translation of what Routa was saying in brackets afterwards. Although this is more likely a problem with the original author’s style of writing rather than the translation.
Overall, the first volume of Woof Woof Story: I Told You to Turn Me Into a Pampered Pooch, not Fenrir! is a fun endeavour in the isekai genre. It’s not offering anything new but if you’re fond of canines and fantasy adventures, this might be an enjoyable read. I’m certainly on board to see more of Routa’s pampered lifestyle.