In the last volume of Woof Woof Story: I Told You to Turn Me Into a Pampered Pooch, Not Fenrir! we saw salaryman Routa reborn as Fenrir, the king of wolves. However, Routa wants to keep this secret to himself and maintains the stance that he’s a completely ordinary dog. Now, we reunite with a 2-month-old Routa in the second volume of Woof Woof Story, to find out if he can continue keeping his true identity secret.
The story begins with Papa Gandolf declaring that the family is going on a trip to the Royal Capital. Gandolf’s going there for work but, seeing the opportunity for a vacation, he decides to take Routa, Zenobia and Mary along with him. Accompanied by the dragon Len (in mouse form), the witch Hecata, and her familiar Nahura, this trip gives everyone the chance to take a break from their busy everyday lives. It also gives Routa the opportunity to finally obtain something he’s been wishing for – a collar of his own.
However, trouble seems to follow our poor protagonist and it’s not long before he and Mary end up separated from their companions in the Royal Capital. While attempting to regroup with the others, they come across a mysterious dragon-riding girl who declares she wants to make Routa hers! Routa can think of nothing worse than belonging to this girl and just wants to live out his days with Mary, but will he be able to escape the newcomer’s clutches?
This volume of Woof Woof Story is filled with action, adventure, and mishaps, but a lot of it falls flat for me. I’m not sure if it’s because I couldn’t connect with Routa and Mary this time or if I just don’t see the point of the story anymore. I’m a dog person, so I should love reading about Routa’s life, but I just… don’t.
Perhaps the issue is the fact that none of the characters have particularly interesting personalities. Routa’s your average protagonist, who just wishes for an easy life. Mary’s kind and gentle, but doesn’t have any real depth otherwise. The character that I liked most from Volume 1, Zenobia, is hardly in this instalment, which is a shame as she has both an interesting backstory and entertaining personality. In my last review I called the cast lovable and I think in the first volume they were, but this time we really needed some kind of meaningful development for Routa and Mary. Routa especially feels like he needs to be caught out for his ‘wolf pretending to be dog act’ soon, and although that almost happens in this book, it gets brushed away fairly quickly. I suppose that’s the point of the story but it’s just not that fun.
Fluffy slice-of-life antics are all well and good for a single volume but I was hoping Volume 2 was going to balance things a little better. The stories being told (both the visit to the Royal Capital and a ‘swimsuit’ chapter) aren’t all that original, so their charm quickly wears thin. There are so many other series like this on the market, such as I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Welcome to Japan Ms. Elf, that somewhat sloppy and underbaked storytelling just won’t cut it.
If you’re a big fan of the first volume and don’t mind the characters staying as they were, this entry certainly doesn’t do much wrong. If the third volume improves overall, this weaker book could perhaps be overlooked but depending on how invested you are, it might not matter either way.
This volume of Woof Woof Story has been once again published by Yen Press and continues to be translated by Jennifer O’Donnell. The translation reads well and is problem-free. Having said that, when it comes to dialogue the charm of having ‘arf, woof, squeak, meow’ etc. before any of the various animals’ speech is beginning to wear thin (especially in scenes where human characters aren’t even present) but that’s a problem with the writing itself rather than the translation. It was fun to start with when we only had Routa but with the inclusion of two more animal companions it’s just a step too far.
Overall, the second volume of Woof Woof Story is plagued with issues. Fans of the first volume will still find plenty to like about Routa’s adventures but those of you who were on the fence originally are likely to drop the series here – and I wouldn’t blame you. In this crowded market, there are much better light novels available.