By Yoko Nogiri | Published by Kodansha Comics
After making a social blunder at school that results in being shunned by her female classmates, Komugi Kusunoki is glad of the chance to start over in Hokkaido when the demands of her mother’s job mean Komugi will need to live with her father instead. At Maruyama High School, she quickly befriends a couple of nice girls (Kana and Keiko) and learns about the small clique of hotties over whom many girls swoon but who keep to themselves. One day, she surprises one of the boys (Yu Ogami) while he is napping and he turns into a wolf who promptly boops her on the nose.
Adorable as that was, he was actually trying to erase her memory of the incident. When repeated attempts to hypnotize her fail, she promises to keep their secret and thus becomes the first person to surmount the wall the boys have erected around themselves. It turns out they’re animal ayakashi who have learned to transform and who live in the human world for its entertainment. In addition to Ogami, the next most prominent character is Rin Fushimi the fox, though there’s also a troublemaking tanuki boy and an aloof cat boy.
As Komugi gets to know them better, she learns that Ogami is half human and was abandoned in the woods by his human mother. Although he doesn’t hate humans as Fushimi claims to do, and is in fact kind and sweet, he’s still determined that he is going to be the last of his line and that he won’t fall in love with anyone, which is a problem because it doesn’t take long for Komugi to fall for him. Meanwhile, Fushimi witnesses this happening and tries to spare her hurt, and when she’s later trying to acclimate to just being friends with Ogami, he’s the one who’s there for her to talk to, sparking some jealous feelings on Ogami’s part.
Whenever something claims to be “perfect for fans of _______,” I am dubious. Just because a book features a petite blonde who fights demons doesn’t mean that it resembles Buffy the Vampire Slayer in any truly meaningful way. So, when a back cover blurb claimed that That Wolf-boy Is Mine! is perfect for fans of Fruits Basket, I uncharitably thought that they must mean it’s because hot guys transform into animals.
Now, it’s certainly true that hot guys do transform into animals, but the real emphasis here is on someone finding out a secret, proving themselves trustworthy, and helping damaged boys presumably learn to accept themselves. Nogiri-sensei has also done a great job in developing the three lead characters—I especially like level-headed Komugi and wary Fushimi—and it’s been a very long time since I’ve found a love triangle as compelling as this one. Any doubts I had about this series have been firmly dispelled, and I’m not only eagerly looking forward to volume three, I’m also bummed that the series is only four volumes long.
That Wolf-Boy Is Mine! is complete in four volumes. Two volumes have been released in English so far.