By Hyougetsu and Nari Teshima. Released in Japan by SQEX Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Ningen.
This is a perfectly decent volume of Der Werwolf. There’s lots of politicking, and there’s a big fight against a danger to every country towards the end of it. Fans should be pleased. That said, when the author stated in the afterword that the 16th volume would be the final one, it was hard not to think “Thank God”. It’s gotten harder these days to end popular series, and Der Werwolf is a classic example. I enjoy the next generation, but it really isn’t doing much beyond the same things that the previous one did. Indeed, Friede gets less page time here than in the two prior books, and Veight once again takes center state. This is partly because Friede doesn’t travel to a new foreign country, but the foreign country comes to Friede. But it’s also because Friede is her dad, only with “bright-eyed young woman” added to it. Even other characters note that they’re the same. When you’re just writing the same things over and over again (much like this review), it’s probably time to call it quits.
Meraldia is visited by the crown prince of Kuwol, Shumar, who gets off to a very bad start with Friede due to cultural differences, but seems a pretty nice guy at heart. He’s unlikely to be added to Friede’s group of friends anytime soon, though. Veight, meanwhile, is starting to think of the future, specifically what will happen to the world after he and those of his generation pass on, so he’s trying to explain the differences between Monarchy and a Parliamentary Democracy to that next generation, with limited success. Unfortunately, disaster soon arrives in the form of a massive dragon, apparently powered by mana, which is slowly making its way out of the woods and towards the other countries. Parker is send to investigate… and is incinerated into bone dust. Can anything defeat it?
‘Dragon’ isn’t one of the fantasy creatures we’ve seen in Der Werwolf. The reason for that is that we already have reptilian humanoids, and they pretty much fit in that little block next to the werewolves and vampires. This, though, is not so much a dragon as a kaiju – instead of fire, it fires off laser beams from its mouth, which reminds me of several Gamera films. Given that it absorbs mana, most of the traditional ways this series fights things don’t work at all. One interesting thing that comes up is that the dragon needs to be stopped before it evolves into a Hero. We haven’t really dealt with Heroes since the very beginning of this series, and it’s worth remembering that, to Veight and the others, a Hero is the worst thing that could happen to the world. Fortunately, Veight is able to use the power of diplomacy plus the power of being a one-man fighting machine to help take the dragon down, helped in the end by his daughter.
I’m not sure what the final volume will give us – retirement? I highly doubt it ends years in the future with Veight’s death. Mostly as it’s hard to imagine him ever dying. But Vol. 16 is not out in Japan yet, so we’ll have to wait to find out.