Monday, May 31, 2021

REVIEW: Woof Woof Story: I Told You to Turn Me Into a Pampered Pooch, Not Fenrir!, Vol. 1 (book) by Inumajin, illustrated by Kochimo, translated by Jennifer O'Donnell

Woof Woof Story: I Told You to Turn Me Into a Pampered Pooch, Not Fenrir! is yet another fantasy isekai series, this time with comedic elements. It's licensed by Yen Press under their Yen On imprint. I bought my copy brand new.


Routa is a 29-year-old corporate employee who's been awake and working overtime who knows how long when his body suddenly gives out and he dies. His coworkers either don't notice or don't care. His last wish is to be reborn as the cute pet dog of some wealthy family, able to spend all his time eating and sleeping and never again having to worry about work.

His wish is granted, sort of. When he wakes up, he discovers he's now at a pet store in another world, in the body of a fluffy white puppy. Mary, a cute 14-year-old girl from a wealthy family, adores him instantly and decides to take him home with her. However, Routa gradually realizes that he's a little abnormal for a supposed dog. He's becoming really big, for one thing, and his face is very fierce. He has to concentrate on barking normally rather than growling like some kind of wild beast. Even worse, he seems to have terrifying destructive powers.

If he wants to keep his pampered pet life, Routa somehow has to keep Mary safe while preventing those around him from realizing that he's not just a very large but otherwise perfectly ordinary fluffy white dog.

I go into most light novel series hoping that they will be fun, if not necessarily well-written. I've found a few light novels that work for me in this respect, although sometimes only for a couple volumes before their problems outweigh their appeal factors: Ascendance of a Bookworm, The Saint's Magic Power is Omnipotent, So I'm a Spider, So What?, etc. Woof Woof Story certainly seemed light and fluffy, but would it be readable and appealing enough to prompt me to continue on to Volume 2?

Woof Woof Story was the literary equivalent of cotton candy: sweet, fluffy, insubstantial, and too much of it at once would probably make you sick. I could definitely believe in and root for Routa's desire to live a carefree and stress-free life in which he didn't have to do anything besides sleep, eat, and play with Mary. His love of eating meant there were food descriptions galore, usually featuring meat, cheese, desserts, or some combination of all three (be prepared to see the word umami a lot). It was all very nice (even if it did make me hungry for pie and other things not present in my kitchen), but maybe just a bit too fluffy and light.

The writing reminded me so much of So I'm a Spider, So What? at times that I stopped to check whether they had the same translators (I already knew they weren't by the same author). Nope, Jenny McKeon translated that series, while Jennifer O'Donnell translated this one. Still, they had the same conversational and energetic tone, the same focus on eating, and the protagonists had similar "voices." However, So I'm a Spider, So What? was a little more ambitious, working in a more serious larger storyline and something that may have been foreshadowing. There's no sign of anything like that in Woof Woof Story, at least not by the end of Volume 1.

Routa directly protects Mary's home once, engages in a second fight for food-related reasons, and then goes on a brief journey and takes part in another fight to get an item Mary needs. Any villainous beings are defeated in seconds, and every other character is basically a giant marshmallow, even if it initially seems like they might be a threat. Animal lovers rejoice, as Routa's party grows to include more enormous fluffy wolves, a fluffy red cat, and a blue mouse. The one human being who can see through Routa's "I'm just an ordinary dog" ruse is supposedly a powerful adventurer but acts like a crybaby most of the time.

Although I had issues with So I'm a Spider's more serious storyline, it at least provided an opportunity for forward progression. Woof Woof Story's overall lightness was appealing, but now that I've finished the first volume, I'm not sure there's much of a reason to continue on unless I'm in the mood for more of the same - completely stress-free fluff with not a single moment that feels truly dangerous for any of the characters.

The series did indulge in a bit of fanservice aimed at male readers, some of which made me a little uncomfortable. First, there was Routa's initial mention of 14-year-old Mary standing around in her underwear while figuring out to wear. It only happened once, but the wording was still kind of gross:

"The sight of her standing there in just her underwear is a little risque, but since I'm a dog, I don't care. Well, my soul is human, so I would be lying if I said I was completely unfazed. But even I wouldn't lay a paw on such a beauty. I'm a firm believer in 'look but don't touch.'" (12)

Again, Mary is 14. Routa was 29 when he was a human, and he is now a giant wolf. Why was this moment even necessary? Then there was a scene later on in which Hecate, a sexy elf witch and one of the few characters aware that Routa wasn't what he seemed, poured wine on her arm for Routa to lick off. Routa got a little too into it for my comfort level, and it didn't feel entirely innocent on Hecate's end either.

All in all, a very light and quick read, but lacking in anything that might really encourage me to continue on with the series.


Four full-color illustrations (the cover image, character illustrations for Zenobia, Routa, Mary, and Hecate, the group bathing scene, and Zenobia and Routa's battle against the dragon), black and white illustrations throughout, and a 2-page afterword by the author.

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