Manga: Ookami no Kuchi: Wolfsmund
Wolfram: Whatever happens at this checkpoint shall be handled at this checkpoint. Such is my mission.Ookami no Kuchi: Wolfsmund
is a seinen
manga by Mitsuhisa Kuji, a former assistant of Kentaro Miura (famous for Berserk
Between Switzerland and Italy there is the St. Gotthard Pass. It is the 14th century and those who wish to flee the rule of the Habsburg Monarchy must go through this pass. However, it is not called "The Wolf's Maw" for no reason, as it is overseen by a cruel governor who follows the law with a steel fist. These are the tragedies of men and women who sought passage through Wolfsmund.
Note: Although clearly Shown Their Work
for its depiction of warfare and architecture, this manga is only loosely based on history. William Tell did not die crossing the border.
This manga provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Cedar to her daughter Juwel in chapter 6. She's not shy about beating her physically if Juwel angers her, and threatens to abandon her. Sadly, Cedar truly does love Juwel, but her self interest often wins out in the end, which ends up dooming Cedar anyways.
- Action Girl: Almost every woman involved in the war is a bonafide badass. Johanna and Hilde are both renowned warriors, with Hilde known as "The Ripper of Schwyz" for her prowess and merciless nature. Even the mistress of the inn can make a decent showing.
- Animal Motifs: Wolfram is often likened to a hungry wolf, and his shadow occasionally reflects a wolf.
- Annoying Arrows: Averted. Arrows, when they hit their mark are deadly as they should be.
- Anyone Can Die: It's usually a coin flip if the main character of a story will be breathing by the end after their encounter with Wolfram. Wolfam himself quite horrifically discovers that he does NOT have Joker Immunity.
- The Archer: Wilhelm Tell, and his son Walter.
- Armor Is Useless: Averted. Knights in full plate and maile have a tremendous advantage in survivability over regular soldiers.
- Badass Army: A side chapter details how a company of Swiss Mercenaries fought near to the death defending the pope, establishing the tradition that the Vatican would always be protected by Swiss soldiers.
- Bad Boss: The Hapsburgs in general. Though working for Wolfram can really suck. Delay telling him bad news, and you're likelygonna get defenestrated. Best case scenario, he'll force you to work in the freezing Alps until your death.
- Aside from being clever in designing defenses and traps for his castle, Wolfam is a rather uninspiring military commander, more interested in keeping himself alive than leading his men effectively.
- Big Bad: Wolfram is the most active villain in the story, as as the Bailiff of the Wolfsmund, he is the omnipresent threat of the story.
- Bigger Bad: Duke Leopold of the Hapsburgs. Though, he did not actively kill people himself and even orders Wolfram to keep the captives alive.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Wolfram. His superior as well.
- Book Ends: Volume 1 ends with the Innkeeper wishing to see Willhelm Tell once more. Volume 2 ends with Walter Tell saying he'll be seeing the Innkeeper soon. and both the ones they wish to see are dead by the time they say it.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Yeah, the Austrians just love doing this. Wolfram considers it a helpful tool and a delightful hobby.
- The Brute: Berchtold, Wolfram's chief enforcer. He's a brutish, hulking knight who prefers to beat his enemies to death.
- Cool Old Guy: William Tell is a very easygoing and charismatic fellow.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Or beheaded, hanged, racked or staked.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Happens every story. Heroes will often face nasty ends. Villains too with both Sir Berthold and Wolfram meeting very harsh deaths.
- Decoy Protagonist: Everyone with their name in the chapter titles is probably dead at their chapters' end. Grete, the innkeeper, is probably the best example of this, though. She lasts two volumes, however.
- The Determinator: William Tell's son, Walter absolutely refuses to give up.
- The Dragon: Wolfram to the Hapsburg Duke. For the Wolfsmund alone, the brutish Berchtold functions as Wolfram's Dragon.
- Evil Genius: Wolfram is absolutely brilliant and often has people figured out the second they arrive at his Checkpoint.
- Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Wolfram is nothing but sweetness and smiles, and most who don't know him mistake him for a kind man. It's a mask for the devious sadist he really is.
- Faux Affably Evil: Wolfram is unfailingly polite and genteel at all times, but he views everyone around him as a toy he can hurt.
- Fore Shadowing: Wolfram's first appearance should tell you he is not a good person.
- For the Evulz: Wolfram will kill and publicly display his prisoners even he is ordered to send them to his master. He even refers to the Wolfsmund as his little "Mountain Pass of Pleasure."
- Hero Antagonist: The manga of the trope. The people Wolfram kills are genuinely fighting for their homeland. Cue angry reviews from modern Swiss readers of the French translation. Although it's made pretty clear Wolfam is the bad guy pretty early on, and isn't serving any sense of patriotism, but rather his own sick sadism.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the first chapter no less it doesn't change the odds for his master.
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: "Oh, the only way through is that place called The Wolf's Maw. Have a nice time!"
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Wolfram finally dies by being impaled with a giant wooden spike that is hammered up his ass and through his body until it sticks out of his mouth. The depiction of it is as brutal as it sounds.
- It's Personal: Walter Tell's hatred of Wolfram boils over into a seething fury after Wolfram executes his mother and little brother just to draw Walter out.
- Fallen Princess: First Decoy Protagonist.
- For the Evulz: Wolfram's real motivation. He confesses to Hedgwig Tell in volume 3 his greatest kick in life is messing with people.
- Karmic Death: Wolfram has possibly the most horrific, vomit-inducing death in this series, and one could argue he deserved a hell of a lot worse.
- Kick the Dog: Every chapter has Wolfram doing something horrible to someone. Even worse as the first chapter presented him as a nice, reasonable fellow.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: After all he's done, it is damn hard to blame the Swiss for subjecting Wolfram to an absolutely stomach-churning execution.
- Kill the Cutie: See above.
- Leave No Survivors: The Swiss rebels are not particularly merciful to the Hapsburg soldiers after storming the castle.
- Mama Bear: Subverted. If Cedar had actually been one of these, Wolfram would have let them pass. As it is, while she was protective, she just wasn't protective enough.
- Manipulative Bastard: Wolfram
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "The Ripper of Schwyz". It does make an impression on Wolfram's soldiers.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Wolfram's....excesses drive the people to the point where rebellion is inevitable.
- Ninja: Johanna
- Oh, Crap: Wolfram has this HARD when he sees how he is going to be executed. This is the one time in the manga when he is actually terrified.
- Older Than They Look: Wolfram looks like he's in his early twenties, but looked the exact same about ten years prior, as shown in flashbacks.
- Papa Wolf: William Tell
- Sadist: All the gods above, Wolfram. He outright declares he's in it only for the fun involved and clearly delights in the atrocities he commits.
- Sadistic Choice: Wolfram is fond of forcing these on his victims. However, he inevitably rigs the games he sets up and confesses he simply enjoys fucking with people's heads.
- Slasher Smile: Wolfram flashes these very often.
- The Sociopath: Wolfram refers to the Wolfsmund as his 'little pass of pleasure.' He doesn't seem capable of empathy or care for other people.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Wolfram did more public executions and corpse displays than you can stand. He enjoys them.
- The Stoic: The Hapsburg Duke never betrays any emotion whatsoever.
- Villain Protagonist: Wolfram is the closest the story has to a main character, as every story features him. He is also a brilliant sadist who delights in harming anyone who crosses his path.
- Villainous Breakdown: When the Wolf's Maw is finally under siege and being brought down, Wolfram snaps enough to even throw one of his own soldiers out his window just for questioning him.
- Occurs again as Wolfram is taken to his execution he starts screaming and telling the rebels that his Lord and God will punish them and that they will go to hell if they kill him.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The Swiss in real history drove the Holy Roman Empire out through open warfare sometime earlier than the timeframe of the manga.
- And William Tell did not die like he does in this story.