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From Enterbrain: The tale of William Tell has never been rendered this beautifully as in Mitsuhisa Kuji's stunning debut work Wolfsmund, where a fortified barrier-station torments the Swiss Alliance murdering all who stand against it, until William and his son attempt to defy it. A fascinating reimagining of a European legend, Wolfsmund is a retelling of the William Tell legend with a focus on an actual landmark in the Uri district of Switzerland, the Devil's Bridge at St. Gotthard Pass. Filled with action, politics and drama it has all the makings of The Game of Thrones, including its share of bloodbaths, but told through a historical fiction perspective.
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A 180º turn
My first review of this manga was very unfavorable because I felt displeased by the huge amount of graphic violence and I quit after a few chapters. Much time later I decided to give it another chance and then I realized that it is actually a good manga. Violence in medieval times is famous and even today we can see the same things still around: torture, executions and gruesome war. This manga tells no lies, I can say even that it is "soft" to a certain degree because it does not show rape. We see many women being executed and none of those were raped, that was not consistent with the practice back then, my wife that is a History PhD pointed me that. The historical background is pretty accurate, the Swiss national liberation war and the visual reconstitution of the epoch is also good, albeit too clean and beautiful. The people back then were dirty, sick and ugly in average. It is a good reading, albeit not for all tastes.
... Last updated on September 14th, 2016, 10:28pm
The main character is the Wolf's Mouth, the gate is the main point of the story, who passes and who does not. Wolfgang is doing his job, he does not need to be some deep character or not, he chooses who will pass and who will not, and the rebellion will stop this.
It is not a character focused story, it is a location focused story, just like a city, who does not have a main character but still evolves
Okay, who's the damn MC?
This premise of the story is pretty cool; true to the spirit of Dark Ages. Lots of grisly scene with plenty of characters dying left and right, but once you reach volume 6, you will questioned who is the man character?
The plotline is about a revolution or independence... I'm not really sure since it's boring to read about such things. Story is about the characters, not a large scale war! The moment the prominent character who was in every single chapter died... quiet gruesomely if I might say, I just lost interest in the story since even if he's a bastard, I really hoped there was more depth to what he do - but nope, he just go out like a bad guy... no twist whatsoever.
Still is giving 8 for the fun I have reading through it. It's great stuff, but should really ended with the antagonist's death. I just don't like anyone else in the story beside him - really.
Not Worth Your Time
I started reading Wolfsmund because it got a lot of comparisons to Berserk, and I love Berserk. What I got was nothing like Berserk.
The only similarity between the two is that people die a lot.
Wolfsmund is presented in an episodic format; the only recurring characters are the checkpoint's warden (who I call Mr. Smiley, and is apparently designed to be as infuriating as possible) and a mysterious female innkeeper with a dark past. The chapters all have the same basic premise: Two characters try to cross the checkpoint and die.
Every chapter (or series of chapters), you're introduced to two characters, one or both of whom are going to try to cross the checkpoint for whatever reason. They get there, Mr. Smiley toys with them a bit, then they die.
As the "story" drags on, the plans to cross the checkpoint become more in-depth, and the dei ex machina the author throws in to stop them more ludicrous. One chapter in particular revolves around two highly-skilled mountaineers attempting to go around the checkpoint by scaling the Alps. The ascent is incredibly dangerous and could be considered suicidal, but they make it.
Oh, but wait. There's a watchtower at the top of the mountain garrisoned by at least ten men-at-arms. The same mountain that was barely climbable, that is basically sheer cliffs on all sides. Somehow, they built a watchtower up there. Somehow, they keep it garrisoned and supplied. Somehow, said watchtower/garrison is on the exact route the mountaineers chose to take. Somehow, Mr. Smiley is there at that exact moment.
Okay, the watchtower and the garrison is already stretching it, but how the **** did Mr. Smiley get there? He's at the checkpoint all day, every day, because he personally interviews everyone who passes through it. Even if he knew about the attempt in advance, he would have had to follow the mountaineers up the mountain, yet he was there before them.
All that aside, let's say they did it somehow. Maybe they have some sort of elevator system. The question then is, why would they bother building a watchtower on top of a mountain that, as far as they know, is impossible to climb?
tl;dr Infuriating villain kills people in increasingly contrived and unbelievable ways. If you loved the way your favorite character on Game of Thrones died, relive that feeling over and over again with Wolfsmund.
... Last updated on December 14th, 2014, 1:03pm
If You Like Happy Stories
Then don't clap your hands because Wolfsmund will not give you that.
First I'd like to comment on the art, which I love. It's infused with a retro style but as if it's been cleaned up and restored to full quality. I really love that there are still modern authors who have a retro style much like Tezuka Osamu's. This manga is extremely dark, there's only about 1-5% of hapiness infused within it. Also it sort of pulls a Psycho on you in the way that the 'main character title' shifts towards another person. Even though it's an episodic manga there's a clear plotline that evolves throughout each chapter featuring new people attempting to traverse through the 'Wolf's Mull.' If you're into dark rebellions and what not give this manga a go, it's seriously worth the time.
... Last updated on June 18th, 2014, 5:18am
A Detailed War Story of the MIddle Age Era
After reading more, you'll see that it's not just a mere sadistic murder done by authorities in the middle age. Wolfmund showing a portrait of how desperate people at the middle ages to take down tyranny. Rather than seeing the earlier torture thing as sadistic murder, for me It's more like a piece of puzzle showing how the magistrate inducing horror on citizens, growing their hatred little by little and and then ignite a rebellion at the climax (read more of the stories, 1-2 volume may only lead you to judge this as sadistic plot-less manga). Wolfram is actually a well designed character, considering his presence capable of showing both desperate act of besieging and defending in such detail. I wouldn't say It's a textbook accurate historical event or even representing "reality", but it set the ambiance perfectly.
... Last updated on April 15th, 2014, 8:19pm
A Torture story...to say the least
im starting to think this manga artist is a sadist himself cause this is one of the most messed up mangas ive ever read (thats not in the horror Genre of course). i mean i know life in middle ages sucked but this pretty much only shows that, its dark with tons of torture and cruelty and it seems like every chapter shows a new way to torture. Now for the characters the biggest advice i can give anyone reading this is dont get used to anyone
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Seriously dont get used to anyone except the cruel demented sadist bastard that issues the torture cause i think hes probably the main character since hes the only one who lives, much to everyones dismay cause hes cruel and evil as hell, he loves torturing and seeing people suffer and even when there is no reason to inflict suffering this guy makes it up and makes up new ways to see people suffer on the spot. at one point i thought the black haired girl was gonna be the main character but chapter 6 came...
overall it think it is really dark and besides to torture some what interesting i mean its really good at constantly giving tragedy to its readers but if i dont see any thing positive soon i may drop this. i can legit say that i am mainly reading this right now to see how the crazy sadist torture bastard is gonna die and i hope he gets an extremely slow painful death
... Last updated on August 24th, 2013, 1:12pm
I love history, I love seinen mangas but this story is sooo boring. I actually fall asleep half way while reading it! There aren't many text in the manga, but the plot is so straightforward. ALL of the characters are badly developed to the point that I didn't feel sympathy for any of them at all. You cant find much of historical fact in here either.
If you are looking for something heartfelt to read, I don't recommend this manga at all.
A good dark medieval story
A great seinen featuring a series of connected stories, all with a dark end. Itís well worth the read, if only for the characters. The heroes and villains are all fleshed out in details. The art is clear which makes the action easy to follow.
The story takes place specifically in the Waldstätten of Switzerland (Uri, Schwytz & Unterwald) in the 13th-14th centuries. The backdrop is the struggle of the Old Swiss Confederacy against the Hapsburg's rule, although it follows it from the mythological rather than the historical perspective. While knowing the background is not necessary to enjoy the story, there are many references to the mythological foundations of Switzerland, such as Wilhelm Tell and the Rütli Oath.
Overall well worth the read.
Just like early Berserk
Wolfsmund is a top notch seinen in sort of historically accurate Switzerland (i am German) and surroundings. The Gotthard Pass actually exists but doesn´t have such a grueling history and the medieval life of the village folk and their struggles is very believable. To be fair the life of a medieval peasant wasn´t quite that horrible (but still not great) according to my history classes and Wilhelm Tell´s legend also took a drastically different ending but this isn´t a documentary so i am game. The art is very cool, unique and a major draw. If you are frustrated with all the shonen action blandness that has been far to successful in the last 10 years this is the remedy but be warned as the manga is one of the darkest on the market with graphic torture, unflinching child rape and much more. Thank you Fellows! but the series is so different from their usual quality lineup. Berserk (Mitsuhisa used to be a former assistant of Miura and it shows). Historie and Vinland Saga (all 3 are a 10/10) should be your next steps for quality R-rated and historically inclined seinen.